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Dublin: 18 °C Tuesday 16 July, 2019
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Blow for Galway as captain admits Connacht final will come too soon in his fitness battle

Star forward Damien Comer is recovering from surgery on his foot.

Damien Comer arrives ahead of the Connacht semi-final.
Damien Comer arrives ahead of the Connacht semi-final.
Image: Evan Logan/INPHO

GALWAY WILL HEAD into the Connacht SFC final without the services of captain Damien Comer who is still recovering from a fractured bone in his foot. 

Comer, who hasn’t featured for Galway yet in 2019, has been laid up since he suffered the injury while playing a charity soccer game on St Stephen’s Day. 

The Tribesmen face Roscommon on the provincial decider on 16 June but Comer admits it will likely come too soon for him to feature.

“I can’t see myself turning the corner in that space of time,” he says.

“I won’t rule anything out. I’d love to get back to it. I’d even try for a bench spot but it’ll be tight.” 

The initial scan didn’t show a fracture and Comer was hoping to get back during the league. When the injury – which is around the ankle area – wasn’t improving he went back for a second prognosis and the full extent of the problem was revealed.

“Initially, it was obviously very frustrating and then you’re kind of getting back and you think you’re back. Then it wasn’t improving. I got a scan again and then you find out it’s a fracture and that’s frustrating.

He continues: “You’re like, ‘Right, go into a boot.’ And then you meet the consultant and the next thing its surgery and that’s the last thing you wanted. That’s really frustrating.”

SuperValu GAA Sponsorship Launch 2019 Comer was speaking as SuperValu launched their 10th year as sponsor of the All-Ireland senior football championship. Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

Comer had to wait a number of weeks for he went under the knife.

“There was the wait to get the surgery done and you’re waiting a week, two weeks, three weeks. All you’re thinking is that this is three weeks is eating into when I’ll be back. 

“I went into the surgeon and said, ‘Look it, I’m ready to go, if you give me a date tomorrow I’ll work with that’. Once I had the surgery I knew it was done and I had a time-frame. Six weeks in a boot, six weeks after the boot hopefully back running.”

The full-forward, who was nominated for an All-Star after a stellar 2018 campaign, is back doing some straight-line running on the field but is still feeling some pain.

He hasn’t yet put a timeframe on when he can expect to return to full-contact training. 

“I don’t really know to be honest,” he says. “I’m back doing a bit of running, straight-line running. I haven’t really put a time-frame on it. 

“I’m kind of going by pain-threshold. If it’s too sore I take a step back and if it’s okay I’ll push it on a small bit. That’s my gauge. How long it’s going to take, I genuinely don’t know. Kevin (Walsh) is asking the same question and I can’t really answer it. 

“I’m just playing it by ear, taking it week by week and see. Hopefully, then you turn a corner and next thing you’re back in the thick of things. 

“You don’t want a setback either. I’ve been fortunate enough so far, I’ve done alright so far. I’m just playing it by pain, I suppose. If I’ve no pain I can push it out, but, if I do, then I just take a step back.”

He’s been closely monitoring his weight so he can hit the ground running when he returns to action.

“That was my one worry, even before I got injured, I’m that build that if I did get injured I could swell up very easily so it’s important to keep on top of that. The amount of people that have said to me, ‘I’d say you’ve lost weight’.

“I just stayed away from the gym, didn’t need to put on any kgs and then just did my cardio and made sure my diet was okay. I ended losing a few kgs which is always a bonus. Because the more you have to carry when you get back the harder obviously it’s going to be to get up to that fitness so I think that worked well for me.” 

Paul Conroy Paul Conroy in action for Galway in the 2018 Connacht final. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

On the bright side for Galway, Paul Conroy stepped up his return from two broken legs by starring for his club at the weekend.

Conroy scored 1-5 for St James’ from full-forward in the opening round of the Galway SFC. Comer and Conroy are both teachers at Claregalway College and have been in “constant communication with each other” over the past few months during their respective recoveries.

“It gives you encouragement,” says Comer.

“There’d be a few days were he was peed off and he was like ‘I don’t know the surgeon was saying I should be back in contact by now and I’m barely back running’.

“He was getting annoyed with it but then the next thing he started progressing nicely, then threw himself into a few drills and then all of a sudden he turned a corner and found he wasn’t going that quickly.

“His pace started coming back and now he’s back near full pace again so he just turned a corner. Looking at that I thought maybe that’s me where I wouldn’t be going full pace, I wouldn’t be able to go full pace at the moment, but I suppose your body just reacts and you strengthen up all parts.

“I would have been off my feet for a good while not loading up so it’s reacting well so far but seeing him do that and getting through it, and Paul would have had similar operations to me.

“It’s painful at the time but you build up a tolerance and it gets easier as you go on. It gives you a positive outlook and that’s important.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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