After an underwhelming season for Tyrone this year, the Red Hand County have been dealt another severe blow this weekend. One of their marquee players Mattie Donnelly was on the receiving end of a nasty injury with his club that could rule him out of the entire club season and potentially the entire 2024 intercounty season.
Donnelly is one of Tyrone's most accomplished players, having earned two All-Stars and a solitary All-Ireland in 2021. However, the last few years have seen Donnelly battle injury after injury to make his impact, with a particularly nasty ankle injury causing him a lot of bother.
The unfortunate news for Tyrone comes after Donnelly's first full season back from injury, in which he was one of the County's best players and one of their only overwhelming players in an underwhelming season.
Mattie Donnelly equalises for Tyrone on the stroke of Half-Time with a brilliant point. pic.twitter.com/BA89mdjdoR
— The GAA (@officialgaa) March 5, 2023
A devastating injury could end Mattie Donnelly's season
Unfortunately, Donnelly who was just finding his prime again has been cast back to the sidelines. According to Gaelic Life, he broke his tibia and tore his posterior cruciate ligament while playing for his club Trillick in a sevens tournament. He'll have surgery on Monday.
Depending on the severity of Donnelly's individual case, his recovery will keep him out of action for at least six to twelve months, meaning the notorious box-to-box runner will play no further part in the ongoing club season and very possibly, much of, if not all of next year's intercounty season.
Even if Donnelly defied the odds and returned in the minimum timeframe, the current demands and intensity of modern-day Gaelic football will leave the now 32-year-old with a steep hill to climb to regain his fitness ahead of next year's campaign.
Donnelly who is now reaching the latter stages of his career will not only be a huge loss on the pitch but also off it, with the Trillick man having captained his county during the Mickey Harte era when the great Sean Cavanagh retired.