Kilkenny star James Maher eyes summer return after freak JCB accident
His season looked like it was in tatters after a "freak accident" involving a JCB but James Maher is back on his feet and aiming to get back in the Kilkenny fold later this year.
Maher made a huge impression when firing four points against Tipperary in this year's League but he suffered a broken kneecap on April 10 which required surgery.
The St Lachtains attacker was lucky to initially walk away from the incident on the family farm in Freshford before realising its severity.
"Basically my dad was driving a JCB and he hit one of the gates by accident and sent me flying up into the air and I came down and landed on the concrete and broke my kneecap," he said.
"It was just a bit of a freak accident. It could have been a lot worse. If I'd landed on my head I obviously could have done more damage but it was very sore at the time.
"I said I'd go in and just get an X-ray and it turned out to be broken so I thought originally that, 'ah, it's only a broken bone, six to eight weeks at the most' and then finding out that it could be six or 12 months."
He didn't break the bad news to Brian Cody, instead leaving that job to the county doctor, but after recently getting off crutches he's eager to play some part with the seniors and U-21s.
The senior set-up has been a severe shock to the system, however.
"I was in for the first time last year and I found it fierce tough, the physicality, the fitness. I would consider myself a fit enough person but going in there was completely different," he said.
"They all seem to be fitter and way stronger and have better touch and everything so it was a big step up and I had to get my act together pretty quickly.
"You're spending most of your time recovering for the next session and getting yourself ready because you know if you're not eating healthy or doing what you're not supposed to be doing, then you're going to fall way behind."