Kilcoyne putting shoulder to wheel in recovery drive
THEY also serve who only train and sit on the sidelines -- but for Aidan Kilcoyne the waiting game is nearly over.
The 23-year-old Knockmore player has endured a long winter of rehab following an operation on his broken shoulder.
A training accident in the autumn dumped him into the medical wards and it was doubly frustrating, as the injury was a re-occurrence of the problem suffered against Meath in the All-Ireland quarter-final defeat last summer.
Tomorrow's big game against Monaghan at McHale Park has come too early for Kilcoyne to be involved in Mayo's continued push for a place in the National League final, but at least the outlook is bright.
"I've been training with the team doing all the running and ball-work and that since January, so aerobically I'm fine," he said.
"Now it's just a question of match fitness. You won't know about that until you go back playing games, but I'd be happy with my fitness at the moment.
"I've probably never trained more and played less, though I should be fine when I get back."
Monday, April 12 is already circled on Kilcoyne's calendar. That's the day he is scheduled for what he hopes will be a final visit to his Dublin-based surgeon.
"It's nearly there now. I'm very confident I'll get the green light to go back playing football then," he said.
"It's a small bit of light at the end of the tunnel. It will be the guts of eight months since my last game, but hopefully that's the end of all my injury worries."
He will carry a permanent legacy of the bone break, in the form of a titanium plate inserted across the front of his collar bone.
Kilcoyne recognises that his recovery may have come too late to get a league game. The concluding fixture against Cork is on the weekend before his visit to the surgeon, so it's very unlikely he could take a risk at Pairc Ui Rinn.
Even if all goes well and Mayo reach the final, Kilcoyne can't get his hopes high.
"In realistic terms, if we were to qualify for a league final it would be very difficult for (manager) John (O'Mahony) to give me a game having not done anything for the year," he acknowledged.
"If we were to get to a final I'd be available to tog out and can't really say anything other than that.
"It's frustrating when you're there on the Thursday night before the league games and guys are flying and everyone's on about the game.
"You're trying to get involved in the chat, but at the back of your mind you're going 'damn I'm not going to be togging out'," he said.
No doubt Kilcoyne will be checking out the attendance and the number of advertising boards on view tomorrow, as part of his week's work involves selling season-tickets and advertising for McHale Park on behalf of the Mayo County Board.
"It's not an easy time to ask people to spend money, but there's a good product there, and the advertising signs have been going quite well. We're looking at 100,000 people going through McHale Park this year so there will be plenty of eyes on the signs.
"At least the team is giving the supporters something to shout about -- and I keep saying to the lads that every win makes my job a small bit easier," he quipped.
A big crowd is expected to see Mayo's third home game of the league campaign -- they opened by beating Galway, but lost to Dublin in round three.
On the road Mayo have made no mistakes, with hard-earned away wins in Tyrone, Derry and Kerry.
Now Monaghan come west with their tails up after last Sunday's victory over Derry.
Kilcoyne is aware of the threat the Farney men pose.
"Monaghan make you fight for every yard and every ball. When they get ball in hand themselves, they've some players well capable of playing good football as well, so they're no pushover by any means," he said.
"It's going to be a tough game but all the lads are aware of that.
"They'll be prepared spot-on for the game, so I'm sure it will be a good battle and hopefully we'll come out on the right side of it."