Extended hospital stay for Westmeath's Heavin

Westmeath's experienced wing forward Derek Heavin is still a number of days away from being released from the Mater Hospital in Dublin.

Heavin sustained a knee joint injury during the first half of last week's Leinster SFC semi-final loss to Louth, twisting his knee in an awkward fall.

Heavin, 31, was taken to hospital in the aftermath of the game and has had to twice undergo surgery.

After an initial diagnosis of a dislocated knee, it has emerged that the damage is serious enough to threaten his football career.

His surgeon admitted that the injury is "the most serious of its kind" that he has treated, and Heavin is not expected to be released from hospital until early next week.

The Castledaly clubman had only recently returned to the Westmeath panel as one of the players to come on board following Pat Flanagan's installation as interim manager.

Westmeath selector Paul Conway said that "an awful lot of damage" had been done to the knee, while Flanagan described the loss of such a seasoned campaigner as "a big blow".

Westmeath are back in action on Saturday evening when they entertain Derry in Mullingar in the second round of the All-Ireland qualifiers.

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