Shane Lennon made his return to the Louth team after a 16 month absence as the Wee County fell to defeat against Dublin in new manager Aidan O’Rourke’s first game in charge on Sunday.
Lennon, who missed last year’s National League and Championship because of a hip injury, played the full 70 minutes in the Challenge game played to mark the Newtown Blues’ 125th anniversary.
And speaking afterwards, he said he was delighted to be back in inter-county action.
“I think the last time I pulled on a Louth jersey was against Meath over in Breffni Park. That must be about 16 months ago so it’s great to get back out.”
The Kilkerley Emmets man is keen to make up for lost time and he said the appointment of O’Rourke had put an extra spring in his step.
“There’s a new regime in place now so it’s something to look forward to”, he said. “We were all on the edge of our seats. There was plenty of rumours going about but we didn’t know who was going to be appointed. Aidan has all the qualifications, he’s done it all so we can’t doubt him.
“From chatting to him the set up that we will have is second to none. I’d know him through college when I was at UCD. We had a lot of battles with Queens when he was the manager and I would have played against him a few times in challenge matches against Dromintee. It’s good to get to meet him and now it’s time to put all our shoulders to the wheel.”
Lennon conceded that he is still well off the pace but he was happy with the progress he has made after undergoing a hip operation to correct an ongoing problem on April 1.
“I had an extra piece of bone in my hip which was nipping at the cartilage. I thought it was a groin problem so I kept putting it off”, he revealed. “I’ve had three or four months recovery but lucky enough I was able to get back for a couple of club games.
“I know I’ve a lot of work to do myself, I’ve only played three or four club games towards the end of the year and I’ve missed a lot of football but I’m looking forward to getting back into it and putting in a couple of tough months of work before I get out for the O’Byrne Cup.
“I probably needed that time out”, he added. “I had a couple of niggly injuries throughout the years and that rest might stand to me in the future. I don’t think I could have went on with the hip, I needed it sorted and thankfully it feels good.”