Enda Coughlan: Reaching the end of the lonely road

Clare’s Enda Coughlan has been on the loneliest road since last summer.

Clare’s Enda Coughlan has been on the loneliest road since last summer. You can return now from a cruciate tear, but it takes application, guts and determination.

“I'm back but I'm after straining my hamstring there two weeks ago, so I'm struggling to get back now. I was back for the last round of the league there since the cruciate.

“I did it in a club game at the end of July last year. The week after Kildare beat us. I did it on the 26th of July, got it operated on the 9th of September and I was back the 5th of March, I was clear to play then.

“The Kildare defeat was very disappointing. Club game the following week, then the first minute, the knee gave way. It's a very tough injury. The worst I've ever had.

“It takes an awful lot of training to come back, six nights a week in the winter, fair tough. Worst injury I'd ever had before that was a torn quad, very lucky underage. Never had any real injuries, then that went.”

That Kildare game was a missed chance for Clare: “We sat down and went through it. We were looking at it why we went so long without scoring.  

“We tried to identify it. In some league games we rectified it but in other league games, it came back to haunt us again. Even against Limerick there, we went the last 25 minutes without scoring against them so it's a worrying aspect of our game.

“In fairness since the league we've worked on it, talked about it, spoken about it and hope it won't happen again.”

On the plus side, they gained a couple of players, such as Podge Collins . . .

“It was a massive boost. Look at the county champions there Cratloe, they're a dual team, at the moment they probably have the best club footballers in Clare, they've won the last two. Having them on board is obviously a major bonus.

“We have them in the first round of the (Clare) championship so I hope they lose form once they finish with Clare! They've been a massive boost. Their football ability speaks for itself and having them around full time is a major boost to us.

“They just bring massive enthusiasm and massive experience. They've been obviously with the hurlers and they've won at the top level. They know what it takes to win at the top level in preparation, we're feeding off them.

“Since Colm (Collins) has come in, he's brought in that professionalism. Training has stepped up and the panel has got stronger. We're just looking forward to championship and hoping that comes good for us.”

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