Denis Fogarty has become the second Munster hooker to book in for a shoulder operation during the close season.
A younger brother of new Connacht captain John Fogarty, the 23-year-old's need for surgery means he is likely to miss the first six months of the new season.
Fogarty is unfortunately following in the footsteps of Munster and Ireland's first choice hooker Jerry Flannery who went under the knife at the start of month due to shoulder ligament damage he sustained on Ireland's summer tour to New Zealand and Australia.
The absence of both Fogarty and Flannery means Frankie Sheahan, who only played his first game in ten months against Leicester last Friday, will be forced into immediate first team duty - Munster open their Magners League account away to Cardiff this Friday. A neck injury, sustained last October, saw last season written off for Sheahan.
Sheahan's 80-minute run out against Leicester was a timely boost for Munster coach Declan Kidney, who seems certain to blood young Shannon hooker Sean Cronin in the coming weeks.
Cronin had an excellent campaign for Shannon in 2005/06 and also rounded off the season by impressing for Ireland at the IRB Under-21 World Cup in France.
Kidney is also monitoring the fitness of one of the province's Heineken Cup final heroes Trevor Halstead, who is currently nursing a knee injury. The South African centre will miss the first few weeks of the Magners League.
"Trevor had a scope on his knee," Kidney confirmed to the Irish Examiner, "he's now four weeks into that and in another couple of weeks we'll see how he's going in terms of getting back to playing rugby."