New Laois hurling manager Eddie Brennan has been dealt a big blow before his side have even pucked a ball.
It has emerged that one of his key forwards, Ben Conroy, is set for a considerable spell on the sidelines.
The Slieve Bloom ace damaged his cruciate knee ligament in his sides recent Leinster JHC Round 1 clash with St Maurs of Dublin.
Conroy limped off midway through the second half and it is understood that he will now require surgery.
And as a result, the pacey forward is likely to be out until midway through the 2019 season at the very earliest.
Conroy actually began this year on trial with the Laois footballers before committing solely to the hurlers under Eamon Kelly.
He played in the National League where Laois retained their Division 1B status and then went on to the Joe McDonagh Cup.
Laois began that competition as favourites to win it but in the end they needed to beat Antrim in their final game to avoid a relegation playoff – which they did.
And it was when Conroy returned to the club scene that his year really took off with Slieve Bloom in the IHC.
His side breezed through the championship and defeated neighbours Camross in the final last month.
They will now play in the Senior A grade next year and will be hoping Conroy has returned to fill fitness by the time that competition comes around.