Josh Moffett will miss this weekend’s Under21 interpro series which gets under way on Friday in Dublin.
But it is a double blow for the in-form Banbridge forward, as he is now likely to also miss being selected for the Irish Under 21’s for next week’s Four-Nation tournament at Mossley.
Moffett pulled a hamstring whilst training with the Ulster squad during the week and it was not the news that Ulster coach, Stephen Cuddy wanted to hear.
“Unfortunately Josh has had to withdraw from the squad and we also have a concern over James Cox from Annadale as he has tonsillitis, but we are hoping he will have recovered in time,” said Cuddy.
“We are drafting Joel Cathcart from Mossley to replace Josh so it’s just a forward for a forward. Joel was unlucky not to make the squad and I am delighted that his has got in to get a chance. It’s one person’s misfortune and another person’s opportunity.
“Apart from that preparations have went very well and the boys are in great form and we are going there to hopefully do the job,” he added.
“But we also have quality in our squad and I would be hopeful that we will be able to do ok. It has been great working with them as they have good training ethic.”
Johnny McKee could have been playing against Ulster as he also qualified to play for the Irish Under18s who are also in the tournament.
But Cuddy was delighted that he had first call on the young Banbridge star, saying: “Johnny is going to be a big player for us and I am pleased that we had first call on him.”
Ulster start on Friday against Munster with the big game on Saturday afternoon against Leinster. Should Ulster win both games they could be crowned champions by Saturday night.
On the home front there is only one game in the Premiership and it’s a relegation battle between Raphoe and Civil Service and the outcome could decide who drops automatically to Senior One.
And in Senior One a win for Newry against visitors North Down should secure promotion for the South Down Club.
There is also Irish Cup action as the Irish Challenge has reached the quarter final and in the two All Ulster tussles Portrush look favourites against Ballymena, and Armagh could just edge out Parkview.
Fixtures: Friday - Leinster v Irish U18 (4pm); Ulster v Munster (6.30pm); Saturday - Irish U18 v Munster (11am); Leinster v Ulster (3.30pm); Sunday - Ulster v Irish U18 (11.30am).