THE boy is back in town. Or in this instance back on the field. It’s great to see Mikey Conway back and there’s very few out there that would argue with that sentiment.
The last time he played competitive action was way back in July of 2009, just shy of two years ago and although his come back game was for the Kildare juniors last Wednesday, the Nurney man looked as good as ever.
Before his cruciate ligament injury Conway was making waves in his new role as a wing back and he was rightly regarded as one of the best kick passers in the county and on the evidence of last Wednesday’s performance he hasn’t lost it. Not at all.
Of course the question now on everyone’s lips is will Conway start or at least making an appearance against Meath on Sunday. We’ll have to wait and see but perhaps it wouldn’t be wise rushing him in to the heat of championship action so quickly but the man is just glad to be back playing football any grade of football.
“It’s a long time coming at this stage!” Conway told reporters after the juniors’ win over Louth last Wednesday.
“It’s good to get a game behind me. I’ve been playing a few games in training and that but it’s good to get a full game to see how the knee reacts and it seems to be alright now at the moment,” he added.
He might not have played or trained fully in almost two years but Conway was always around. Always at games, in the dugout supporting his team mates. What the public didn’t see was the endless days and nights in the gym, the rehab work and now, finally, it looks to have been worth it all.
“I’ve done endless nights in the gym at this stage with Julie (Davis) Kildare’s strength and conditioning coach, and we’ve strengthened it (the knee) up great. I’ve been doing all the rehab work and from that side the knee is strong enough to be able to play and from the mental side of things I have gone through it before so it’s not so bad. It seems to be very strong at the moment so I am happy enough. It’s great to be back and it’s great to finally have a game under my belt,” admitted the Nurney club man.
It wasn’t an easy road to recovery however, far from it. Conway wanted desperately to be playing, wanted to be back but if there’s something Mikey Conway has in abundance it’s patience.
“It’s hard and it was hard when the boys were playing matches. I’d have to go to the gym the morning of the match and do the rehab stuff but that’s part and parcel of it. You get injuries and there’s only one way of getting back and that’s going to the gym, doing the rehab stuff and doing things properly. The medical staff, Noel (Mallon, physio), Dave (Lyons, physio) and Danny (Mulvihill, doctor) and especially Julie have been fantastic. The work that they have put in has been colossal and they made my job a lot easier,” he said.
“I never once thought of giving in. I did get frustrated and when the big matches came in Croke Park it was worse looking at them and going to matches. I might have been better off not going to the matches but that’s the way it is. In football you get injuries and I got injuries before and you know what to expect from it but I’m getting back in to it now so hopefully the hard days are over,” added Mikey.
He’s raring to go, would love to get in to the thick of the championship action and his plan now is to keep the head down and work towards that.
Kildare’s half back line at present is strong. Gary White, Morgan O’Flaherty and Emmet Bolton appear to be first choice. Of course Brian Flanagan will also be vying for a starting place. Competition is fierce and Conway knows it.
“I’m in Kieran’s (McGeeney’s) ear the whole time!” he joked. “There’s serious competition. There’s the four lads you mentioned plus about four others as well. The same applies to the half forwards. Competition is great for the lads and I’m just another player. I’ll just keep bursting on and working hard and see where it takes me.
“I’m training with the seniors and all I can do now is see what happens. I will train away for the next week and a half and see what happens, what the Meath match brings and see after that.
“Everyone is gunning for a starting place and I’ll just train away and I hope I get some part of the game. There’s 32 or 33 lads in there now at the moment so I’ll just have to wait and see. I know I can’t rush back in to it. They (management) have been holding me back the last while when I wanted to go but they have more experience than I have with cases like this,” he remarked.
Conway wasn’t involved when Kildare sent the Royals packing at the All Ireland quarter final stage last year but he is full sure the Lilies’ won’t have it as easy this time round despite Meath’s current problems.
“Meath are always a danger. Look whatever problems they are having are not going to matter too much in Croke Park when it’s 15 against 15. Meath are a great side and they are going to put everything up to us, as much as we’re going to give to them so it will be good game and their problems won’t be reflected in the game,” he explained.