THE worst fears of Mayo supporters were confirmed over the weekend when it emerged that Brendan Harrison had undergone surgery to repair a torn cruciate ligament in his left knee.
The former All Star defender sustained the injury during the early stages of Mayo’s National League win over Kildare five weeks ago.
Harrison becomes the second Mayo player in less than two months to suffer a cruciate knee injury after Tommy Conroy tore his ACL during a Sigerson Cup match for NUI Galway in early February.
The 29 year-old from Aghamore also suffered a knee injury during the summer of 2020 that ruled him out of the ‘Covid championship’ of that year as well as the majority of the 2021 season.
Harrison made his first appearance for Mayo in 18 months when he came on against Dublin in last year’s memorable All-Ireland SFC semi-final win after extra-time.
He did not feature against Tyrone in last September’s All-Ireland Final defeat, but had started National League matches against Donegal and Monaghan before picking up an injury that stalled his progress.
His next start proved to be the ill-fated match against Kildare on March 27 when he suffered this latest knee injury while competing for possession in the opening minutes of the game.
Meanwhile, the Mayo senior football squad returned to training last Saturday for the first time since their Connacht SFC quarter-final defeat to Galway.
Due to the change in the All-Ireland SFC Qualifier system this season, James Horan’s charges will be back in action on either Saturday, May 21 or Saturday, June 4 — depending on whether they are drawn in a preliminary round tie or a first round tie.
As things stand, Mayo, Armagh, Tyrone, Louth and Clare are all in the Qualifier draw, along with the losers of Monaghan/Derry, Kerry/Cork and Meath/Dublin.
If any one of Donegal, Galway, Limerick or Kildare were to lose their provincial semi-final games, a preliminary round Qualifier would take place.
This round (on May 21) would include Mayo, Armagh, Louth, Clare and Tyrone.
So Mayo may yet be pressed back into action in three weeks’ time.