AFTER HIS LATEST injury lay-off, Dublin full-foward Eoghan O’Gara is confident of being fit to return for the upcoming Allianz Football League campaign.
The Templeogue/Synge Street man has had to battle back from a series of problems in recent times. Last spring, operations on both hips were needed to sort out persistent groin problems which troubled him for years.
Then, just before Christmas, O’Gara went under the knife again for key hole surgery on his elbow.
However, having returned for light sessions in the past week, his hope is to get contact training under his belt in the next couple of weeks in order to be ready for Dublin’s league opener with Kerry on 2 February — although he admits it may come too soon.
“I’d have to train the week of the first league game to be in contention so we’ll see what happens,” said O’Gara.
They took out a bit of cartilage — lots bits of bones and stuff. It was nothing serious but it needs to be done. Last year I had both my hips, then the elbow. I’ll be in a zimmerframe in the next few years!”
While injuries are bound to occur as part of the wear and tear, O’Gara believes some of it could be down to the way he is built. That said, he is optimistic that he can put those problems behind him now.
“Hopefully not for the forseeable future,” he answers when asked whether he needs anything else done. “I would hope not to have any more complications around that area.
“It was mainly physical restrictions, the burst of pace and the ability to turn sharply and stuff like that. It has taken a bit away from me. It’s nice that surgery worked out as there is no guarantee with that.
“It’s nice that it worked out and I no longer have any pain in the groin area so it’s great.”
Picking up an injury in an All-Ireland final is particularly unfortunate but, last September, O’Gara spent the last 15 minutes unable to get around the pitch after picking up a hamstring injury in the build-up to Bernard Brogan’s goal.
With no substitutes left, he was forced to hobble around the field for the remaining minutes.
“I sprinted out for a ball and I felt it pop,” he recalls. “I’d done it before so I knew straight away it was the hamstring.
“I was kind of hoping it wouldn’t have been as bad as it was when I started trying to move it again. It was gone — I knew it was gone.
“So it was a case of just trying to get the physio on to strap it. I actually thought we had a substitution left, so I gestured to take me off. It’s the last thing you want to be doing in an All-Ireland final, 15 minutes to go, asking to be coming off.
But I found out we had no subs (left) so I just had to soldier on and was told to stay on the end line.”