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Claret McCann rocked by another six-month lay-off

IRISH midfielder Chris McCann was today coming to terms with the devastating news that he will be out of action with Burnley for at least six months due to a knee injury.

Former Home Farm man McCann played a key role in the Clarets' successful promotion to the Premier League for last season, but he suffered a knee injury just weeks into last season and he managed only a handful of games in the club's year-long stint in the top flight.

He had regained fitness for the start of this season, but the injury flared up in a club tour of Singapore and now the player needs more surgery, forcing him out until February.

"Chris needs a full reconstruction of the cruciate ligament. It is devastating news, not only for the football club but particularly for a player who has had a dreadful time trying to overcome anterior cruciate damage from over a year ago," said Burnley boss Brian Laws.

"Chris has had niggles consistently over a period of time and it got to a point where we needed a second opinion. Unfortunately, that opinion is that he needs a full reconstruction and that we are now going to lose him for a minimum of six months.

"We must make sure it's clear to everyone that this is not career threatening, and the plus is that he will make a full recovery and eventually be 100 percent right and not looking at percentages on whether he will be fit or not. In hindsight, which is a wonderful thing, the direction taken in the first place on the original injury was sceptical.

"Many surgeons don't really want to go down the intrusion line unless it is absolutely necessary.

"They were hoping the ligament would reattach itself in normal circumstances and let the body do the recovery.

"Unfortunately, for Chris, the ligament has not attached where it should and that has left the knee fairly unstable, hence the breakdowns.

"Twelve months of Chris's career have been missing, but hopefully he will make that up in the not too distant future," added Laws.

RYAN CONNOLLY'S goal nine minutes into the second half secured an impressive victory for the Republic of Ireland U19s in a friendly clash against Ukraine at Frank Cooke Park.

Connolly slotted the ball home from 10 yards after Patrick McEleney did the spadework with a brilliant dribble and through ball.

Denis Irwin was watching his son Liam in action, while former Kerry GAA goal machine John Egan was present to see his son John marshal the Irish back four.

"It was a very positive performance from our players.

"I'm so pleased with how we played, keeping possession and building from the back," said manager Sean McCaffrey.