Friday 15 February 2019

Ireland star Campbell sees light at end of tunnel after tough year

February return: Megan Campbell hopes to be back in action for Manchester City and Ireland next month. Photo: Sportsfile
February return: Megan Campbell hopes to be back in action for Manchester City and Ireland next month. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Ireland international Megan Campbell has spoken of her relief at a new contract offer from Manchester City that provided light at the end of the tunnel after a challenging period in her life.

The highly regarded 25-year-old suffered a complicated knee injury in November of 2017 and has only returned to training this week.

Her setback meant she was absent from the excitement of Ireland's attention-grabbing attempts to reach the Women's World Cup - Colin Bell's team eventually fell short of that target but made an impression with the public along the way.

More pertinently, Campbell's lay-off also coincided with an extremely emotional time as her grandfather Eamonn Campbell - he of Dubliners fame - and her grandmother both passed away during this testing period.

"Mentally, I think it took more out of me than it did physically," said the Drogheda woman. "Because it wasn't just football that was involved or not being able to play.

"I lost my grandad in October, got injured in November and then in April I lost my nana. So it wasn't the easiest year and a bit to go through. You learn a lot about yourself as a person.

"To have the support of family and that around you is great. You feel like you're putting a burden on them because they're going a lot and you're going through something separate.

"Being away from them was tough at times but I had to put my head down."

Campbell's contract was due to expire at the end of this month but City made good on the promise of a new one that will extend until the conclusion of this season and she is targeting a February return for an FA Cup tie with Watford.

Bell has also been in touch about a training camp in Marbella at the end of next month which entails a couple of friendlies with Wales.

Her longer-term goal now is the start of Euro 2021 qualifiers in August, with the finals in England so the motivation is obvious. There is a determination to build on the buzz from last year.

"We got bigger attendances, more young girls and boys were coming to the games with their families. It's like a proper community vibe when you come to the Irish women's games," said the Spar ambassador.

Irish Independent

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