Thursday 21 September 2017

Lenihan glad of return after luck deserts him at Hull

8 October 2014; Republic of Ireland's Brian Lenihan in action during squad training ahead of their UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifer, Group D, game against Gibraltar on Saturday. Republic of Ireland Squad Training, Gannon Park, Malahide, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
8 October 2014; Republic of Ireland's Brian Lenihan in action during squad training ahead of their UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifer, Group D, game against Gibraltar on Saturday. Republic of Ireland Squad Training, Gannon Park, Malahide, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

John Fallon

After his whirlwind introduction to professional football, the abundance of downtime became an occupational hazard for Ireland U-21 international Brian Lenihan.

Back in the autumn of 2014, all sorts of fanciful forecasts accompanied the name of the Corkman as within five weeks of securing a €200,000 move from Cork City to Hull City, he was on a plane jetting to Germany for a UEFA Championship qualifier.

Seamus Coleman's injury forced Martin O'Neill into deploying another Hull man, David Meyler, in the right-back slot for the Gelsenkirchen draw but Lenihan's similar route from the League of Ireland to England provoked comparisons with the Donegal man.

That they both ended up on loan at Blackpool deepened the similarities but there would be no Cinderella story for Lenihan. He suffered serious injury and the Tigers were relegated to the Championship.

Qualifier

"Being with the Ireland squad was the best week of my life," he said ahead of the U-21 Euro qualifier against Italy in Waterford tomorrow.

"After that, it was to Blackpool on loan and that's when I got injured so I've not had the chance to build any momentum.

"Due to the injury, I had the chance to go home a lot. Firstly, I pulled my patella tendon which put me out for eight months and then hernia problem last August.

"It was just continuously me coming home injured, going back to Hull and getting injured again. That became frustrating but it's been a good learning curve."

Now back to full fitness, tomorrow's emergency loan deadline will pass without Lenihan leaving Hull as the Tigers chase an immediate top flight return. "I feel strong and was hoping that I would go out on loan," he explained. "Next season is the big one because it's the last year on my contract."

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