TWELVE DAYS LATER, the doctors finally diagnosed ulcerative colitis.

Roisin Gleeson had gone from training four nights a week with Fermanagh and St Patrick’s Donagh, to not being able to drive or even lift a pen.

But five years on from a worrying health scare, she takes ten tablets every day to keep the symptoms at bay.

“I was feeling very unwell,” said Gleeson. “It had the same effect that food poisoning would have. The doctors didn’t really know what was wrong with me.

“They took loads of blood tests and eventually that showed up, and then they medicated it to keep it under control.

“I was playing club and county and training nearly every night during the week.

“I went from that to not being fit to literally lift a pen, it’s energy zapping and that is what it does to you.

“I couldn’t drive, I had no energy and it was a big shock to the system.”

Gleeson, who lives in the small town of Donagh, just outside Lisnaskea, would spend over three months on the sidelines recovering.

Having made her Fermanagh debut in 2009, she had thoughts of potentially never being able to pull on the goalkeeper’s jersey again.

“I didn’t Google the symptoms. I left that to the specialists, it was hard enough for them to figure it out,” she added.

“It is a lifelong thing. You just take the medication and it is doing its job. Just keep on top of it and it will be grand.

“At the start, I had to alter my diet. Some things would have triggered it so I had to keep a close eye on what was causing problems. Then, once you were out of the woods, you were grand.

“I take four tablets in the morning and six in the evening now. I am used to it and I have squeezed it into my routine.”

The 31-year-old is back in the thick of club and county action, and she combines that with her day job as a factory supervisor.

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It can be tough making training when work only ends at 6pm and you start out on the opposite side of the county.

But coming back from illness and putting in the hard yards away from the pitch makes last Saturday’s Lidl NFL Division 4 title win all the more worthwhile.

Fermanagh beat Ulster rivals Antrim 2-8 to 1-10 at St Tiernach’s Park in Clones.

“We won the All-Ireland a few years ago and last weekend was the only thing I had dodged for my ten years playing with Fermanagh,” said Gleeson.

“Whenever you have big wins like that, you think that there is not going to be many years left now so you have to enjoy them.”

Fermanagh and Antrim will renew rivalries in the TG4 Ulster Championship next month, with the counties scheduled to meet in a provincial semi-final on June 8.

And Gleeson cannot wait for summer football and a chance for more national silverware.

“We had a week off and now it’s a few weeks of hard work before we face Antrim again,” said Gleeson.

“We were saying after the League semi-final that we had left it very late and if we were knocked out that day, we would have had a long wait until the championship.

“We shortened the gap between the League and the championship and that is great for us because there is plenty of competition in Fermanagh for places at the minute.

“Winning the League gives the girls an extra boost now going into the Championship.”

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