When Tyrone skipper Mattie Donnelly crumpled in a heap while assisting Trillick in their Ulster Club Championship tie against Derrygonnelly Harps last November, his playing career appeared to be in jeopardy.
Such was the serious nature of the knee tendon injury he sustained that the prospects of a comeback appeared remote, yet when Trillick confronted Clonoe in their opening game in Division One of the All-County League last month, the intrepid Donnelly was right there in the thick of the action.
And when Trillick go head to head with great rivals St Mary's, Killyclogher in the first of the Tyrone club championship quarter-finals at Healy Park, Omagh tonight, Donnelly will again be in the vanguard of their challenge.
If club commitments dominate his itinerary for now, then Tyrone's two hugely important Allianz League and Ulster Championship ties against Donegal in October are also very much on his radar.
The fact that tonight's match is to be televised live by TG4 has lent an extra level of status to a game which many Red Hand county followers believe could provide a significant pointer to the identity to this year's club champions.
But the seasoned Donnelly, thoroughly grounded and a man who believes in calling a spade a shovel, prefers to embrace the caution, which has become his byword since first winning his county colours.
"When you look at it, any one of several teams could win this Tyrone title," he observes.
"You take into consideration the likes of ourselves, Killyclogher, Dromore, Coalisland and Errigal Ciaran - all these sides have had their hands on the trophy over the course of recent seasons and they will be extremely keen to get it into their keep again."
Even though the huge incentive of participation in the Ulster club championship is no longer on the horizon - the competition has been shelved because of the truncated playing season occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic - Donnelly remains adamant that his county's domestic championship can build to a tremendous climax.
"I know there may be limited crowds but this will not take away from the competitiveness and passion out there on the field," insists busy accountant Donnelly.
"Teams will feel they have a big point to make, and the fact that the race is wide open adds to the overall appeal of the championship, I think."
The intensity of their club series will undoubtedly prove the ideal build-up to Tyrone's quest for honours later in the year. It's on the weekend of October 17/18 that Mickey Harte's side will initially go head-to-head with Declan Bonner's Donegal in the league before they lock horns again in the Ulster Championship on the weekend of October 31/November 1.
These are two games that could arguably define 2020 for the Red Hands - a fact of which Donnelly is only too well aware.
Tyrone are tucked in behind Galway and Kerry in joint third place in the Division One league table along with Dublin, while they will also be presented with the opportunity of removing Donegal from their Ulster throne even before the provincial championship has moved into top gear.
"Obviously inter-county football at the latter end of the year will be a novel experience for all of us but it's a challenge that we will relish," points out Donnelly.
"The hope at this stage is that the schedule as it is mapped out will be completed, but we will have to take things one week at a time. There's no doubt the Ulster Championship in particular still carries great status, and naturally we would love to earn our passage into the closing stages of the All-Ireland Championship."
The other Tyrone club championship quarter-finals over the weekend will see an attractive double header on Sunday, with Dungannon Clarkes taking on Ardboe and Errigal Ciaran confronting Dromore.
Dungannon have been setting a hot pace in the league and will not be perturbed by having to face an Ardboe side that can look to Declan Muldrew, Kyle Coney and Michael Cassidy for inspiration, while their opponents can look to Padraig McNulty, Paul Donaghy, Ciaran Barker and Keifer Morgan to spark their challenge.
The Clarkes have certainly created an impact since the league started last month and will be keen to replicate this form in the championship, although Ardboe will bring a considerable hunger to the table as they have been out of the limelight for some time.
The meeting of Errigal Ciaran and Dromore at Carrickmore promises to be a cracking tie between two well-matched sides.
They are no strangers to title success and will be bidding to add to their honours list this time round.
Errigal Ciaran have progressed steadily under Johnny McBride's baton and in Peter Harte, Ben McDonnell and Aidan MacCrory, they have players who can set the tone for their performance, although they will be without scoring ace Darragh Canavan once again as he is recovering from a fractured wrist.
Dromore will have Martin Sludden at the core of operations and have been showing the kind of form lately that suggests they will prove a difficult side to remove.