Abbie Magee has revealed how her battle through the darkest moments of rehab from a cruciate ligament injury was fuelled by the prospect of playing at the Women’s Euro 2022 finals.
On the eve of Northern Ireland playing in their first major women’s tournament, the 21-year-old is relishing the prospect of facing Norway’s world-class stars at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton after fearing that injury may rob her of the opportunity of a lifetime.
While the timing of the injury in March last year couldn’t have been any worse after she had shone in her first two appearances at senior international level, Magee’s return 12 months later has come at the perfect moment as she stands on the brink of the finals.
After starting each of the last three games, she is very much in the frame to be given the nod to face the Norwegians and put her injury nightmare firmly in the past.
“When I got injured it happened just before we beat Ukraine to qualify for the Euros and having done it at that particular time, the qualification was a real motivation to get back for the tournament,” said Magee.
“That is what I had my goal set on. Even if I was having a down day, I always thought, ‘If I can get back here, I can get to a major tournament’.
“With a long-term injury you don’t know how long it will take. They say nine to 12 months, but you don’t know if it will be longer or there might be complications.
“Thankfully I played my first game at nine months. It was hard when I was doing the same thing, running up and down the pitch while my team-mates were training and it felt like I was missing out, but having this was a real big motivation for me.”
All 23 of Kenny Shiels’ players took full part in their first training session in Southampton yesterday. Captain Marissa Callaghan is looking ready to press for selection, as is minor injury concern Rebecca McKenna, who will now battle Magee for the right-back slot.