Injury was to deny Craig Gilroy the opportunity to play in Ulster’s first RaboDirect PRO12 final at the end of last season.
It also meant he missed out on gaining some further international experience with Ireland on the summer tour to North America.
However, the 22-year-old looks back at it all positively and is now ready to stake his claim for a regular starting place on the Ulster side and aim to get the green jersey on again when the November Test series comes around.
Gilroy made his return last week for Ulster in the 18-7 win in Galway against Connacht when he came on at half time.
“It is good to be back. It seems like a lifetime since I played and I was really excited - indeed nervous as well - about getting the Ulster jersey back on,” enthused Gilroy.
“Yes I was gutted to miss the PRO12 final it is one of those occasions that you hope to be involved in.
“I was also looking forward to going on the Ireland tour because I have never been on a professional tour before. It would have been good to have maybe got some more game time with Ireland under the belt.
“The decision came not to. The coaching staff and medical team were good to me and gave me enough time off to rest, rehab and get myself back to 100 per cent.
“Looking back it was the right call, but now I have to make it all count.”
Gilroy was not included in the 42-man panel that attended the first Ireland training camp of the season at Carton House on Sunday and Monday.
However new Irish coach, Joe Schmidt did name him as one of those who was still in his thoughts - the currently injured Andrew Trimble being another.
“Of course it was good to be mentioned,” added Gilroy, who confessed that he had managed to delete Schmidt’s number of his mobile telephone by accident.
“Joe rang me and explained the situation,. I was coming back from injury and we would see how it went,” said Gilroy.
Schmidt was at Saturday’s match in Galway and Gilroy’s cameo will certainly have ticked the right boxes as the winger steps things up in the coming weeks.
While Gilroy played on the wing last week, there was much speculation he could be starting at fullback for Ulster on Friday night when Benetton Treviso arrive for a PRO12 fixture.
Taken by surprise when asked by the News Letter how often he had played there, Gilroy responded: “A couple of times. I played fullback in a Heineken Cup game.”
Irrespective of where is plays this weekend, Gilroy is just happy to be back on the field.
“I was a bit anxious last weekend with just coming back after such a long time. It is now about polishing the performance week in and out.”