Offaly captain Paraic Sullivan has become the fourth inter-county player this month to fall foul of a season-ending cruciate injury.
Sullivan ruptured his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) lining out in the Division 4 leaders’ win over Carlow on Sunday.
Tweeting yesterday, he said: “ACL rupture, confirmed this morning.”
Sullivan picked up the injury the same weekend as Eoghan O’Gara was also ruled out for the remainder of the year after doing similar damage to his knee.
They join a list that this month includes Galway’s Colin Forde and Cork hurler Christopher Joyce.
However, former cruciate victim Ciarán Kilkenny is confident Dublin team-mate O’Gara will come back from the same injury better than ever.
Kilkenny, who missed out on last year’s championship after rupturing his cruciate last March, said he was “devastated” for O’Gara.
“I wouldn’t wish that injury on anyone but you look at the likes of Colm O’Neill — he has come back from it three times. So, all I can do is wish Eoghan a speedy recovery. If he puts the work in he’ll be back better than ever.”
Although Kilkenny almost felt “invincible” before the injury he picked up against Kildare in Croke Park, he was philosophical about the setback, reasoning he was due one big injury in his career and reconciling it with the fact he had been playing a lot of football and hurling.
But nothing prepared him for the difficulty of the recovery. “It was a lot harder! When I originally went in, I didn’t think it was as bad as it was. But then you have to look at it in a positive way. It was a year out of playing football, and there are so many games — college, club, county— that you look at and you just want to be involved in.”
Now over 10 games back from his return, Kilkenny has no concerns about his knee. In fact, he believes it is stronger than ever having had it examined with Kevin O’Brien who also damaged his cruciate last season.
“We did testing before you get injured, standard testing and you are tested when you come back and you find out some of your scores are a lot better.”
As an expert finisher during his time with the U21s, the loss of O’Gara and Paul Mannion’s year out in China may open up the possibility of Kilkenny returning to the full-forward line. He doesn’t state a preference, though. “I played centre-back for my club at the weekend, I liked that. I’d play corner-back, in goals, full-forward, wherever I’m needed for the team.”
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