Mayo's preparations for the 2022 league and championship have been dealt an early blow, with manager James Horan confirming that forward Tommy Conroy is likely to miss most of the season with a cruciate injury.
Conroy has become a reliable cog in the Mayo machine at full forward in recent years, but is unlikely to play any part in this year's championship efforts.
Mayo GAA: Tommy Conroy to miss out on 2022 championship with cruciate injury
Tommy Conroy has become a crucial cog in the Mayo full-forward line in recent years. He started both the 2020 All-Ireland final against Dublin (at corner forward), and last year's decider against Tyrone (at full forward). He was Mayo's top scorer from play in the 2021 final.
Conroy sustained a cruciate ligament injury while representing NUIG in the Sigerson Cup on Tuesday and, in heartbreaking news, it has been confirmed that his intercounty season is likely to be over.
Mayo manager James Horan commented on the news on Wednesday, saying that Conroy will still play a crucial role in Mayo's panel for the year ahead.
Tommy is such a great person and player. We wish him all the best with rehabilitation.
Unfortunately injuries like this are part of sport. I know all the players will rally around Tommy and it will galvanise the whole team.
I know his injury will inspire other players to drive forward, step up, and follow in his boots.
The news is a blow to Mayo's hopes of going one step further in the 2022 championship than they have in the last two years.
The Westerners opened their league campaign with a draw against Donegal in Sligo, in torrential conditions. Goalkeeper Rob Hennelly was the hero, as he was in last year's All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin, with a late free to snatch a draw for Mayo.
Last kick of the game? No bother to Rob Hennelly! What a score in those conditions 💪pic.twitter.com/pL2Uv8HgQS
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) January 30, 2022
Mayo will open their championship campaign against Galway in Castlebar in April. The absence of Tommy Conroy is sure to be a major concern for James Horan and his management team, as they seek to claim a first All-Ireland crown in 71 years.