Athlone's John Egan in action for Westmeath against Dublin's Ciaran Kilkenny.

Athlone’s John boosted by support as he continues recovery

Former Westmeath footballer John Egan has been heartened by the support he has received from the entire GAA community as he recovers from a successful kidney transplant operation at Beaumont Hospital.

“The GAA community has been great. I’m still friends with most of the lads I’ve played with during my Westmeath career, so they have all really reached out. There has also been a lot of support and well wishes from players and board members from other counties which has been brilliant to receive,” said Egan.

The Athlone clubman made his Westmeath senior debut in 2012, away to Offaly in the O’Byrne Cup, and played numerous times for the county until 2018.

Egan’s final match in the maroon and white jersey was an All-Ireland qualifier game in Mullingar against Armagh where he had to be taken off in the second half due to cramps caused by his disease, IgA nephropathy (also known as Berger’s disease).

Despite the many difficult moments over the past number of years, Egan - who received a lifesaving kidney from his father-in-law Ollie - is now looking forward to the future.

Asked how his recovery is progressing, John said: “Recovery is going great. My energy levels are way up and fatigue/tiredness is basically gone. I feel the best I have in four or five years now. I’m back doing work but still in isolation and with strict social distancing.”

On having to retire from playing aged 28, John said: “Having to retire at 28 was tough but I am enjoying being involved in a management and coaching capacity now. Getting experience working alongside Liam McHale and Darren Magee over the past few years with the Athlone senior team has been great.”

As to the future, John said: “The main thing I want now with recovery going so well is to get back to some level of fitness and normality.

"I’d also like to make everyone aware of the importance of organ donation and the positive impact it has on so many people like me and people who need an organ now. Signing up is so simple to do and is so important,” added John.

*For information on how to become an organ donor or how to receive an organ donor card visit (Irish Kidney Association) or text DONOR to 50050.

- Mark Casserly