Cavan's championship progress has been dealt a most serious blow with confirmation that Gearoid McKiernan has suffered a cruciate ligament tear.
McKiernan sustained the injury in a club match for Swanlinbar over the weekend and a subsequent scan in the Santry Sports Clinic on Monday confirmed the extent of the damage.
McKiernan had been in superb form for Cavan during the league, scoring 12 points from midfield from seven starts in an otherwise indifferent campaign for the team.
The only match he failed to score in was against Wicklow with three points in the games against both Div 3 finalists on Saturday night, Monaghan and Meath.
He is expected to undergo an operation and will not resurface until the 2014 football league at the earliest.
The enormity of the blow was not lost on Cavan yesterday with spokesman Declan Woods acknowledging the depth of the players' influence.
"Everyone know just how committed to playing for Cavan that Gearoid is. There is huge sympathy for him," said Woods.
"He had been playing superbly and no doubt he would have been one of the most influential footballers in the provincial championship this summer," said Woods.
McKiernan was a member of the 2011 Cavan under 21 team that claimed the first of three successive Ulster titles, a significant achievement for any county in such a competitive province.
He picked up an ankle injury in a 2012 league match against Offaly hat badly affected his championship preparations but this year he had been Cavan's stand out player.
The management had been alternating captaincy during the season but McKiernan was the front runner to be nominated in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Limerick's talismanic midfielder John Galvin is in line for his first competitive inter-county start in over a year in Saturday's Allianz NFL Division 4 final against Offaly at Croke Park.
Limerick boss Maurice Horan will announce his team to face the Faithful County this evening – and Galvin is tipped to start.