Dublin suffer huge loss as James McCarthy could be out until All-Ireland final weekend

Reports suggest the versatile Ballymun Kickhams man could be out for six weeks

The injury that kept James McCarthy out of Sunday's Leinster final victory over Westmeath is reportedly worse than Jim Gavin initially suggested.

Jim Gavin said McCarthy had suffered a “contact injury on his quad” but the Irish Mirror's Pat Nolan told Oisin Langan that "the injury is significantly more serious than that, medial ligament damage. It was feared that it might even have been a cruciate but a scan that he got late last week, apparently, revealed that it was medial and not cruciate which is obviously a much less grave scenario for him and for Dublin."

Dublin are already missing Jack McCaffrey, who was the player of the year last year at half-back and Rory O'Carroll, the first choice full-back has decided to take a year out also.

There is an argument to be made that McCarthy is Jim Gavin's most important player given the fact that he can play in a host of different positions including anywhere on the half-back line, midfield and can even be used as a full-back if circumstances require.

Gavin was forced to move Ciaran Kilkenny back to half-back in the second half against Westmeath in an effort to inject pace and dynamism into a line of the field that Dublin were clearly lacking. The move worked and Dublin went on to win the game comfortably but Jim Gavin might be faced with further selection headaches with the latest reports on McCarthy's fitness.

The injury reported can take between four and six weeks to heal, which would mean McCarthy would be ruled out of Dublin's quarter-final, most likely their semi-final and might be just returning to action if they make it to the All-Ireland final.