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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Rejuvenated Treacy is really raring to be let off the Laois

FOR a man of his relative youth, David Treacy has endured a couple of lengthy careers worth of injury.

Now, he feels, he has put the worst of it behind him -- yet the last blow, when he was struck down only a couple of days short of Dublin's All-Ireland semi-final bout with Tipperary, still lingers longest and most painful in the memory.

It was Dublin's final internal challenge match and, by his own admission, Treacy was "getting a roasting" from Martin Quilty.

The Cuala sharpshooter had spent all year recovering -- first from the cruciate injury he sustained the previous summer and then from the recurrence of a hamstring tear which saw him substituted after coming on against Galway -- but, at that point, had been earmarked for a wing-forward role against the then All-Ireland champions.

"I was going for this ball and I think we must have been wrecked from a week of training," he recalls. "I went for a ball and I felt a shot up my leg and I just broke down. It was the very last training match before the Tipp game. It was the last thing we were going to do. I remember it so vividly."

At 22, Treacy had spent more of his senior inter-county life on the treatment table than he had terrorising opposition defences, as his early forays into seniordom had suggested he might.

"Sometimes you're thinking, 'Jesus, will I ever get back to where I need to be again'. But as soon as you start thinking like that, you're gone. So you start to look forward and that's what I tried to do every time it happened."

By the time the league rolled around again this year, he had a substantial body of rehab work done. The hamstring had healed correctly and physically he looked a more robust specimen to the figure he cut when he announced his arrival in 2009.

Whether the speed and accuracy remained was open to question. Until, that is, Dublin's Croke Park clash with Tipperary in the league early this year.

A half-time introduction, Treacy hit 1-2 with his first three possessions, a timely reminder of what he and his game is all about.

"It was a good feeling," he says now. "The amount of time and effort that was put in to try and get me back, I had it in my head that that was to pay them back.

"But the first thing I thought after that was, 'I'm wrecked'. It had been a long time. I was shattered. Hopefully, it was a small sign of things to come."

AGGRESSIVE

Now, he is right back in Daly's plans. A natural score-taker by trade, he hasn't lost sight of the need to improve and adapt as the need dictates.

"I would always feel I need to be more aggressive in the air," Treacy admits. "I have gotten a bit better.

"In terms of pace, I haven't lost a step but I mightn't be as quick off the mark as I was. But I've gained in strength."

And while tomorrow, Dublin begin their summer account against Laois -- a match Treacy refuses to look beyond -- he is adamant that the internal ambition of the group is fully justified.

"I always maintain that the hardest match of the year is your first," he warns. "Laois are always hard to beat. No matter what level they're at, people will be talking about Kilkenny in the semi but we haven't given it any thought," said Treacy, who has been named at top of the right for tomorrow.

He adds: "But things are coming right. But if you're not setting the bar high, what's the point in bothering? It's within reason to say it's within our grasp. If all the variables go our way, we could give it a good go."

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