Cavan have been dealt a major blow ahead of the start of the Championship with the news that Gearóid McKiernan will be out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Swanlibar clubman McKiernan picked up the injury in his club’s Cavan League Division 2 win over Cornafean at the weekend.
The initial outlook was not good and scans have now confirmed that he suffered cruciate knee ligament damage and is set for surgery before an extended period of recovery.
Cavan manager Terry Hyland told the GAA’s official website: “It's devastating for him personally because he had put in a massive effort and has done over the last couple of years.
"And when we look back on last year's league campaign, he's probably one of the only players that has played in every single minute of the league for us. He has been an inspiration there for Cavan for the last few years."
Asked about McKiernan's likely return to action, he said: "You're probably looking at the league next year if you want to be truthful about it.
"You're into April so by the time he gets seeing surgeons, gets procedures done, gets rehab and that, you're looking at next year's league."
Cavan get their Championship campaign underway on May 19 when they take on Armagh in the Ulster Championship Preliminary Round.