"You just have to keep going and keep persevering" - How Cathal McShane overcame his injures to become an All-Ireland champion
"There definitely was tough times, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't."
Cathal McShane is currently an All-Ireland winner, Ulster championship winner and All-Star nominee, a truly incredible haul after an incredible season.
The Tyrone forward was vital to the Red Hand's success this year, particularly in the All-Ireland semi and final, where he scored a goal in each games respectively.
Due to injuries however, McShane had to miss the entire league campaign, meaning that he had to find his form and fitness right in the thick of the championship.
This meant that he had to adjust his role to be more of an impact sub, coming off the bench in key moments to try and finish the game strong for his county, and grab scores when they are needed most.
The Owen Roes club man executed this roe perfectly, but during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the cold nights of winter, McShane wondered if he would even be fit to play football this year.
"There definitely was tough times, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't. There was many dark days over lockdown being in the gym yourself doing rehab, it mightn't have been going well that particular day," McShane said.
"The next thing then is you start questioning 'Am I ever going to get back?' so it's not a nice place to be. But I'd good support around me, my friends and family and my girlfriend Kaitlynn, she was there as well and helped me in many different ways.
"You're just always trying to be positive and I did visualise myself getting back and being in Croke Park and scoring and doing good things for the team and I was happy then that that did become a factor, it did happen and we got the win.
"Definitely dark and frustrating days, but you just have to keep going and keep persevering, never give up and I'm proud to say that I did that. I definitely did just visualise myself getting back, getting fit and doing good things."
After an incredible run in 2019 which saw the full forward secure himself an All-Star, McShane was receiving several lucrative offers to play in the prestige AFL league, in Australia.
It looked for certain at one point that Tyrone would have to be without their talisman, but the sharp shooter opted to stay at home, and continue his pursuit for an All-Ireland title.
"I wouldn't like to describe how I'd feel if I was in Australia when we won the All-Ireland, it would have been a disaster. People have asked me the question 'Why did you stay at home? Why did you not go?'" he said.
"And quite simply that's the answer. My dream was always to win a Sam Maguire with Tyrone and that’s what we have done, we have achieved it. I came to the right decision, it feels like a success.
"The dream was to win Sam and we’ve managed to do that with Tyrone and we’re delighted."