I never considered quitting – Galvin
John Galvin is targeting an April return to competitive action after the best part of two years recovering from double cruciate ligament surgery.
Limerick's long-serving powerhouse midfielder has reconciled himself to making a more gradual return to football after sustaining two cruciate injuries in the same knee in just 10 months.
Galvin (32) insisted that he never considered packing up the game – despite the horror of a recurrence so soon after the initial tear in May 2011. And he is confident that when he returns his knee will be as strong as ever.
"I'm about eight weeks away. It will be the start of April before I am back playing," he said. "Even if I was to make the last two (National League) games I'd only be talking about coming on for the last 20 minutes to get back into it."
The medical consensus now is that the recovery period from a cruciate injury should be longer, up to nine months instead of the six-month timeframe many were aiming for. Galvin is content to take his time, even if it means he will miss most of Limerick's Division 4 campaign.
"I'm going back a bit later – I'm giving it an extra couple of months just to be on the safe side this time," he said. "Even professional sportspeople are taking longer. They used to try to get them back in six months, now they're trying to push it back to eight or nine.
"Last year I got back in about six-and-a half months. In saying that, all the testing beforehand seemed to suggest the knee was strong. Everything seemed perfect.
"Before I started playing I had done three or four weeks' full training sessions with the team. Everything was going fine. I played in three other games and it was my fourth game back against Fermanagh that my knee went again, about 20 minutes in."
That was the end of March last year. He postponed an operation and by June had made the bench for the Munster championship match against Clare, after a valiant effort to strengthen the muscles in the troubled knee and provide support for the ligament.
But defeat to the Banner altered his thinking and by the end of the month he was under the knife for the second time in 10 months.
The six weeks he spent in the gym building up the muscle served him well, in hindsight.
"I did another two training sessions after we lost that game to Clare and I just thought I wasn't even going to be 60pc of what I should be. I felt I'd better get the operation and get back for this year," he said.
"My knee was so strong I said I would go back again. I didn't think about giving up at any stage. When your knee is stronger before the operation it is a massive advantage. I was more mobile in a much shorter period than I was after the first operation."
Galvin is working on his rehabilitation programme but links up with the Limerick squad on the nights they train collectively. He hopes to have two months' uninterrupted training behind him before he plays any championship football and is adamant that he wants to end his career as a midfielder.
"It's my ambition to get back playing there and I want to be fit enough to realise that," he said.
Galvin is envious of the teams that play in Croke Park under lights tomorrow night as the league starts with an attractive double header.
"Life in Division 4 is much different to that," he said. "The pitch surfaces aren't as good.
"But that said it is a very competitive environment. Those pitches and the weather are real levellers. But Limerick have to aim for promotion. We've had two good runs in the qualifiers in the last two years and we've been able to pick off teams from higher divisions."