Tyrone attacking ace Darragh Canavan has suffered a broken wrist and could miss the All-Ireland U20 Championship semi-final against Dublin.
He has been ruled out of Errigal Ciarán’s club championship campaign, which begins next week with a first-round tie against Pomeroy.
Canavan, a son of All-Ireland-winning captain Peter, is also a member of the Red Hand senior squad, and news of his injury is the latest blow to manager Mickey Harte as he prepares for the resumption of the inter-county season in October.
A number of players, including Frank Burns, Ronan O’Neill, and Pádraig Hampsey, suffered hamstring injuries in club games over the past two weekends.
Canavan’s wrist fracture was sustained during a training session with Errigal Ciarán. He has been in outstanding form during the opening two rounds of league fixtures.
Tyrone U20 manager Paul Devlin is hoping to have his key forward fit again by the time they meet Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final in mid-October, but warned that such injuries can often involve complications.
“You just don’t know with these things, how quickly they can take to mend,” he said.
“The important thing is that the wrist is right for the long-term.”
Devlin has been monitoring the form of all his squad members, and noted that Canavan had been playing at the top of his game since the resumption of club football.
“He had a super game last week, and has been going very well and leading the line with Errigal.
“From our point of view, he has time on his side, but his club Errigal Ciarán will be hit harder with the Championship coming up.”
The U20 boss has other injury concerns closer to home, with his son Eunan, a member of the U20 squad, suffering an Achilles tendon injury during the warm-up ahead of Ardboe’s league game against Killyclogher at the weekend.
He is to undergo a scan on Wednesday and if the injury is as bad as feared, he will miss the All-Ireland semi-final.
“It’s part and parcel of the way things have been. Everything has been a rush with getting back to football, and there’s a lot of demand on lads,” said Devlin.
“There’s going to be injuries, that’s the long and short of it. I have watched two or three games, and every game that I’ve watched, there’s been half a dozen injuries.
“They can do all the training they want on their own, but it’s just not the same intensity as doing it as a group, all working together, and then you’re into full-blooded games.”
He added: “There are no reports of any other problems, but the championship kicks in next week and it will be hell for leather, and fingers crossed that all lads pull through.”
Even at this advanced stage of the U20 series, Devlin and his assistant Dermot Carlin are still on the look-out for players who could add strength to their squad.
“There’s a run of football on now, and myself and Dermy Carlin will be keeping our eyes open.
“When lads were playing MacRory Cup football, we didn’t want to put pressure on them and have them playing U20 as well. It would be asking too much of lads at that younger age.
“But now that’s all out of the way, we’ll keep our ears to the ground, keep watching, and hope to find other players to move forward with.”