Injuries leave Byrne looking to put 2022 behind him

It has been a tough year on the injury front for Kilkelly’s Mark Byrne with injuries having effectively wiped out 2022 on him. He had a groin injury which blighted his start to the season with Sligo Rovers before a cruciate ligament injury brought to an end his season:

“I injured my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in my right leg about 12-13 weeks ago. It happened in training, I was running and just planted my leg and my knee went from underneath me. I was able to get up a couple of minutes later and continued on and didn’t think it was a big deal until I went for a MRI scan three weeks later and they told me that the ACL was completely gone. It was hard to take as it was coming at a time when I was starting to get back into full training. I had, had an issue with my groin which had been bothering me all season. I missed all of pre-season because of it and in the end had to get an injection. I was starting to get on top of that injury when the knee went; in fact I had been due to get another injection in my groin that week. It was a tough year on the injury front.”

Having had his surgery Byrne now is focused on his recovery programme and putting his injuries behind him so that he can get back playing:

“Yeah the recovery is going well. In 10 weeks I should be able to go back running and then I can get back into a better routine. At the moment I am in the gym every day but am limited in what I can do. I am aiming to be back playing by the middle of this year and to have my head in a better place as well. I feel as well that I have the groin injury under control but won’t know how much until I start running again. It should be pretty much cleared up as an issue. Then when the knee is sorted that should be the injuries all cleared.”

Having played for Rovers in the games against Icelandic side FH in 2021, Byrne was a spectator for the club’s European run this season but he still enjoyed the whole experience:

“Yeah look it was one of the best experiences that I have ever been involved in and I didn’t get to play in any of the games. I was nursing an injury at the time and wasn’t training. When Liam left, John Russell sat me down and said that he would help me to get the injury sorted out so that I could get back involved with the squad. The European games were an unbelievable experience some of the best that the club and fans have had in years. It was tough for me to not play as I had played in the games against FH in 2021 and played most of that season and then the lads who I had been playing with they all got to play in the games this year,. Look I know that’s football but it can be frustrating as I just want to play and do my best for the team.”

Byrne who is only 22 is under contract for next season and has targeted a return to playing in mid 2023 and wants to make sure that his mentally and physically ready to hit the ground:

“It is tough but the manager has been great with me and he and Ryan Casey sat me down and said that they want me to come back in a better place next season with all these injuries behind me. I am targeting the mid-season so will have been out for 7 or 8 months. I’ll take this time to get my head right and my injuries sorted and look to come back fitter and stronger and see where that takes me. I have to take the positives from this.”

By Keith O’ Dwyer