Kearns to miss start of league after having heart surgery
Monaghan All-Star nominee Niall Kearns is set to miss a significant chunk of the season as he continues his recovery from a heart operation.
The young midfielder had a superb rookie season in 2018, getting an All-Star nomination after helping Monaghan reach a first All-Ireland SFC semi-final in 30 years.
It's emerged Kearns had heart surgery in a Dublin hospital in October, which will require months of rest and recuperation before he can resume his football career. "Niall's had a heart operation so he won't be seen until at least the end of the league campaign," confirmed Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke. "He has a fair recovery period ahead of him.
"He had a problem with his heart last year. Apparently, it's a problem he's had since he was a young lad and it flared up a bit during the championship season. It was decided this was the time to get something done to hopefully prolong his career."
Kearns made his SFC debut in the Ulster Championship opening round win over Tyrone in Omagh and made rapid progress all summer. "It was a fairly serious operation so he will need a fair bit of time to get himself back ready again," added O'Rourke.
Kieran Hughes (hamstring) will also be absent when Monaghan kick off the league at home to Dublin. at Clones in two weeks time. The Scotstown man has been carrying a niggling hamstring injury for some time and O'Rourke would like the problem resolved once and for all.
"Kieran Hughes is still struggling with the hamstring and he's definitely not going to be there for the start of the league at least," said O'Rourke.
"I don't know how far into the league it will be before we see him. He's been carrying that from the championship last year. He wasn't able to train with us a lot of the time."