HomeFootballMajor blow for Louth as Ciarán Downey ‘highly unlikely’ to play again...

Major blow for Louth as Ciarán Downey ‘highly unlikely’ to play again this season

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Downey has been struggling with an ongoing knee cartilage problem, and the issue has now come to a head after he was forced off during the second half of last Sunday’s stalemate with Monaghan.

That 2-10 apiece draw in Clones ensures that Brennan’s beaten Leinster finalists will definitely make the All-Ireland knockout stages.

Even if (as most expect) they lose to Kerry in Portlaoise on Sunday week, they are guaranteed to finish either second or third in Group 4, thus securing a preliminary quarter-final berth.

But Downey – a mercurial talent who struck two goals in this year’s Leinster SFC opener against Wexford, and has followed up with a point in their next four outings – won’t make it back for Kerry or beyond.

“Ciarán got a scan on his knee, and he has a bit of loose cartilage in there,” his manager, Brennan, confirmed today.

“It’s been there for a while, but it just flared up in the last couple of weeks and he really did his best to push through the pain barrier, but now functionally it’s starting to catch him.

“So, we’re probably going to get something done with that and highly unlikely we’ll get to see Ciarán in a Louth jersey for the remainder of this season.”

He had a more promising update on Craig Lennon, who has found the net three times in their last two games (twice against Meath and once against Monaghan) before exiting the latter.

“Craig should be okay. He was back doing a bit of running last night,” Brennan revealed. “Look it, these speed merchants tend to pick up little nicks left, right and centre; but Craig’s profile is he recovers really quickly which is a huge plus for Louth.”

The Louth boss also spoke about Niall Sharkey’s decision to emigrate for a new life in Australia, in the midst of their championship campaign.

“He’s going on Monday and we wish him well. The timing is obviously not ideal but he’s a free spirit, Niall, and it’s a bug that he’s had for the last couple of years. He didn’t quite manage to get to the US before Christmas, and he took the opportunity then to book for Australia,” Brennan outlined.

“He put in a huge amount of work this year, for the time that he was with us; worked hard on his fitness to get back up to speed.

“He was a great leader and a great example of what it is to represent your county, the way he played with heart and bravery. Yeah, we’ll be sad to lose him but we wish him well.”

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