JAMES SKEHILL HAS revealed that greater damage was discovered to his shoulder than had been initially thought, when he underwent an operation last week in Waterford.
The Galway netminder suffered the injury on the Friday night before September’s All-Ireland final replay to his left shoulder, yet still lined out in the decider against Kilkenny before coming off at half-time.
Skehill had previously hurt the shoulder last March in a league game against Waterford and underwent surgery to rectify the problem.
“I had the surgery last Wednesday down in Waterford with a surgeon called Ger Maloney. He was going off an MRI scan three weeks prior to the surgery. He couldn’t quite read everything but when he opened me up he discovered more damage than originally expected.
“It changed his procedure. A two hour surgery turned into a four hour surgery. It’s fair severe when you go through the list of damage, there was bone damage, capsule, ligaments, tendon and muscle. But everything is fixed down.”
Skehill, who is targeting St Patrick’s Day next year as a potential comeback date, cleared up the issue over whether he aggravated the injury by lining out during the All-Ireland final and does not regret his decision.
“I asked him (the surgeon), could it have happened the second time and he said he doesn’t think so. It was unstable throughout the year. It was like 90 percent of the shoulder injuries he has seen before. He couldn’t pinpoint when the damage was done.
“I would always back myself. History shows that Galway have only been in two finals per decade so I wasn’t going to miss that chance. Not being selfish, I felt at the time that I was fit enough.
“I’m expecting to be back playing by Paddy’s Day. The surgeon gave me a 4% chance that it will happen again so I’ll take that chance.”
Skehill is planning on getting his right shoulder operated on at the end of next year after dislocating that in a challenge match against Dublin in 2009.
He was forced to miss out recently as his club Cappataggle lost out in the Galway IHC semi-final against eventual champions Killimordaly. The operation has also affected his working life as a civil engineer with Carey Building Contractors.
“I’m not scheduled to return until the 26th of November. As an amateur sportsman, that’s three weeks without pay, which is tough. Insurance will cover all your costs but with regards to the income, I’m not sure if they cover the full extent of the wages.
“I’m not the only player around the country. I’m sure there are a lot of club players that are in the same situation but I know that the Galway county board won’t leave me hanging. They’re a great bunch of people to have over you. As an amateur sportsman you have to accept these things.”