Mackin to miss rest of the league

By Shaun Casey

ARMAGH will be forced to see out the rest of their National League campaign without one of their star players as Blaithin Mackin will be sidelined for the next four months.

The Shane O’Neill’s player collided with the Donegal goalkeeper in a recent challenge game, rupturing her MCL, and goes under the knife this week with the hope of returning for the championship.

Armagh got their Division One campaign off to the best possible start with a five-point victory over Waterford at Crossmaglen last weekend. But things will get much tougher in the coming rounds, starting with Cork on Sunday afternoon.

“She has surgery on Thursday morning and then it’s four months from there, maybe three and a half (until she’s fully fit). But she’s still giving so much to the group and Blaithin will do the recovery and will be diligent about it,” said Armagh boss Greg McGonigle. “I’d imagine, the Ulster final might come too early for her on the 19th of May, but she can do a lot come two months into her recovery and hopefully she’ll be ready to go for the championship.”

Mackin, along with her sister Aimee, has been a constant starter in the orange and white down through the years. Her versatility has saw her line out in a number of different positions, from centre half-back to midfield and even full-forward.

One player’s loss is another player’s gain and McGonigle is hoping that the others in the changing room will step up in Mackin’s absence. Roisin Mulligan and Sarah Quigley both made their inter-county debuts last week while there are a number of youngsters in the squad.

“We’ve put the challenge to our girls, should Blaithin Mackin be out injured for four months and walk back into the team? I would love to think that if you’re looking around in the last 20 minutes of a championship match, that we could bring Blaithin on,” added McGonigle.

“She’s very positive about it and she’ll have an important part to play come the championship. It’s going to be three or four months and at least with that, you’re getting a fully fit Blaithin Mackin back on the field and ready to go for the championship.

“She’s already giving so much to the group despite being out injured in terms of her analysis, feedback and stuff like that so we’re happy enough that way as well.”

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