GAA: O'Shea's Happy, He's Got a Clean Bill of Health; DAVID LEEN Discovers the Road to Recovery Hasn't Been an Easy One for a Kerry Great
Leen, David, The Mirror (London, England)
IN and around the general GAA landscapes it might have gone unnoticed, but Kerry's Billy O'Shea is back on the road to recovery after an injury nightmare.
O'Shea played the full 60 minutes with his club Laune Rangers at the weekend capturing their seventh league title in the club's history.
It was the first time O'Shea played a match since the Mayo game 12 months ago. What he has injured in the interim would put the patience of Job to the test.
But with his enthusiasm undimmed O'Shea is not happy with just his return for his club, he now wants his green and gold jersey back too.
O'Shea's problems began with a rare Maurice Fitzgerald miskick as he recalled.
"I signalled straight away to the bench and by the look on the physio's face I knew that something serious was wrong," he said.
O'Shea broke his tibia and fibula in what is known as a compound fracture, his dream ended after only seven minutes.
He admitted that the initial disappointment didn't set in until he was leaving in the ambulance.
"I could still hear all the roars of the crowd as they were taking me to the hospital and then I realised what had happened.
"There were no feelings of bitterness toward Maurice for what had happened it was just a freak accident in the heat of a match."
He admits his pain eased a little when Kerry won the game.
"Nearly all the team came in after the game with the Cup but to miss out on the aftermath of such a great event especially after bridging the 11 year gap hurt a lot.
"The homecoming I don't remember a lot of because I was in a lot of pain after flying down with the team so the celebrations were cut short again."
O'Shea had four screws inserted in his leg, two in the ankle and two more behind the knee to keep the bones in place during the healing process.
Initially, he thought that he would be out of the game for at least a year but when the screws behind the knee were removed after Christmas he started jogging and began to believe that he would make it back for the 1998 Championship.
"In hindsight I think that I may have rushed the injury a little, but after such an abrupt ending to a brilliant year I felt that there was a lot of unfinished business."
O'Shea owes a lot to Kerry trainer Paidi O Se during his time away from the Kerry set up.
"I couldn't have been treated any better by the management of the Kerry team during my injury. Paidi always kept in contact with me and invited me in after Christmas to join in on some of the running."
It was here that O'Shea's fighting spirit worked against him.
"I was just kicking a ball to Liam Hassett about 20 yards in front of me when suddenly something gave way in the back of the knee and I feared the worst.
"With the two screws in the back of the knee it hadn't been worked properly in over three months so the lateral ligaments behind the knee snapped and set me back another two months".
There were times during his injuries that O'Shea thought of giving up football.
In 1991 against Cork in the Munster Under-21 final he was also seriously injured. …