Galway's Charlotte Cooney believes Róisín Leonard will be a "huge loss" as they aim to reach consecutive All-Ireland Ladies senior football final.
Last year's beaten finalists face Cork in the semi-finals on 6 December at Limerick's Gaelic Grounds but will be without the talismanic Leonard, who has been sidelined with an ankle injury, her team-mate Cooney confirmed.
"She's injured. I think she has to undergo an operation in the next few weeks," said Cooney of a player who was a key contributor the 2019 run to the decider and had started this year in fine scoring form with 7-11 in the league campaign.
"She’s a huge loss. She’s a sensational player. You saw her play last year. We get so many scores from her. She’s brilliant, and it’s so disappointing for her. She missed out on her club championship as well and it’s a really tough year for her.
"But she’s a super player, she has great determination and great drive."
Cooney added that it was an opportunity for other players to step up to fill the void, citing Tracey Leonard and Olivia Divilly.
"To be fair now we still have Tracey. Olivia has stepped up taking frees and has been super at taking them for her club, so there are still a lot of girls there that are able to step up to it.
"That’s why it’s so important to have a big panel, you need all those players willing to step up when we need them."