PAUL MANNION could be sidelined for the next three months after undergoing ankle surgery.
The three-time All-Star suffered his latest injury against Cuala a fortnight ago, on the same day that Dessie Farrell confirmed that he and Jack McCaffrey were to rejoin the Dublin panel next season.
The setback is likely to delay Mannion’s return to pre-season county training, but a more pressing concern is that the Kilmacud sharpshooter will miss the Dublin SFC final against Na Fianna later this month – and any early Leinster club forays, if Crokes happen to retain their county crown.
In Mannion’s semi-final absence, the defending champions recovered from a slow start (conceding the opening 1-1) to vanquish Thomas Davis by 0-12 to 1-3 at Parnell Park.
They will now face Na Fianna, who overwhelmed Ballyboden St Enda’s by 1-14 to 0-7 the previous evening – but without their 29-year-old attacking talisman.
"When they looked at the ankle, there was no stability in it so it wasn't an option to patch it up or strap it up," Crokes manager Robbie Brennan told reporters after today’s victory.
"We looked at that but unfortunately, no. The silver lining is that he'll get a good rehab and be ready for Dublin now in the National League hopefully."
A previous operation to his knee meant that Mannion missed Kilmacud’s Leinster club final victory over Naas last January, and their subsequent involvement in the All-Ireland series, where they suffered extra-time heartbreak at the death in the final against Kilcoo.
But his club boss is confident that he’ll bounce back strongly. "I'm saying three months but look, Paul is a bit freakish in his body, he nearly got back from the knee operation last season which he had no right to do for the All-Ireland final," Brennan recounted.
"I'd suspect he'll probably be ahead of schedule, knowing his body, but no, he'll be fine. It's just one of those things, he gets it done and he's ready to go then."
Even without the multiple All-Ireland winner, Crokes had too much to spare against Thomas Davis with another marquee 29-year-old – Galway import Shane Walsh – top-scoring with 0-8, two from play.