Friday 20 October 2017

Meath star Gillespie set to 'call it a day' as injury persists

Meath midfielder Conor Gillespie Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Meath midfielder Conor Gillespie Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Meath midfielder Conor Gillespie admits it's "unlikely" he'll play inter-county football again and may even have to shelve his club career because of an ongoing knee problem.

Gillespie has not played for Meath since the end of the 2015 League. Since then, cartilage degeneration in his knee has sidelined him for the last 18 months with little or no sign of improvement.

"I'm meeting one specialist regarding potential future surgery but it's a long shot," he conceded.

Meath may be losing their current midfielder Harry Rooney for the early part of next season as he plans to travel to Australia.

Gillespie emerged to play in back-to-back Leinster finals against Dublin in 2012 and 2013 and made a mark but a cruciate ligament rupture in 2014, followed by the ligament trouble which flared up a year later, has completely derailed him, precluding him from playing club football too.

"It's similar enough to what Richie Power has. There's a pocket of cartilage at the end of my femur that's gone," he explained.

Survive

"Realistically with the state of my knee, there is no way I can survive inter-county football. I can't train on it so I can't play on it. It's as simple as that. I might be able to do 10 or 15 minutes in a club game but that's it.

"I have to do a bit more investigation. The potential surgery is not designed for sports athletes. It's an unknown at this stage. But if it was to happen it could be 12 to 15 months of recovery.

"I'm going to try and get and play a bit of club football next year, and if I can't do that I'll call it a day.

"I only really felt I was coming into it when I was 23 or 24, when I was fully developed and fully able to handle myself physically. I never really got a chance after that."

Meath have lost some big players to injury, with Kevin Reilly cutting short his time because of recurring back and hip problems and Shane O'Rourke undergoing three hip operations in a short space of time, reducing his capacity to train.

Rooney has emerged as one of the county's brightest prospects over the last two years and, if he decides to go for a full year, would be a considerable loss.

Meanwhile, Central Council has confirmed that the mark will be in place in all football competitions from January 1.

Irish Independent

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