The hard stuff dreams are made of

You could argue that few Cork City players gave more to the cause of getting the club to this Sunday’s FAI Cup final than Danny Morrissey, the striker who experienced almost as much pain as pleasure when scoring the match-winning goal against Bray Wanderers in the semi-final.
The hard stuff dreams are made of

“My hamstring had just got a bit tight and I’d signalled to the bench that I was struggling,” he explains.

“And literally two minutes later I scored the goal and that’s when the leg totally seized up and I had to come off. And the same thing happened in the league against Pats after scoring again — the exact same thing. It’s strange.

“But I trained last week, got on the bench against Bohs last Friday and I’m just looking to get a good week under my belt ahead of Sunday.”

It might seem like an odd thing to say of someone who made his City debut in the First Division in 2010 at the age of just 16 and who won’t turn 22 until December, but Morrissey already feels like he has to make up for lost time, having missed virtually all of the 2014 campaign through injury.

“Literally three days into pre-season I went into a tackle and done my ankle,” he recalls.

And the man on the other side of the training ground challenge was himself no stranger to the game’s cruel blows.

“Yeah, Johnny Dunleavy,” he smiles. “It was completely accidental. He made a good challenge and got the ball — it was just the way I came down on the ankle. I didn’t think it was too serious but it just dragged on. I tried to come back, trained and played a few games, but it was still at me. It was ligaments in my ankle but it just wasn’t right.

“I was out a long time — pretty much a whole season, close to nine months. It was tough to keep the head not training or playing and John was very good to me. He kept me going. The lads were all good to me on the training ground.

“There’s nothing worse than doing rehab work out in the Mardyke Arena. You’re with physios every day when all you want to do is be out playing. You don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines just watching the lads. It’s not the same when you’re injured and the lads are winning. You’re not really part of it, are you?

“There were a few dark times but did I ever feel like throwing in the towel? No, not a chance. I knew I’d get over it.

“Once I got out in the South Infirmary with a top specialist and had the operation, it was all cleared up. It’s been all good since then. The other problems are just small ones.”

And, of course, it will all most definitely have been worth it if Morrissey can end his and City’s season on a high with victory over Dundalk at the Aviva Stadium.

“If I get to play a part, there’d be nothing better than if I scored on Sunday,” he smiles. “It would be a dream come true. Unbelievable. I used to go to Cork City games when I was younger. To play would be great, to score even better but to score and win it — it’s every kid’s dream. It’s going to be the biggest game of my career so far and of a lot of the lads in the team as well. But, look, we won’t care who scores the goals so long as we win it.

“It would be massive for the club. Especially when you think of where it was a few years ago — I was part of the team that got back up out of the First Division. The fans are unbelievable — it’s the best supported club in the league. It needs to be at the top winning trophies. And we’ve a great opportunity to do that on Sunday.”

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