OISIN Kelly's season has ended with a nightmare cruciate injury. The Offaly senior hurling star suffered an ACL injury (a tear or sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament) in between Belmont's first and second round games in the Offaly Senior Hurling Championship.
Kelly had played in Belmont's first round defeat by Coolderry but missed their second round loss to Kilcormac-Killoughey's as well as Ferbane's defeat by Rhode in the Senior Football Championship last Sunday – he had played in Ferbane's first round win over Cappincur and second round draw with Durrow.
His injury is a devastating blow to the prospects of both teams as well as to the player himself. Cruciate injuries have become increasingly common in the GAA in recent years and Kelly's did his at a Belmont training session the week before the K-K game.
It means that he won't play any more hurling or football this year while he is also going to miss Offaly's National Hurling League Division 1 campaign next year. The recovery from a cruciate operation is a arduous, tough one, requiring great commitment and perseverance. The general recovery period is eight to nine months after surgery and the target for Kelly will be to play for Offaly in the Joe McDonagh Cup next season.
The injury is particularly unfortunate for him as he had his best season in the Offaly jersey this year. His pace, direct running and scoring created a lot of problems for teams but he added a new level of consistency to his game. He was one of Offaly's most important performers as they won the Christy Ring Cup and were promoted from Division 2A of the National Hurling League.
His loss is a disaster for Belmont, who are up against it in the Senior Hurling Championship after two opening defeats to Coolderry and Kilcormac-Killoughey. Managed by former Clare star Ollie Baker, they play Birr in a must win game this weekend and have to win this and their remaining games against Kinnitty and Ballinamere if they are to have any chance of making the semi-final.
It also diminishes Ferbane's senior football prospects. While hurling is Kelly's first choice game, he is also a very good footballer and brings a lot to the table for Ferbane, who have qualified for a senior football quarter-final against Edenderry.
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