McManus learning to manage his hip injury
It was deemed a sign of Monaghan's dumb luck that just as they unearthed a suitable support act for Conor McManus, their talisman got injured.
In each of the recent seasons the Farney County have failed to push on from their Ulster-challenging, Division 1-surviving seasons in Croke Park, it has been solemnly noted that another scorer of the class of McManus was the missing element.
This spring, Jack McCarron shot 3-29 in Monaghan's seven league games, finishing below only Dean Rock in the Division 1 top-scorers list.
Yet McManus lacked the thrust of old as a nagging and potentially debilitating hip injury took a more visible toll.
"I struggled with it in the league to try and keep the hip right and I just wasn't happy with it," he explains now.
"But a few tweaks to the rehab have made big difference. It feels good, the summer is when you want to be feeling your best and thankfully touch wood it's coming together nicely."
The first time McManus detected any problem was during the 2010 Monaghan county final.
"I had pains in my hips and when I was twisting and turning the power was going in my leg," he recalls.
And surgery in 2011 wasn't the fix-all solution McManus had hoped.
"It really only starts at that stage because it's the rehab that fixes you rather than the surgery.
"Once you know that and knowing the hip and how it works and its mechanics. I know as much now, well I think I do, about hips as anybody could tell you. The fact that I have it now five, six, seven or eight years you know how to deal with it a bit better."
Asked whether he is on the clock in relation to how long his now 11 year-long inter-county career will last under such circumstances, the 29-year-old is admirably honest.
"Pretty much. It's how you manage it and there is quite a bit of rehab to do on it and once you do the rehab and you see results on it.
"There was times I was doing it and maybe through my own fault I wasn't doing it the right way but once you see that it's working mentally more than anything it can be good because when you are doing the rehab and you are not getting the results from it it can test you mentally.
"But once the results come you are happy enough. It's just a case of managing it and that's basically what I am doing - managing it as best I can.
"There are times when you have to step back from an odd session and do a bit of rehab on it," McManus adds, "but Malachy (O'Rourke) and the boys are on the one page with me on that."