Paul O’Connor

Date published: Friday, October 1, 2010

ROUGHYEDS full-back Paul O’Connor has been admitted to hospital for an operation to repair a torn muscle in his shoulder — an injury that hasn’t stopped him producing an outstanding season’s work.

He damaged the shoulder early on in the 28-match cup and league campaign, but he insisted that if he needed surgery it would have to wait until the season’s end.

“That’s typical of him,” said club chairman Chris Hamilton. “He deserves great credit. He battled on for most of the season, often in pain, but for obvious reasons we kept news of his injury in-house. Very few people were aware of it.

“Despite carrying the shoulder, he had a fantastic season. It was always the intention for him to have the operation as soon as possible after the last game and with that in mind he saw the consultant a couple of weeks ago and arrangements were put in place.

“He was due to have the job done today (Thursday). It will severely restrict what he can do for the next three months.”

The 26-year-old former Widnes Vikings player has played 108 senior games for the Roughyeds since making his debut on loan from Vikings in 2006.

His consistency and durability are reflected in his appearance statistics for seasons 2008, 2009 and 2010 — a total of 91 out of a possible 95, producing 48 tries.

In the season just ended he played in each of the club’s 28 cup and league matches, running in 19 tries to finish joint top of the club try-scoring list with Mick Fogerty and Lucas Onyango.

His sterling efforts were rewarded handsomely at the Roughyeds’ end-of-season presentations when he picked up three trophies as player of the year, players’ player of the year and supporters’ player of the year.

He was also recognised at league level by his inclusion, with team mate Neil Roden, in the mythical Championship One team of the year and by being named among the top three for Championship One player of the year.