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Conor McManus aiming to make impact with Monaghan

By John Campbell

Not many people welcome the prospect of being sent to Coventry.

But one of Ulster's top footballers regrets the fact that he was not despatched to that particular destination sooner rather than later.

Conor McManus, the ace in the Monaghan pack when the Ulster title was annexed in such glorious fashion last summer, has been struggling with a hip problem for some months now.

And when it was suggested that he should be sent to Coventry as almost a last resort in his bid to recover from the problem, he thought that someone was having a laugh at his expense.

Yet the visit of McManus to Professor Damien Griffin in that city signalled a renaissance in his playing career.

The Farney county sharpshooter had resigned himself to either spending several months on the sideline or alternatively going under the surgeon's knife.

But as it transpired, neither course of action was deemed appropriate. Instead, McManus was provided with a demanding rehabilitation programme.

And his commitment and self-sacrifice brought an initial reward on Sunday when he scored two points for Monaghan against Down after having been summoned from the bench by manager Malachy O'Rourke.

Now more game time and a sustained bid to reach Division One top McManus's shopping list.

"It's not about me, it's about the team," declares the former UUJ student. "While it was great to get promotion and then win the Ulster title last year, we don't want to be slipping back down. You go out to win every game and that is what we want to do. We'll see where that takes us."

He is hoping to step up his involvement with the side as the league season progresses.

"There is an injury there and it's a question of managing it," explains McManus. "It's going well, though, but it's very much baby steps at this stage. I opted against an operation and since then it has been a case of so far, so good.

"He told me that the way in which my hip is functioning at the minute is fine but that it will probably require surgery sometime."

"He feels there is no point in having it now, though, when I can rehab my way out of it."

Monaghan face in-form Meath on Sunday in a match that could provide a pointer as to how the promotion race from Division Two might unfold.

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