IT'S been a frustrating season for Cork City player Rob Slevin.
The defender has missed the entire campaign for his club after suffering an injury in preseason. Slevin has undergone surgery for the slipped disc in his back and hopes to be back in time for the beginning of next season.
“It’s been a really difficult time. We played Pat's and before the game, I did have a slight pain in my hamstring but I thought it was just a bit of tightness.
"It was strange hearing afterward that I had slipped a disc in my back because all of my pain was in my hamstring," Slevin said. "At the time, I was expecting to be out for around 12 weeks. I started to resume training but it just didn’t feel right.
"So, I tried to manage it over another 12 weeks by taking injections to see if that would help, but eventually, I had to get surgery.
"I had the surgery six weeks ago, and everything is going to plan and hopefully, I will be back on the pitch in January.
"At the moment, I’m doing my rehab at home. There’s not much I could do differently if I went into the training ground, and it’s better to do my rehab at home because of comfort."
Manager Colin Healy has offered great support.
"Even though the training ground it’s that far, it’s better for me to be resting at home rather than having to travel. I still speak to Healers all of the time and I’m in constant communication with the physios about what rehab is best for me.
“It’s obviously been tough being injured but it’s something I have to accept.
"Of course, it’s difficult seeing lads going out training every day while I’m stuck in the physio room or the gym but it’s good in terms of still being involved with the team, and with football; there are always one or two players carrying a knock so they have kept me company.
“It's only after the surgery that I’ve been doing my rehab at home.
"Throughout the season, I’ve been in every day with the lads. On matchdays, I go in, do my work and go to the games later that evening, except for away games because of Covid restrictions.
"Luckily the games are on so I’ve been watching them, although the quality of camera at some of the games makes it more difficult than others to get a clear picture of games.”
It’s nearly two-and-a-half years since Slevin began his League of Ireland career.
The defender joined Waterford in the summer of 2019 from UCC, but it’s been a stop-start journey for the 23-year-old. Slevin, who has graduated with a degree in commerce in UCC, hadn’t thought about full-time football as an option in his earlier days but is determined to get his career back on track.
“I never really thought about a plan in football growing up. For me; I always believe that you end up where you are meant to be.
"UCC was excellent for me. It gave me an opportunity in education as well as sport.
"I’ve just qualified from UCC with a degree in commerce and my intention will be to further my education by doing a Masters in the future.
"I was surprised when I got the call from Rennie [Alan Reynolds, who was Waterford manager in 2019]. Joe Gamble was involved with Waterford then and he obviously spoke to me about joining City last season.
"With Covid disrupting the league last year, I’ve never really been able to get any momentum since starting in the League of Ireland and was determined to change that this year but the injury has prevented that.
“I was really excited about this season. I looked after myself in the off-season and thought I came back in good shape.
"The previous year was not a good year for everyone at the club and I really wanted to make amends this year but unfortunately, the injury prevented me from doing so.
“Of course, I’m a little bit worried about how this injury will affect me when I’m back, but luckily, I’m young enough that I should be able to get back to the level I was at before the injury, and continue on improving my game when I return.”