Cork City suffer Johnny Dunleavy injury blow
Ryan Delaney is Airtricity/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland player of the month
Cork’s Johnny Dunleavy leaves the field injured against Limerick. Photograph: Inpho
Cork City have suffered a major injury blow ahead of the start of their Europa League campaign with captain Johnny Dunleavy facing another long lay-off, that's likely to rule him out for the rest of the season.
The 25 year-old, who missed most of last year’s campaign due to a similar problem, picked up a knee injury in Friday’s league win over Limerick.
Although the club did not initially think that the problem was serious enough to keep him sidelined for any great length of time, that has now changed.
Manager John Caulfield believes it will be a matter of months before the defender features again, and that he is likely to miss the remainder of what looks set to be a title winning campaign.
“It’s his knee but it doesn’t look good,” said the manager on Tuesday. “It looks like he’s going to be out for quite a while. The indications aren’t good, contrary to what we thought after the match. We’re waiting on confirmation of that but it’s a terrible blow for himself.”
Pressed on whether his skipper might end up missing the rest of the campaign, Caulfield admitted: “Yes, that’s what it looks like. We’re hoping it may not be but the indications are it will be. Even if he’s back at the end of September, start of October, it’s late.
“It’s a desperate blow for himself and us as well,” he added. “He’s been a great player for us but has had a number of different injuries. It’s not a good place for him at the moment.”
Dunleavy has started 11 games for City this season and played an important part in a side that has established a huge lead over rivals Dundalk at the top of the table, having conceded comfortably the fewest goals of any team in the top flight.
City have also scored comfortably more than anyone else but will lose their star striker, Sean Maguire, at the end of next month when he completes a move to Preston.
Another key contributor on the defensive front, Ryan Delaney has, meanwhile, been named as the Airtricity/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland Player of the Month for May.
The 20 year-old, who is on-loan from Burton, has had an outstanding campaign for the club and having missed the Limerick game through injury hopes to be back to face Derry City this weekend.
“Hopefully I’m back on Friday,” he says. “All going well, hopefully I’ll be back in the thick of things, get a bit of work done this week and on Friday I’ll be ready.
“I didn’t do much in training last week. It was all about keeping off my ankle, icing it and getting recovery in. So I’m upping it a bit more this week, just getting back on the pitch, back on the grass, and hopefully when Friday comes I’ll be ready to step up on the pitch.”
City are hoping to make his loan deal permanent and though the player says that nothing is confirmed it appears that a deal could be close to being finalised.
“Hopefully in the next week I’m sure there will be something confirmed either way,” he says. “We’ll have to wait and see what happens.”