Bergin hails Meehan determination

Bergin hails Meehan determination

Galway midfielder Joe Bergin gave a special mention to Michael Meehan after he made a successful return from injury against Roscommon yesterday afternoon.

Meehan had a 25-minute run-out in the Tribesmen's comfortable Connacht SFC quarter-final win at Dr Hyde Park, claiming two points and setting up Gary Sice for their third and final goal.

It has been a long road back for the multi-skilled forward who has battled ankle and shoulder injuries in recent seasons.

The Caltra clubman was even told his inter-county career was over after undergoing surgery on his troublesome left ankle.

"Nine out of 10 guys would have thrown their hats at it, between the ankle, the shoulder and all the rest," said Bergin after the impressive 3-15 to 0-10 victory.

"But it shows the resolve of this guy (Meehan) - he loves football, he loves Galway and you could hear the cheer from the crowd when he came on (as a substitute).

"There was no one happier than me to see him come on after all that he has gone through. Hopefully now he can enjoy a good, long summer with the rest of us."

Meehan's cruel run of luck with injuries began with him damaging a knee against Kerry in a league game in March 2010.

Later that year, he injured the aforementioned ankle (compressed ligaments) against Sligo in the Connacht Championship, and in the 2011 Championship he dislocated his shoulder in a qualifier defeat to Meath.

The uncertainty over the 28-year-old's footballing future was still there at the start of this season. Scans revealed that the cartilage in Meehan's ankle is in a degenerative state and simply cannot be replaced.

Galway manager Alan Mulholland described it as "a Paul McGrath-style injury" and just like the former Republic of Ireland soccer star, Meehan has had to limit and carefully monitor his training load in order to be fit and able to play matches for Caltra and Galway.

He made a successful return at club level recently and through clever management of his ankle - even down to changing his diet to avoid foods that could cause inflammation - he has gradually worked his way back onto the inter-county radar.

In a recent interview, Meehan admitted: "I am happy that I am improving and I am getting sharper. I am not training as hard as I would like to, but I have to be smart and I have to maximise what I can do.

"My goals are very short-term. I am just trying to put a good 40 or 50 minutes of competitive football together, twice a week. I don't look past the next training session because the problem is that after training and for a few days after my ankle is stiff and sore.

"There is a lot to be done by me to recuperate every time I tog out and I am taking it day by day. That is what may work for me. You have to take the rough with the smooth and I am just hoping that this approach will work."

Mulholland would dearly love to have an attacker of Meehan's calibre at his disposal for the rest of the Championship, particularly after a feel-good result such as yesterday's against the Rossies.

Next up for his side is a semi-final showdown with Sligo in Salthill on Saturday, June 9, an ideal test of Galway's title credentials on the back of their runaway opening success.

"Cathal Cregg caused us problems in the first half and we were struggling in the middle third of the game so we brought in experienced guys like Michael Meehan and Padraic Joyce and that settled us down," said Mulholland in the aftermath.

"We've done well today, but Sligo will be a totally different proposition. They had a good performance in New York, I know you can't really read too much into that but (Sligo manager) Kevin Walsh knows Galway football probably better than I do.

"So it's going to be hell for leather against them and we will have it all to do to beat Sligo the next day. But we are going to draw confidence out of this. It was fantastic to play well and hopefully we build on that and play better the next day."

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