Friday 13 December 2019

'Comeback kid' Conway aims to make No. 6 jersey his own

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Michael Conway is determined to make up for lost time in a Kildare shirt as he strives to stake a claim to become his county's long-term centre-back.

Conway has been operating in the No 6 shirt during this O'Byrne Cup campaign – which takes Kildare to Parnell Park for tomorrow's final against Dublin – in a throw-back to his earlier days as a half-back with the county.

It's a game that Conway acknowledges won't be "the end of the world" if they don't win. But for the 26-year-old, it's another step beyond a sequence of knee injuries that threatened to derail his career.

He originally tore his left cruciate in 2006 and missed a season, before tearing the right cruciate in 2009.

That put him out of competitive football for almost two years, with the complications of a troubled patella tendon bringing him to the clinic of renowned Swedish surgeon Hakan Alfredson in 2011 for an operation.

"I originally met him in London. For six or seven months, it wasn't getting any better. It wasn't coming right," he reflected. "It was pretty bad but he gave me the possibility that he would get it fixed."

It took him to the end of the 2011 season to start feeling right again and with 2012 behind him, he can look forward with more confidence.

"This is the first uninterrupted run I've been on for a long time and I think I can benefit from it," he said.

Meanwhile, Kerry can call on seven of the team that started last year's All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Donegal for their McGrath Cup final against Tipperary tomorrow.

Marc and Tomas O Se, Brendan Kealy, Shane Enright, Aidan O'Mahony, Anthony Maher and Bryan Sheehan all start. Darran O'Sullivan and Patrick Curtin, who came on in that game, have also been included.

Kerry (SF v Tipperary) – B Kealy; M O Se, A O'Mahony, S Enright; J Lyne, J Sherwood, T O Se; A Maher, B Sheehan; M Geaney, Darran O'Sullivan, M O'Donoghue; B J Keane, P Curtin, M Geaney.

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