SATURDAY: Former Doncaster Rovers full-back Sean McDaid made an emotional return to the Keepmoat Stadium to receive a silver salver from chairman John Ryan before the club’s home game against Cardiff City.
The 25 year-old, released by Rovers last summer, recently announced his retirement from the game after suffering another serious knee injury playing for Carlisle United at Exeter in a League One game.
McDaid had impressed everyone at Rovers with his spirit in a trying period at the club during which time he had a series of major knee operations.
A committed professional, and a thoroughly likeable lad, McDaid swept the board at the 2005-06 end of season awards - lifting the Players’ Player, Young Player and Supporters’ Club player of the year awards.
McDaid joined the Cumbrians after being released by Rovers and things were going well for him before the injury.
“I got back playing again and the knee was fine. I played the first 14 games and we started quite well. I was enjoying playing week in, week out again,” he said.
“I was basically running down the wing at Exeter in the second half of the game and heard a click in my knee.
“I was operated on a couple of days later and got told it was a really serious problem and that if I came back and it happened again I would need a knee joint replacement.
“I think anyone who knows me knows that if I had have been given a chance that I could play on I would have pushed it to the limit, but I was left with no option, really.
“I had to think about my future quality of life so regrettably, I had to take the decision to retire.
“It wasn’t a case of me doing my rehab and see how I got on, I was told the news straight away. I was obviously gutted; I don’t think that anyone can prepare you for it.
“But someone telling me that part of my body was done is better than me pushing myself and it happening again.
“It was an unbelievable reception I got from the crowd. When you leave a football club you hope that people remember you, but the game moves on.”
There are rumours of a testimonial game between the two clubs this summer.
“I’d love that to happen; it would be a touching gesture and I’d really appreciate it,” said McDaid.
“But at the end of the day I am not begging anyone for anything.
“Rover were brilliant during all my injury problems and supported me really well.”
McDaid went down to Wembley 10 days ago with Carlisle for their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final and went up at the end to lift the trophy.
“It was a good experience and the lads were great with me,” said the former Leeds junior. “I’ve been fortunate that the three clubs I’ve been involved with all treated me nicely and that is really pleasing.
“The highlight for me was Rovers’ promotion year to the Championship. It was nice to go up and receive a winner’s medal.”
McDaid plans to take his coaching badges and is also thinking of becoming an agent.
Doncaster Knights maintained their dominance over local rivals Rotherham Titans with a 42-20 win in their Championship Promotion play-off Pool B clash at Clifton Lane - a victory which saw them go second behind runaway leaders Cornish Pirates.
SUNDAY: Knights boss Lynn Howells was a happy man when he reflected on the Rotherham game when we spoke in the morning
“He said: “We started very shakily, which is something that we haven’t done for a little while, and they got out of the blocks quickly.
“They had no pressure on them and they threw the ball around and actually played very well.
“We fell off a lot of tackles in the beginning, but once we got that sorted and started to put our structure together we did very well and in the second half there was only one team in it.
“We came in 15-14 down at half-time but I never felt that we were ever going to lose the game. I was annoyed at half-time because of the way that we were playing, which was making it difficult for ourselves.
“I said one or two harsh words in the dressing room and got an immediate response, which you are always looking for in those situations, and we scored two tries in the first five minutes of the second half and we’d got the game won. Apart from the first quarter it was a good performance and we finished worthy winners and picked up a bonus point.
“It was probably the first time that I’ve been to Rotherham, which is always a tough place to go, in my four years at the club and it not be raining.
“The dry conditions suited us and as long as we kept the ball alive, and the phases going, which we did in the second half, we always knew that we would have chances of scoring against them because of the pace we’ve got in our backs.”
It turned out to be a good weekend for Knights with Bedford’s defeat at Cornish Pirates in the afternoon meaning that Knights retained second spot with one game to go, Hopefully the town will really get behind the team in Saturday’s must-win game against the Pirates.
The US Masters is my favourite televised golf championship of the year - the Augusta course always looks so stunning.
The championship produced a finish in keeping with the surroundings with 21 year-old Rory Mcllroy, who had played so well in the first three rounds to establish a four-stroke lead at the start of the final round, losing his way completely on the day and finishing an also-ran.
Golf can be a cruel game, as everyone of us who plays knows only too well.