By Shaun Casey
ARMAGH defender James Morgan is targeting a return to the football field in January after an injury-plagued season. The Crossmaglen man missed the Orchard County’s league campaign but returned for the Ulster Championship.
While Morgan did line out on Ulster final day, an injury picked up against Westmeath in the first round of the round-robin series ended his season.
“My aim is to be back in January,” said the combative man-marker. “That’s on my Christmas list this year that Cross are still playing football in January, and I’ll hopefully be involved then.
“I tore the plantar fasciitis, so I got three injections into it and I’m hoping it settles down.
“I hurt my hip as well and had a second hip operation there so I’m five weeks post-op and I had reconstruction surgery on my right wrist which I hurt in a tackle.
“They’re all kind of running in together which is good in a way that I can get them all tied up and rehabbed simultaneously rather than getting back and sustaining another one, at least I have all the injuries at the one time.”
Morgan had to sit and watch as his club side Crossmaglen claimed another county title, overcoming Clan na Gael by 12 points, and while it wasn’t the same as doing battle on the field of play, it the 31-year-old a new appreciation for what it means.
“I’ve just started my rehab, so I have a bit of a road in front of me but I’m in a better position now because I’m out of the house and I’m driving and I’m a lot more mobile.
“In recent weeks I haven’t been heavily involved with the boys or going to a whole pile of training sessions but now that I’m back driving a wee bit more, I’m more part of it now because I’m there with the boys.
“I was in the dressing room with them on Sunday and celebrated with them. It’s important to stay involved so now I can do that it’s not so bad,” added the 2009 All-Ireland winning minor.
“That’s the 10th title I have now, three of the campaigns I wasn’t involved in, I was injured. It is difficult watching them but one thing I understand now that I didn’t when I was maybe younger is that the players on the pitch are doing it for a lot more than themselves.
“I’m sitting with the boys, whether I’m in the dugout or the crowd, I still feel part of it because it’s your club and it’s your community.
“I think a lot of clubs say the same, you’re doing this for your friends, your family, for everyone and I think when you step away or you get injured for a while you can understand what they mean by that.
“Seeing Rian (O’Neill) kick a big score or Rico (Kelly) driving out with the ball, you can feel that a wee bit when it’s the people you grew up with it.”