The Gaelic footballer left with brain damage after he was attacked on a San Francisco playing field has returned home to Northern Ireland – after a mammoth 18 day journey by land and sea.

Mark McGovern is the 23-year-old left in a coma after an off-the-ball clash in a game between the Ulster club and the San Francisco Celts last June. Since then he has made an incredible recovery

He is now back home with his family in the Fermanagh village of Belcoo and looking forward to further recovery after his long trek back to Ulster.
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Mark’s family are delighted to have him back after they were warned by doctors in California that he might not survive the vicious on-field attack, just five days after his arrival in the States.

Banned from flying by his doctor, Mark began his 5,000 mile journey with a train ride from San Francisco to New York. He then undertook a 10 day boat trip to Southampton in England followed by a long drive to Holyhead in Wales, a ferry to Dublin and the final leg home to Fermanagh.

“It’s amazing to get through the front gates of the house, to get to the front door and not be assisted by anyone,” McGovern told the BBC.

“There’s no place like home. It’ll be hard to get my normal life back, obviously, very hard. The only goal I’ve set is to become a single handicapper playing golf.

“That’s my first thought. I know I can’t play football anymore so it’s given me time to concentrate on golf. It’ll be golf every day now - weather depending!”