Conor McCarthy hopeful of a quick return with Barnsley after knee op

Former Cork City defender suffered a cruciate injury at the start of the season
Conor McCarthy hopeful of a quick return with Barnsley after knee op

Conor McCarthy playing for Cork City Pic: Doug Minihane.

AFTER rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament at the end of September, Blarney native Conor McCarthy is on the mend and hopeful that he can get some minutes on the pitch before the end of the season.

McCarthy, who joined Barnsely in the summer, endured a frustrating few weeks following surgery but the former Cork City player is positive about the progression he is now making.

“The injury is OK. At the start I couldn’t get any real movement but now, I’m up and I’m functioning so it is getting there. For the first couple of days after the surgery, I couldn’t really do anything. I was just sitting on the couch. I was in that much pain.

“When the injury occurred in the game, I actually played on for 20 minutes afterwards.

“So it didn’t present as an ACL injury, in terms of there was no swelling on the knee. They could still feel that my ACL was intact. When I came in the day after the game, the medical department sent me for a scan just to be sure, and the results came up that I had ruptured my ACL.

“I got a few days off after the results, just to process the injury. In fairness to the club, they have been unbelievable with understanding how tough long-term injuries can be on a person.

“I came back home for a few days and then went over to Portugal. I was fine over there. I was walking around and swimming. So it was a bit strange being able to do that having ruptured my ACL. Once I came back from the trip to Portugal, I had the surgery then.

“So from injury to surgery it was around 10 days.

When the injury happened, it was just like a dull pain in my leg, a bit like a dead leg really. I just thought it was a contact injury, and nothing more than that.

“However, when players normally sustain an ACL injury, they normally do something with it like their meniscus, and that is where the pain comes from, and they can’t continue anymore. Mine was a clean rupture. So It was just a tear of the ACL and no other damage. In terms of recovery, it hopefully will be much quicker than anticipated.

“Regarding rehab; you have to have patience with an ACL injury. For the first couple of weeks, it was just about trying to get my knee straight.

“It was as simple as putting a pillow under my foot and trying to keep my foot in the air. So I was sleeping with my foot in the air as well.

“The next step was about getting my quads and hamstrings firing again because I think you lose five percent of your muscle every day if you’re not active.

“So I could nearly pick up my skin because my muscle had deteriorated that much.

Peter Connolly, chairman with Conor McCarthy, guest at the Cork Schoolboys League awards last season at The Address. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Peter Connolly, chairman with Conor McCarthy, guest at the Cork Schoolboys League awards last season at The Address. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“I’ve recently been starting to do squats, and a bit of weights. Also I’ve been doing bike work, which was a big milestone, and walking on the anti-gravity treadmill. So I’ve been doing loads. It’s not one of those injuries where you are doing the same thing every day.

“Once you get your strength back, things progress really quickly, so it’s new programmes all of the time.

“I’m probably fortunate in terms of it being a straight tear that means I might get back sooner than planned.


“Of course, I would love to play a part before the end of the season, but I can understand from the club’s perspective that they might want to wait until next season before reintroducing me as it gives the injury greater time to heal, and less likely for me to pick up a different injury as well. 

"Because you do see it sometimes when players come back from a long-term injury they end up getting a different injury, because they have been focusing on one area for so long that they forget about maintaining the strength in the other muscles.”

Despite recently moving into his new apartment. McCarthy will be spending Christmas back in Cork this year, before returning to Portugal again in January.

“I’m living in Leeds at the moment, which is only about a 25-minute drive from the training ground.

“I will be at home over Christmas for a week. Then after that, the club recommended to me to go back to Portugal to spend more time doing my rehab just to have a chance of scenery.”

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