Ciaran McDonald Injury via The

TIPPERARY’S INTERNATIONAL RULES star Ciarán McDonald will miss his county’s entire Allianz National Football League campaign through injury.

Boss Peter Creedon is reeling from a fresh injury setback to the teak-tough Aherlow defender, who has suffered a recurrence of a previous hip problem.

Corner back McDonald, who captained Tipp to Munster U21 glory in 2010, returned from a hip complaint to play a starring role in the 2014 championship, when the Premier County reached the last 12 for the second time in three seasons.

His stellar form at the back earned an international call-up from Paul Earley and McDonald collected his first cap in November when Ireland lost to Australia in Perth.

McDonald’s initial hip injury left the player himself fearing for his intercounty future and now he faces another long road back to full fitness.

And Creedon hinted that the player’s championship participation may be in some doubt, with the situation to be assessed after Tipp’s Division 3 campaign.

Creedon confirmed:

“Ciarán McDonald is injured and he’s going to miss the whole League. We’ll reassess after the League and see what position he’s in for the championship. His hip injury has played up again.

McDonald’s absence from the side makes next Sunday’s opening League fixture away to Armagh an even more difficult assignment as his clubmate Seamus Grogan is also out for up to six weeks after undergoing surgery on a knee cartilage problem.

But Borrisokane forward Philip Austin should be fit enough to make the bench after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Creedon hinted that former dual All-Ireland minor medallists Steven O’Brien and Colin O’Riordan, a 2014 All Star nominee, will form the midfield partnership at the Athletic Grounds.

And former dual U21 star Seamus Kennedy, who won a minor football All-Ireland title in 2011, is tipped to start in the half-back line.

Tipp will start their League campaign as second favourites behind Armagh to top Division 3 and gain promotion.