MAYO star Conor Mortimer says that he's resigned to missing his county's entire 2011 season after undergoing major knee surgery in Dublin last Friday.
Renowned surgeon Dr Ray Moran performed an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction procedure on Mortimer, who has been told that he could be facing a nine-month lay-off.
Mortimer (27) damaged his left knee playing U-21 football for Mayo in a Connacht championship tie against Sligo seven years ago, but the full extent of the damage was not revealed for another four years.
For the past seven seasons, Mortimer has been operating without a cruciate ligament in his left knee but recent flare-ups left the Shrule-Glencorrib clubman with no alternative but to go under the knife.
Mortimer said: "The recovery period is anything from five to nine months. I'll be looking to get back for the Mayo club championship -- that's my priority at the moment.
"If Mayo get as far as the All-Ireland quarter-finals, there's a chance, but I wouldn't be 100pc positive about being ready for that. The main thing is that the knee will be 100pc for the first time in seven years."
O'Mahony eyes return
LIMERICK hurling captain Gavin O'Mahony will return to full training this week after recovering from the injury which plagued Ireland rugby star Paul O'Connell last year.
O'Mahony admitted that he was fortunate to have received a swift diagnosis of the problem, as a Kilmallock clubmate has been ruled out with a similar complaint until May.
O'Mahony (23) explained: "I was out for about a month. It wasn't bad but it could get very bad. Another lad in the club has it and he's out until May. It's the same thing that Paul O'Connell had -- osteitis pubis.
"I did a bit of training last week but I'll be back full training this week. I'm lucky that I got my injury sorted out quickly."
OISIN McConville may have departed the Armagh team but he's still filling his trophy cabinet.
His form for Crossmaglen Rangers, who are in the running for a fifth AIB All-Ireland club title, has been good enough to earn his fifth AIB Provincial Player award in Ulster.
McConville was joined on the provincial football honours list by Connacht winner Frankie Dolan (St Brigid's Roscommon), Leinster's Brian Kavanagh (Kilmacud Crokes) and Munster's David Niblock (Nemo Rangers).
The corresponding hurling awards went to Kevin Moran (De La Salle Waterford), Mark Bergin (O'Loughlin Gaels) and Antrim's Liam Watson (Loughiel Shamrocks).
There is no hurling award for Connacht as Galway's Clarinbridge were the uncontested provincial champions.