Cork’s rising star Seán Powter is ramping up his rehab as he plans a return to play in a fortnight’s time.
Powter, who suffered a hamstring tear in January’s league opener against Tipperary, is set to resume sprinting in training this week.
Speaking at the UCC Sport Star Awards on Monday, Powter said: “The rehab is going good. I’m back sprinting on Tuesday, hopefully, and then hopefully ready to go, back into games in two weeks’ time.
“If all goes to plan, I’ll be back playing sooner rather than later.
“It’s been a long three months so I just can’t wait now.”
A nominee for the 2017 Young Footballer of The Year award, the 20-year-old may have a week less to prepare for Cork’s championship opener after the Munster Council announced some fixture changes last Friday.
Should the potential Cork-Tipperary semi-final rematch come to pass, that game would take place a week earlier than originally scheduled on Saturday, May 26, although a Waterford shock against Tipp would buy him a week’s extra wriggle room.
It likely means a tighter window to build-up match fitness, but Powter is confident that won’t be an issue.
“I’ll have a week less to get fit but I’ve been doing a lot of work with the physio, Colin [Lane]. He’s seen me nearly every day.
“He’s been incredible so all I have are good words for him.”
Recalling the injury, Powter said: “I was just running and I felt a little click in my hamstring.”
It wasn’t long until that click turned into a bigger issue than it first sounded.
“I thought it was a small enough injury at the start, and then I got another scan which showed there was a tendon tear.
“That doubled the recovery time, which was not ideal but what could I have done? I just knuckled down and got on with the rehab.”
After a busy year which ended with the added honour of touring Australia for the International Rules Series and starting the second Test, the enforced rest period wasn’t one he was happy to take lying down.
“They were saying, ‘it’s a break if anything’, but I just love playing and I didn’t want to be injured at all. I thought I was in the fittest state I was in a long while and the injury just hampered that. Hopefully I can get up to that stage again.
“I’ve been at every training session but you’re doing your own thing in the gym and watching them out training and playing matches — it’s extremely tough. You’re part of the squad but you’re not.
“But I knew if I did everything right with the rehab and didn’t rush it, I’d be back stronger than ever.”
Having won a penalty and got on the scoresheet during his only 47 minutes of league action for Cork, Powter was an interested observer from the stands for the remainder of the campaign.
He believes new manager Ronan McCarthy is building a greater depth of talented players, with the added bonus of the returning Nemo Rangers stars into the mix.
“It was frustrating watching on obviously but we’re building a nice, well-rounded squad with a lot of different players. More direct players, players who can kick off both feet, those kind of players. That’ll only benefit us in the championship,” insists the UCC second-year Biological and Chemical Sciences student.
“Ronan has a big emphasis on competition for places and when you look around the squad, there’s two or three for every position, which will only make us better.
“The Nemo players had a great season. Unfortunately, Corofin just blew them out of the water in the [All-Ireland] final but we saw what they could do all year and they’re only going to add experience as well as talent to our panel. We’ll take them with open arms again.”
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.