FORGOTTEN man Eamon O’Carroll is poised to be thrust back into the Super League spotlight this Friday night – more than 15 months after his last senior match.
The prop has recovered from a career-threatening sternum injury and is in the frame to make his comeback in front of the glare of the Sky Sports cameras, when Bradford Bulls visit the DW Stadium.
Coach Michael Maguire confirmed the 24-year-old is in the mix, as he looks to rest “two or three” of his senior players ahead of their Challenge Cup Final date at Wembley the following week.
O’Carroll has impressed for the Under-20s for the past four weeks and is desperate to put his promising career back on track when he plays his first match since May, 2010.
Maguire said: “Eamon is like a little hound dog, he’s ready to go.
“It’s a credit to him that he’s managed to get back to where he is at the moment.
“He’s really put the hours in – he’s here at training at 6am and he’s only walking out of here at six or seven at night, and he’s not stopped once during the day.
“He’s worked extremely hard and he’s performed very well in the U20s, and hopefully we’ll see a fair bit of him over the next few weeks.”
Yesterday marked exactly 15 months since O’Carroll’s last first-team game.
He suffered a groin/sternum injury and after an attempted return in the second-string last August was aborted after just a few minutes, he faced an anxious spell on the sidelines attempting to get fit.
His comeback bid was hampered by an exhausting search for a surgeon capable of carrying out an operation that would allow him to play on and add to the 61 appearances he has amassed since debuting back in 2006.
Maguire, who names his 19-man squad for the Bulls clash later today, admits there were spells when it appeared the compact front-rower would have to hang up his boots.
He said: “I’m not sure people realise just what Eamon was facing. There was a time there when it was looking like his career could be over. Eamon thought it might all be over, just because of the unique nature of the injury. He’d ripped the lining of the cage around the hip, and no-one had seen an injury like that before.
“The doctors and physios were looking around the world for a surgeon who could sort it out, and thankfully, we eventually found one.
“Now Eamon has come out the other end and it’s great to see, because he’s a great character and it’s great to have him here.”