A suspected cruciate ligament injury to ace forward Colm O'Neill marred a useful win for Cork against the All-Ireland champions, Donegal, on Saturday evening.
It was in the 18th minute when O'Neill fetched a ball close to the left touchline and he awkwardly keeled over, clearly in agony as he left the field on a stretcher. O'Neill has twice previously – in 2008 and 2011 – suffered cruciate injuries on his right knee.
This time, it is his right knee that is in danger. The Ballyclough man 'will undergo a scan in the next few days', Cork officials confirmed yesterday, but the early signs are the worst for the Rebels.
"It's disappointing for Colm, obviously," said Cork manager, Conor Counihan.
"We don't know the extent of it yet, the medics won't have a clear view until he has a scan done. We're keeping our fingers very much crossed on that.
"It's important from our point of view to get the two points, but obviously getting Colm right would be a bigger bonus."
O'Neill had scored two sublime points before his withdrawal after Donegal had raced three up.
The injury took the sting out of the contest and a point from Dermot Molloy had Donegal 0-5 to 0-3 up at the break. In a scrappy affair that was error-ridden, Cork made headway in the second half. A purple patch between the 45th and 65th minutes yielded a seven-point haul that was the winning of the game.
Donegal's Ross Wherity was twice denied by saves from Ken O'Halloran, while Michael Murphy was hauled back as he bore in on goal late in the day.
"We weren't our usual selves, but we're in the middle of a training phase and that was reflected by the way we played in certain periods of the game," said the Donegal manager, Jim McGuinness.
Cork: K O'Halloran; M Shields, J O'Sullivan, E Cadogan; P Kissane (0-1), N O'Leary, T Clancy; G Canty, A Walsh (0-2); F Goold, A O'Sullivan (0-1), M Collins (0-2, 1f); B O'Driscoll (0-1), C O'Neill (0-2), P Kerrigan (0-1). Subs: L Shorten (0-2) for O'Neill (18), D O'Connor for Goold (45), A O'Connor for J.O'Sullivan (60), E O'Mahony for Canty (65), D Goulding for A.O'Sullivan (70).
Donegal: P Durcan; P McGrath, N McGee, E McGee; D Walsh, F McGlynn, L McLoone; R Kavanagh, M Murphy (0-5, 4f, 1 '45); R Wherity, R Bradley, N Gallagher; P McBrearty (0-1), D Molloy (0-1), C McFadden (0-3, 2f, 1 '45). Subs: M McElhinney for Molloy (53), R McHugh for Wherity (53)
Referee: David Coldrick (Meath).