'I couldn't tell John to be honest' - Gillane's frisbee injury fright before All-Ireland final

Limerick’s star forward suffered a minor knee injury before the Kilkenny but his fitness for the game was never in doubt.

AARON GILLANE SAYS he suffered a slight knee injury in the week leading up to the All-Ireland SHC final, but stresses that he was never a doubt for the Croke Park decider.

aaron-gillane Dan Sheridan / INPHO Limerick's Aaron Gillane. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Rumours regarding the Limerick star forward’s fitness circulated in the days before Limerick’s showdown with Kilkenny where they were aiming to complete a three-in-a-row.

Gillane, of course, did start and produced another inspiring display as he helped himself to seven points as his county cemented their place at the summit of hurling.

Responding to the speculation around his availability for the final, Gillane explained that he suffered a minor knee problem which caused him to panic.

“It was a funny story. I was throwing around the frisbee out the front of my girlfriend’s house on the Tuesday before the final, and there was a soccer ball in the yard. I thought it would just be my luck that I would fall over the soccer ball, so I went over to kick it out of the way. And whatever way I kicked the soccer ball, I hurt my knee. It was random enough.

“It was nothing major, just a strained medial ligament.”

Gillane added that he took action as soon as he felt the pain, calling up the Limerick  physio to ask about assessing the damage while keeping the matter from manager John Kiely.

“I couldn’t tell John that to be honest so I rang the physio straight away and said, ‘Do whatever you want but don’t tell John. I don’t want him asking any questions, please.’

“I just had to strap it up a small bit and away you go. I’d say I did a small bit myself with Mark on the Tuesday, and was back at training then on the Friday. I was definitely more worried about it but I was always going to be playing. It was never in doubt.”

The post-All-Ireland final celebrations have settled down, according to Gillane, as the club championships get underway. Similar to his inter-county campaign, Gillane will play his club games with Patrickswell without the services of Cian Lynch.

Limerick’s two-time Hurler of the Year suffered a serious ankle injury the week before the All-Ireland final, damaging ligaments during a training game. Lynch had just returned to action from a hamstring tear when the injury setback occurred, and now looks set to miss the entire Limerick SHC season.

“We were all devastated for him,” says his clubmate Gillane.

“The thing about Cian is he would never have given off the impression that affected him. He was always the same bubbly character that he is, having a laugh, and having the craic with people. He was a huge loss for us. We were all sickened for him.

“I think I said it to someone after the match that the supporters, and everyone watching the match, they all see what Cian does on the field. What he offers off the field in terms of being in the dressing room, and leadership, that can’t go under the radar. He still had a huge part to play in that final.

“He’s always there to chat with someone. If there’s someone nervous, he’ll go over and just start making them laugh or start doing something stupid to calm them down. It’s Cian being Cian. Everyone loves being around him, everyone had great time for him, and he has great time for everyone.

“I’d say there’s 35 or 36 fellas on our team that could all say Cian Lynch is one of their best friends.”

Gillane says that Lynch is continuing to perform that role in the Patrickswell dressing-room, although they will miss his presence greatly on the pitch.

cian-lynch-and-aaron-gillane Tom Maher / INPHO Cian Lynch and Aaron Gillane holding up the Liam MacCarthy Cup. Tom Maher / INPHO / INPHO

“With Limerick, it’s one thing, but with Patrickswell he pulls absolutely everything together. He’s just such huge player. He’s here there and everywhere. One of the best things I can say about Cian is the bigger the occasion, the better the performance you’re going to get out of him.

“Patrickswell is a tiny club. When you’re missing the best hurler in the country for the last couple of years, it’s obviously going to sting us.

“At the end of the day, Patrickswell is his home and he’s going to want the best for everyone in Patrickswell and if there’s anything at all he can do, he’s going to do it. So, he’s at all the trainings and his brother is flying it at corner-back, so that’s keeping him going.”

Limerick’s Aaron Gillane was speaking in Croke Park to help celebrate that Littlewoods Ireland has rebranded to Very. Very is the proud sponsor of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship and the Very Camogie Leagues for a sixth year.

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