Evan Comerford to miss All-Ireland series after cruciate knee ligament injury

Ballymun goalkeeper suffered knee injury in club game for Ballymun Kickhams

Dublin’s goalkeeping options are to be stretched for the rest of the championship as Evan Comerford is set the miss the All-Ireland series because of a cruciate knee ligament injury.

In the wake of Dublin’s Leinster final win over Louth, Dessie Farrell revealed Comerford had suffered a knee injury while playing for Ballymun Kickhams in a league game against Na Fianna the previous evening, and the seriousness of the blow means he will not be available for the Dubs over the coming weeks.

It is Comerford’s latest injury setback, as he was out of action for a lengthy period last season because of a groin problem. He was originally listed as sub goalkeeper for the Leinster decider two weeks ago but had to be replaced on the day by David O’Hanlon.

Comerford started in three of Dublin’s National Football League games this season, including the Division One decider against Derry, which went to a penalty shoot-out.


He was named to start in their Leinster championship opener against Meath in April but was replaced in the first 15 that afternoon by the returning Stephen Cluxton.

That was Cluxton’s maiden appearance of the season, and his first since last year’s All-Ireland final. Cluxton has now started all three of Dublin’s championship games this term, with Comerford and O’Hanlon vying for the number 16 shirt.

Having fulfilled the role of backup custodian for several years, Comerford was handed the number one jersey in 2021 after Cluxton quietly stepped away from the set-up after the 2020 All-Ireland triumph.

Subsequently, Comerford was Dublin’s goalkeeper when they won both the 2021 and 2022 Leinster finals. He also received an All Star nomination on the back of his performances over the course of the 2022 campaign.

However, a groin injury later that year curtailed his involvement with Ballymun Kickhams and he remained sidelined for the start of the 2023 intercounty season, with O’Hanlon stepping in between the posts during last year’s league.

It was thought the battle for the number one jersey for the championship would eventually be a straight arm wrestle between O’Hanlon and Comerford, but the shock return to the squad of Cluxton in late March changed everything.

O’Hanlon started the Leinster quarter-final win over Laois but Cluxton was given the nod for the semi-final against Kildare and he remained between the posts for the rest of the 2023 championship.

Cluxton did not feature in the league for Dublin this year, with O’Hanlon and Comerford sharing the goalkeeping responsibilities.

O’Hanlon started two of Dublin’s three O’Byrne Cup games too, with Comerford lining out in the final of the pre-league competition.

O’Hanlon started the first five league games for Dublin – against Monaghan, Mayo, Roscommon, Kerry and Derry. Comerford started the last three of the campaign – against Galway, Tyrone and Derry.

Cluxton has again retaken the number one jersey for the championship, but Comerford’s unavailability is a concern to Dublin’s goalkeeping options, should the most decorated number one in the history of the game pick up any injuries.

Dublin begin their All-Ireland senior football championship round-robin campaign against Roscommon at Croke Park this Saturday.

When the sides met in the group stages last May, Roscommon frustrated Dublin for large periods of the game and the contest ultimately finished level.

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times