Recovery from heart surgery will see All-Star nominee miss start of 2019 season

MONAGHAN ALL-STAR nominee Niall Kearns is set to miss out for the start of his county’s 2019 campaign as he continues his recovery from a heart operation.

Niall Kearns rose to prominence for Monaghan last year.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

The young midfielder had a brilliant debut campaign last year, receiving an All-Star nomination after helping Monaghan reach a first All-Ireland semi-final in 30 years.

It has now emerged Kearns underwent heart surgery in a Dublin hospital in October to repair a heart valve, which will require months of rest and recuperation before he can resume his football career.

Kearns made his senior championship debut in Monaghan’s opening Ulster victory over Tyrone in Omagh and established himself in the team thereafter.

“Niall’s had a heart operation so he won’t be seen until at least the end of the league campaign,” confirmed Monaghan boss Malachy O’Rourke.

“He has a fair recovery period ahead of him. He had a problem with his heart last year.

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“Apparently, it’s a problem he’s had since he was a young lad and it flared up a bit during the championship season. It was decided this was the time to get something done to hopefully prolong his career.

“It was a fairly serious operation so he will need a fair bit of time to get himself back ready again.”

Kieran Hughes (hamstring) will also be absent when Monaghan begin the league at home to Dublin in Clones later this month.

The Scotstown man has been hampered by a hamstring injury and O’Rourke would like to see the problem resolved once.

Monaghan footballer Kieran Hughes was restricted in his gametime last season.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Kieran Hughes is still struggling with the hamstring and he’s definitely not going to be there for the start of the league at least,” said O’Rourke.

“I don’t know how far into the league it will be before we see him. He’s been carrying that from the championship last year. He wasn’t able to train with us a lot of the time.

“He’s still not right and we’re trying to clear it up as best we can rather than doing something to make it worse. He’s in the best hands. The physios are top class and hopefully we’ll get him right rather than it lingering on and him not being at his best at any stage of the year.”

Ahead of a huge weekend of Heineken Champions Cup action, Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey assess the provinces’ chances of putting a foot in the last eight:

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