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Derek ready to return to airwaves after back op

RADIO One star Derek Mooney is due to return to the airwaves on Monday afternoon after undergoing surgery on his back.

The Herald can reveal how the Mooney Goes Wild presenter's Montrose pals have been rallying around him for the past fortnight, while he has been laid up in bed recovering from a procedure on a herniated disc.

Fellow RTE star Shay Byrne has been standing in for Derek, joining regular contributors Brenda Donoghue, Eanna Ni Lamhna and Richard Collins on the programme each day.

Derek is said to have been away on holidays when he first began experiencing excruciating pain in his lower back.

Former You're A Star contestant Brian Ormond was drafted in to replace him for two weeks on the National Lottery's summer gameshow, The Big Money Game, at the time.

Brian is said to be among those who has sent well wishes to the star, urging him to make a speedy recovery.

Other presenters who have been in touch to show their support include Joe Duffy and Ryan Tubridy.

Former star of RTE's afternoon schedule Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh, meanwhile, took time out of her schedule to visit Derek in hospital.

The mum of four, who suffered from ill health in 2008 due to a twisted bowel, explained how going to the medical ward to see her colleague brought back memories of her own tough time.

She said: "I just hate going near a hospital nowadays because it brings it all back for me.

"Even going in to visit Derek Mooney for a few minutes was a big deal. You're immediately hit with the smell of hospital and it just sends shivers down my spine.

"Thankfully he's okay now and on the road to recovery. It was just a minor procedure on his back."

A spokesperson for RTE radio meanwhile confirmed that Derek is recuperating well.

He is due to take off for New York next month, when the National Lottery takes a number of Big Money Game contestants on an all expenses paid holiday.