A year after he was brutally assaulted during a gaelic football match in San Francisco, Mark McGovern is back home in Fermanagh and desperately trying to get his life back.

The 23-year-old former inter-county footballer has revealed for the first time the full cost of the on-field attack last year.

His first match for the Ulster GAA club in San Francisco, on only his fifth day in America, has had a devastating effect on Mark’s life.

An almost fatal off-the-ball blow from an opponent has left Mark in need of medical care as he comes to terms with the enormity of his Californian nightmare.

Doctors say he will make a full recovery but in the 12 months since the attack, Mark has split up with his girlfriend and freely admits that his relationship with his family just hasn’t been the same.

As his assailant, from the Celts club, awaits the outcome of a police investigation in San Francisco, Mark has revealed that even a return to the city last month couldn’t end quickly enough.

The Belcoo native told the Belfast Telegraph: “I was actually going to stay over for the summer and help with coaching and training of the team.

“I didn’t get a summer out of it last year. I wanted to experience it. I went back and I was kind of glad that I didn’t stay. Even three weeks was long enough... too many bad memories. Sleep at night wasn’t great.”

His next visit to America won’t be in the short term – if ever.

Mark added: “I don’t know, maybe time will heal it. At the minute I am happy to be home.”
McGovern also revealed the price he has paid for that horrific incident.

“Relationships have just gone,” he said. “Everything has just left me. My relationship with my family just isn’t the same as it was. My girlfriend and I have broken up because of this.

“I’ve had to accept so much, like the fact that I can’t play football again. I’ve accepted that now. I’m now coaching, I’m still involved.

“It’s been said by many doctors that it’s a miracle. Honestly, I’m just glad I’m here today.”