One of the few positives Dundalk could take from Friday night’s draw with Waterford FC was the return to action of Sean Murray.
The midfielder hadn’t played at all since last November’s FAI Cup final defeat against Shamrock Rovers but was thrown into the action after just 27 minutes following an injury to John Mountney.
Thankfully, he came through his comeback unscathed and even popped up with the assists for Patrick Hoban and Daniel Cleary’s goals which helped Dundalk to what looked like the most unlikely of draws minutes earlier.
Murray’s return could be just the tonic Dundalk need to liven things up in midfield ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with NK Celje in Hungary and Murray told The Argus afterwards that he is feeling good ahead of the game.
“I think it was the Cup final that was my last competitive game so it has been a long road to here but hopefully we’re over the edge of the hill now and I can push on. I’m delighted about that.
“It’s taken a while but I feel like we’re getting there now.”
It was a hip injury that led to Murray being sidelined for so long but he is hopeful that the issue is now behind him.
“We felt we could get over it without going down the medical rate. Obviously lockdown came and gave me a chance to rest but when I came back then it was still playing up.
“I got an injection in it and that seems to have done the job for now. I’m just happy to be back on the pitch. Obviously it’s a shame that the performance wasn’t the best today but on a personal note I felt I did okay.
“Nine months out, normally you’d say that’s a ligament or ACL injury. It can be mentally tough but we’ve got good physios and staff here.
“I’ve only really been training a couple of days but the fact I can get that many minutes in is down the staff here because they’ve got me to this point.
“I just wanted to give a boost to the side when I came on. Obviously it was tough on Mounts getting injured. That meant I came in earlier than I expected but I’m just happy to have made an impact and to have lasted for more than an hour.”
Murray doesn’t know if he did enough to warrant a place in the side for Wednesday but said he is ready to play a part if called upon.
“There are tough decisions to be made but I think I’ve given myself a good enough chance to make the squad and if I don’t start I’d be hoping to have an impact off the bench.
“The fightback at the end will hopefully stand to us. I think we just need to get back to basics, do the simple things well and work hard. We need to get together as a team. It’s one game so you never know what can happen. We just need to give it everything now.
“For some of us these are the biggest games of our careers so we can’t take that lightly, we just need to go out there and give it everything,” said the 26-year-old.