Errigal Ciaran sweating on fitness of Ruairi Canavan

BUDDING Tyrone star Ruairi Canavan has emerged as a serious injury doubt for Errigal Ciaran’s Senior Championship opener against the Moy on September 24.

Canavan hasn’t played any competitive football since starring in Tyrone’s All-Ireland U-20 final victory over Kildare on May 13 due to a groin problem, and faces a race against time to feature in Errigal Ciaran’s first-round championship clash next month.

Drafted into the Tyrone senior inter-county set-up on the back of his scintillating attacking performances with the u-20s, Canavan was due to spend his summer playing football in the United States. However, he picked up an injury shortly after traveling and returned home ahead of schedule.

He hasn’t featured in club league matches since returning home, but it’s understood that Errigal Ciaran are cautiously optimistic that he will recover in time for the championship.

Canavan, who is eligible for the Tyrone u-20s next year as well, has already shown what he is capable of in the bear-pit of the Tyrone Senior Championship. Despite being limited to substitute roles, he finished as the third top scorer in the tournament with 1-13 across three matches.

He then came to the wider attention of the GAA world with some astonishing displays in the county’s run to the All-Ireland U-20 title and he was subsequently named Player of the Year.

Elsewhere in Tyrone, fellow Division One side Loughmacrory have been handed a major boost with the return to fitness of defensive bulwarks Conall Grimes and Antoin Fox. They had missed the entirety of their league campaign with injury but returned to play in their narrow defeat to Errigal Ciaran on Sunday. Antoin Fox captained Tyrone’s u-20 team to the Ulster title in 2020, while Grimes is another talented young player who had a short stint on the senior intercounty team a few years back.

It’s also understood that Coalisland’s Cormac O’Hagan may make it back in time for the championship after suffering an ACL injury in last year’s county final defeat to Dromore. It comes as a huge boost for Na Fianna as he was one of the stars of the last year’s championship campaign, kicking a spectacular winner from a long-range free in their comeback victory over Errigal Ciaran in the semi-final.

Danny McNulty, meanwhile, who featured in Tyrone u-21’s All-Ireland win over Tipperary back in 2015 has also recovered from injury and is back playing for relegation-threatened Clonoe.

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