Jim Gavin’s selection headache is set to worsen ahead of Dublin’s next championship outing as the manager of the All Ireland champions has said Michael Darragh McAuley’s knee injury is not as bad as was widely feared.
McAuley has been out of action for several weeks with a knee complaint. With the injury still unclear, it was feared that the midfield powerhouse had suffered the dreaded cruciate curse.
A torn cruciate ligament would have required surgery and would have certainly been a season ending injury. Recovery time for such an injury is usually between six to nine months.
However, after the Dub’s win over Carlow in their first summer outing of 2017 on Sunday, Gavin has stated that the 2013 footballer of the year should be back before expected, with the injury not as severe as was feared.
The boss of the Boys In Blue has this to say about the Ballyboden St. Enda’s player after the comfortable defeat of Carlow:
“Michael is back on the pitch.
“Himself and a good few others are back on that path to return to play. Hopefully we’ll see them back shortly.”
This is good news for the men from the capital, with increased competition for places set to only strengthen their cause moving forward. McAuley’s presence in midfield could lift Dublin to another level, with the the reigning Sam Maguire Cup holders having launched the defence of their Leinster and All Ireland titles with a twelve-point win on Sunday.
The three-time All Ireland winning manager had this to say of their opposition at the weekend, unsurprised at their style of play:
“They set up the way we thought they would.
“Of the 14 outfield players, they probably had at least 13 of them behind the ball on most of the occasions.
“I thought we controlled it quite well.”
The 45-year-old heaped praise on Carlow, who now head for the back door qualifiers and will take faith from their display in Portlaoise.
“When you look at a lot of their players, a lot of their forward line have played in midfield, they’re big players, they’re physically well conditioned, they’re very well coached.
“They’re a very physical side and they used that to good effect in the game.
“I still thought we worked our way around that.”