Callum O’Dowda’s Cardiff City Life Lessons

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 09: Callum O'Dowda of Cardiff City applauds the fans after the Sky Bet Championship match between Cardiff City and Ipswich Town at Cardiff City Stadium on March 09, 2024 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images)

Callum O’Dowda’s Cardiff City Life Lessons

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By Gareth James

Callum O’Dowda is back in business after a six month injury set-back and is crediting his two Cocker Spaniels and his life coach with keeping him sane during the tough times he experienced.

Since his return from groin surgery he has featured in three successive wins for the Bluebirds, none more dramatic than the 2-1 smash and grab raid on the Tractor Boys in 11 minutes of added time last weekend.

It was his two dogs, Poppy and Murphy, who helped to keep him on an even keel during his injury, while life coach Jamie Edwards ensured his mental health stayed strong.

He came off the bench for the third time since getting back to full fitness and made one and scored another goal to topple high-flying Ipswich in the most dramatic added time finish ever seen at the Cardiff City Stadium.

“That’s the best moment I’ve had in a Cardiff City shirt – 100%. It makes it even more special given I’ve been out for six months,” said O’Dowda, who headed down to skipper Ryan Wintle for a 95th minute equaliser before netting the winner in the 100th minute.

“I couldn’t have written it any better – especially as I missed a good chance a few minutes earlier.

“Ipswich had an off day and we didn’t see the best of them. We can’t get too carried away, but the signs are good and we have a lot of players who are in good form.

 

“We have to maintain the standards we’ve set in the last four games. We need to be consistent and we can’t take our foot off it.”

The next game is a visit to arch-rivals Swansea City for a game that would make it five wins in a row for the first time under Erol Bulut.

“We’re on 53 points and have a massive game to look forward to because I know how much it means to the city and the club,” added O’Dowda.

“Win that and who knows what might happen?”

Republic of Ireland midfielder O’Dowda suffered an initial groin injury earlier this season that forced  him to undergo surgery and then he had a relapse to add to his frustration.

Now, though, he is back fighting fit.

“I felt a little bit of discomfort in pre-season, but I just got on with it rather than disclosing it to the medical team. I played the first four games in a lot of pain and after that it was just too much,” he said.

“I had a scan and had an operation on a couple of things. It was quite testing, but the medical team were excellent in dealing with my recovery and my mood swings.

“Mentally it was quite hard watching the lads and wanting to get back out there. It is looking quite positive now.

“Four or five weeks ago you could see lads that possess so much quality not having the confidence.

“I missed the derby game at the start of the season and we are a totally different team from top to bottom from the one that went to Swansea last year.

“We’ll be more competitive this time. It couldn’t be a better scenario after the last four or five games.”

Living on his own in Cardiff made life hard for O’Dowda when he was recovering from his surgery. He got through it all thanks to his two dogs and vital support from Edwards.

“If you take football away from me it’s not me. There is more to me than football, although it is a massive part of my life, my bread and butter,” said O’Dowda.

“You feel like an imposter when you are working in the gym and not playing. I’d never been out for that length of time before and mentally it was testing.

“The belief was there but these days there is always a way back. I’ve got two Cocker Spaniels that I love and who are a priority in life as well.

“My family and friends were there for me every step of the way. I express my feelings and I work with a really good life coach 24 hours a day and he helped massively.

“I’ve worked with Jamie since early on in my career. He’s been there for me through good times and bad, in football and life in general.

“He will come and visit me and has spent many nights in Cardiff. He has been with me for a lot of years and knows me better than anyone.”

 

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