'Training by yourself is lonely but I got through it' - Clare star Podge Collins
Published 10/05/2016 | 02:30
Podge Collins admits there were "low times" during his rehabilitation from his cruciate knee ligament injury but the support of his team-mates was a constant source of inspiration.
The thought of days like last Sunday's dramatic Allianz Hurling League final success provided light at the end of the tunnel but Collins never envisaged the transition would go as smoothly as it has.
Known for his boundless energy on the pitch, Collins attacked recovery with the same enthusiasm but it wasn't without difficulty. Injury can be a "lonely place" but motivation was never far away.
"The last three weekends I've been playing in Croke Park and Thurles. That's what it's all about but I didn't see it coming when I was doing rehab," he said.
"There were definitely low times. It's a very lonely time, you're not really training with the team but I'd be getting a phone call off Darach Honan or Joe Hayes with the footballers and they'd always keep in touch.
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"That stuff is important and it makes you want to get back that bit more when you know the lads are thinking about you.
"It's completely different, you're not training with the team seven days a week. You've to drive yourself to do your own thing and it can be difficult but I'm so glad I got through it all. Things are going well."
Less than a year after his injury woe the 24-year-old has bounced back with outstanding success. He is showing no ill effects of the dual challenge but he knows that will get tougher in time.
"It is very hard with the level that the GAA is gone to and I don't know if it'll be the same in the future, but it's great the way things are going right now. When you're winning, everything is rosy," the 2013 All-Star said.
"With the knee it's a tough one because after a game you mightn't be right for a few days, but while we're winning no-one outside of the two panels is going to be telling me I can't do both.
"I might come under some pressure down the line but for the moment I'm happy out."