That was the scenario faced by Bandon native Mike Cahalane three years ago, as a heart problem seemed to have signalled the premature end to a wonderfully talented playing career.
Bandon suffered in his absence but, backed by his parents Paddy – a hurling selector with the club – and Jo, hope was never abandoned.
His first game back was a county intermediate hurling league Division 2 clash with Carrigaline on July 29 of last year. Having been named as a sub, he was introduced just before half-time when Tom O’Donoghue suffered an injury.
If Kieran Kingston and his selectors were looking for him to be an impact sub, they couldn’t have hoped for better as his first touch in championship hurling was the crucial goal to open up a four-point lead, the margin by which Cork eventually won.
“He’s only back hurling with us the last six months but he’s away ahead of his curve in terms of his recovery. It was great to see him get on the end of that.”