DUBLIN GAA star Johnny Cooper is back in action with the county team almost four months after suffering serious injures in a knife attack.
On September 20 last year, the 24-year-old footballer was rushed to the Mater Hospital and required stitches following a stabbing in the early hours of the morning at Dorset Street Upper, in Dublin 7.
The defender missed a number of club games with Na Fianna following the incident. Prior to yesterday, he did not start in either of the two games in the O'Byrne Cup this month.
But Cooper came on as a sub yesterday in Portarlington to help the Dubs to a slender 1-12 to 1-11 win over Laois.
Chief executive of the Dublin county board John Costello hailed the return of Cooper and said that he was delighted he could play.
"Obviously we're all delighted to have him back, he's a valuable member of our squad and it's great that he could play," he said.
Mr Costello said that Cooper had returned for training on December 8 but that the incident happened during the off season, meaning that, luckily, Cooper didn't miss much action in the blue jersey.
After the attack, Cooper issued a statement thanking everyone who had supported him.
"My family and I would like to thank everyone for the enormous support that I have received.
"The support has come from everywhere and has been incredibly humbling and helpful to me," he said.
"To all the professional personnel that helped and took care of me on the night and since the event - thank you," he said.
The player also said that he wished to make no further comment about the attack.
Mark Lavelle, originally from Bollingbrook, Swinford in Co Mayo but with an address on Basin Street, Dublin 8, has been charged with assault causing harm to the footballer.
In November, a court heard how Cooper was asleep and defenceless as he was repeatedly stabbed in the face and neck in a knife attack.
A bail hearing was told that Mr Lavelle intended to contest the charge.
The case is ongoing.