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Cruel blow for Ireland and Galway star defender as ACL injury confirmed

Savannah McCarthy says she is ‘absolutely devastated’.

Savannah McCarthy: 'There's highs and lows in football and this is definitely one of the lows.'
Savannah McCarthy: 'There's highs and lows in football and this is definitely one of the lows.'
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND international and Galway star Savannah McCarthy has sustained a cruciate ligament knee injury.

The 24-year-old defender confirmed the news on social media this evening, with the timing of the blow particularly cruel ahead of the restart of Ireland’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

“There’s highs and lows in football and this is definitely one of the lows,” McCarthy wrote.

“Absolutely devastated to say I did my ACL Saturday night but the road to recovery starts now, big thanks to everyone for the messages I’ll be @GalwayWFC and @FAIreland biggest supporters until then.”

The Kerry native was stretchered off during Galway’s 1-1 draw with DLR Waves last weekend, in Series Three of the Women’s National League.

The devastating setback derails McCarthy’s recent impressive progress and form, having established herself as one of the top players plying their trade in the Irish top-flight, with her star also rising on the international stage.

She had broken back into the XI in the latter stages of 2021, ending a five-year wait for sixth international senior cap in last September’s friendly win over Australia. She was retained in the starting team for the opening qualifiers over Sweden, Finland and Slovakia, and featured at last month’s Pinatar Cup.

The next focus for Vera Pauw’s Girls In Green is a showdown with Sweden on 12 April, with McCarthy unfortunately ruled out.

“Behind you every step of the way, Sav,” captain Katie McCabe replied on Twitter, with Denise O’Sullivan adding: “Love ya my girl… head up & push on. You got this.”

Generally lining out on the left side of a central-defensive trio, Manchester United’s Diane Caldwell, Glasgow City duo Claire Walsh and Niamh Farrelly and Claire O’Riordan, who plays her club football in Germany, are all potential replacements.

Liverpool’s Megan Campbell is another versatile left-sided back, though Caldwell will be favourite to return to the regular XI after McCarthy effectively took her spot.

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Ireland currently sit second in Group A as they eye a play-off spot, facing minnows Georgia away in June after next month’s trip to Gothenburg to face the front-runners.

Their prospects of reaching a first-ever major tournament are likely to come down September’s crunch double-header against second-place rivals, Finland at home and Slovakia away across five days.

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Emma Duffy

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