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Tyrone captain Sean Cavanagh's fitness is thrown into doubt

By Declan Bogue

Tyrone captain Sean Cavanagh's participation in his county's Ulster Championship preliminary round clash against Donegal on May 17 is in doubt after it emerged his ongoing knee condition is much more serious than originally reported.

It emerged yesterday that Cavanagh was on course to face Donegal in Ballybofey, but it's understood that the Moy man actually had an operation last week.

Cavanagh has been struggling with knee problems throughout the league campaign.

He did not start in Tyrone's recent 1-13 to 0-6 defeat against Donegal but came on as a substitute at half time.

When asked in the wake of that game what the problem was, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte answered: "It's a knee problem he has had for some time. He would play a bit and it would get sore and he needs a bit of treatment on it.

"I suppose we were thinking of this game, and a game in a week's time. If he played the full game here (against Donegal) he might have been unavailable for next week, so we are trying to share him across the two games."

Cavanagh's club, Moy, fell to a heavy defeat at home against Killyclogher (0-6 to 5-14) at the weekend, with the 2008 Player of the Year left on the sidelines watching while using a set of crutches.

Tyrone officials were keeping tight-lipped about his condition, saying: "Sean will be back out on the field in the next seven to 10 days. (The use of crutches) is only precautionary. He's been carrying the injury since the latter end of the league but he'll be fine for the Donegal game."

This is not the first time that Cavanagh has been unlucky with injuries in the lead-in to big games. Back in 2012, he was playing for Moy when he ruptured his shoulder a few weeks prior to the Red Hands' Ulster semi-final against Donegal.

In other news, it has emerged that Fermanagh captain Eoin Donnelly will play no part in this weekend's Division Three final against Armagh because of a hand injury.

Manager Pete McGrath commented: "It's unfortunate, but we are all in football long enough to know that these things can raise their heads at the most unpleasant time. It's very hard on Eoin as he is a great captain and a great guy and Fermanagh don't get to play too many finals in Croke Park."

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