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Cavanagh injury has Tyrone on red alert

By Declan Bogue

Tyrone’s Ulster Championship hopes have been dealt a savage blow with Sean Cavanagh sufferring a shoulder injury that will keep him out of the first-round clash with Armagh on June 10 and possibly the entire series.

Playing for his club Moy in a league game against Derrytresk at the weekend, Cavanagh suffered the injury when he went to make a tackle in the closing stages. His team were leading comfortably when the injury occurred.

Colin Mackle, Public Relations Officer for Moy, said: “We were cruising in the game and everything was going well.

“With six minutes to go, it was effectively over and Sean went to make a tackle.

“He stretched his arm and might have overstretched it.

“Nobody passed any remarks, but I could see him holding it as he got up.

“Next thing he went to the ground and started punching the ground and I knew it might be very serious.”

The game was held up for 25 minutes as officials fetched stretchers and an ambulance was called to take the stricken player to Craigavon hospital.

An assessment will be done on the shoulder when any swelling subsides and a decision regarding possible surgery will be made after that.

In any case, it appears that the clash against Armagh at the Morgan Athletic Grounds will be off-limits for one of Tyrone’s biggest Championship performers.

The three-time All-Ireland winner, Player of the Year in 2008 after a series of powerful performances in an unorthodox full-forward role, has had trouble with a number of injury problems over the past few years.

The night before the 2009 All-Ireland semi-final against Cork, he recounted how he stayed up most of the night unable to sleep with sickness, leading to him not starting that game.

Last August he was taking part in a weightlifting session while gearing up for the International Rules series in Australia and tore muscle off his bone in a bench-pressing exercise.

This was a particularly cruel blow as Cavanagh is a former captain of the international team, leading them to glory Down Under in 2008.

Despite that injury, which was originally thought to be as grave as to threaten his career, Cavanagh managed to appear off the bench in four games in the National League before starting against Galway.

“I was asking afterwards and it appears that if his shoulder could have been put back in straight away that it might not have been as bad as it is,” said Mackle.

“He went away in the ambulance and it looks like he is going to have to get an operation on it. This looks long-term now unfortunately.

“It may be linked with the previous injuries he had. Back in August he put it out so handy before our Championship game against Dromore.”

Tyrone’s bid to recapture the Ulster title has been hit with several hammer blows before the summer even gets going.

Promising under-21 player Ronan O’Neill ruptured his cruciate ligament in a training session in March, while a month later in the first round of Tyrone league fixtures rising star Kyle Coney was taking a free for Ardboe and suffered a serious muscle injury.

If Tyrone are going to beat Armagh, it appears they are going to have to do it the hard way.

Belfast Telegraph

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