‘It seems to be out of control with GAA players’ - Offaly legend Michael Duignan feels cruciate injuries are at crisis point

18 March 2023; Offaly GAA chairman Michael Duignan during the Allianz Football League Division 3 match between Tipperary and Offaly at FBD Semple Stadium in Thurles, Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Michael Duignan believes that cruciate knee ligament injuries are at a crisis point within the GAA.

The Offaly GAA chairperson, speaking at last night's County Board meeting, spoke of his worries about what he reckons is a rising rate of injury within the GAA.

The Faithful senior hurlers lost Oisín Kelly, Christy Ring Cup Hurler of the Year in 2021, to a second cruciate in as many years last week while there have also been several long-term injuries to the 2021 All-Ireland U-20 FC winners.

Kieran Dolan, Keith O'Neill and Cathal Donoghue (cruciate) have suffered long-term injuries in recent seasons while rising stars like Cormac Egan and John Furlong have also had limited game time since that famous win in August of 2021.

The hurlers' injury woes were compounded last Sunday when Ross Ravenhill, a Durrow clubman like Duignan, broke his ankle as Johnny Kelly's side drew with Kildare in their final Division 2A clash last.

Along with Kelly, Ravenhill's absence is a sucker punch to Offaly's hopes of promotion to Division 1, as well as success in the Joe McDonagh Cup, and Duignan feels such injuries may be as a result of a busy schedule of games and training.

“It is non-stop. Maybe other counties have bigger panels but it is absolutely devastating our panels. It is something we need to look at and maybe at a national scale," Duignan said, as reported by offalyexpress.ie.

"Why are so many people getting injured, especially cruciates? It seems to be out of control with GAA players. Whether it is to do with the training load or what is being expected of amateur players, I don't know. I am not an expert on that.”

In reference to the two-time All-Ireland SHC winner's own playing career, he quipped: “Maybe we didn't run fast enough back in our day but there wasn't that level of cruciates, in particular, and it seems to be every day of the week now. I see David Burke from Galway as well yesterday.”

Duignan also announced that Offaly will be appointing a Head of Performance this year to help monitor players and assess strength and conditioning from a younger age.

“To make sure they are doing the relevant training at the proper time but it is a huge issue going forward,” Duignan added.