McCauley injury to leave dubs shorthanded
Dublin's three-in-a-row aspirations could be dented by the loss of Michael Darragh Macauley, whose summer is in real jeopardy due a knee injury.
The 2013 Footballer of the Year has been nursing a foot problem since coming off the bench in Dublin's Division 1 league final defeat to Kerry last month but lined out for Ballyboden St Enda's in their first round Dublin SFC defeat to St Oliver Plunkett/Eoghan Ruadh.
Macauley was substituted near the end as the 2016 All-Ireland club champions exited at the first hurdle for the second year running and despite wearing a protective boot, the 30-year-old's injury hasn't made the expected progress.
The four-time All-Ireland winner underwent a fresh scan to further examine the damage and a more serious problem was detected with Macauley and Dublin boss Jim Gavin now considering their options to help the influential midfielder make the quickest recovery possible.
If surgery is required it's almost certain that Macauley's summer would be over before it begins and rehabbing the injury is currently being explored as Macauley's influence would be sorely felt by the all-conquering Dubs.
Macauley has been influential off the bench in big games, most notably last year's All-Ireland final replay win over Mayo, but he was working his way back into a starting berth alongside Brian Fenton after losing out to Ciarán Reddin in recent months.
Despite Denis Bastick staying on for another season in blue, the engine room is one of few areas where Dublin are not blessed with an array of options so his recovery from injury will be closely monitored.
Dublin open their assault on a seventh consecutive Leinster SFC crown, and a 12th in 13 seasons, against the winner of Carlow and Wexford on June 3 but Gavin will really need Macauley back to full fitness later in the summer as they look to become the first county to win three All-Irelands in succession since Kerry in 1986.