Ciarán Byrne has resigned himself to missing Louth’s upcoming championship campaign having undergone further surgery on his right ankle. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Ciarán Byrne has resigned himself to missing Louth’s upcoming championship campaign having undergone further surgery on his right ankle.
The St. Mochta’s clubman sustained the injury in last year’s intermediate championship final, going through an operation in its aftermath, having made the decision to retire from Australian Rules duty with Carlton.
He had returned to training with Wayne Kierans’ Wee County panel during the National League, but was referred to the sports clinic in Santry after sensing some discomfort while running.
The latest surgery took place in the last fortnight, leaving the 24-year-old in a protective boot, and out of action for the foreseeable future. However, while he admits it’s optimistic, Byrne is hoping to play some part in his club’s first senior championship participation since 1982 in late summer.
“Louth, to be honest, is completely out of the case this year,” he told The Democrat.
“Club championship is in July so I’ve two-and-a-half to three months to get it right and see what I can do there.
“In hindsight, I probably should have got that (recent operation) done a couple of months ago which would have put me in contention for maybe getting back (for Louth) some time this year.
“Ultimately, the goal is to get back playing in some shape or form this year, but it probably doesn’t look great because I’m still stuck in this boot.”
Having previously suffered an ACL tear in the same leg, as well as several hamstring and quad injuries, Byrne is well used to the arduous road to recovery.
He expects to remain part of the Louth posse over the coming weeks and months, while selectorship duty awaits him, too, with Aidan Shevlin’s talented U20 outfit.
Nonetheless, consolation is scant for a man whose reason for ending his stint down under related mainly to a deep desire to play GAA.
“Watching games is an absolute in a pain in the arse and I’m struggling to do that because the reason I came home was to play football,” he said.
“It’s very frustrating that you put in such hard work to get back… I’ve been on the end of some unfortunate ones. A lot of my injuries couldn’t have been prevented.”
Conor Grimes played his second club match in as many weeks for Glen Emmets last Friday night, in their defeat of Naomh Malachi in Tullyallen.
The Louth forward is now expected to be in contention for a place in Wayne Kierans’ team ahead of May’s Leinster Championship opener against Wexford.
Grimes has been missing since suffering an ACL injury while playing for Emmets midway through last season.