Louth have suffered another major pre-championship blow with news that Andy McDonnell has gone under the knife.
The midfielder was one of the driving forces behind the Wee County's second successive league promotion this Spring, as Colin Kelly's charges moved up to Division Two, but will be out of action for up to two months after undergoing knee surgery last week.
The Newtown Blues clubman sustained cartilage damage representing UCD against St Mary's in the Sigerson Cup final in February and it was initially hoped that the problem might rectify itself with time. However, a decision was subsequently made to operate and McDonnell will now be sidelined for six-eight weeks and has been ruled out of Louth's Leinster championship opener against Wicklow as well as a potential quarter-final against Meath.
This is the second major setback to rock the Wee County camp since they faced Tipperary in the Division Three final at Croke Park, as it has also been confirmed that wing back Derek Maguire has moved to the US and will miss the entire championship.