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'That was another kick in the teeth' - Kilkenny star's battle with Glandular fever

Eoin Larkin had to battle back from illness to star for Kilkenny this summer.

Eoin Larkin was laid low with a bout of Glandular fever.
Eoin Larkin was laid low with a bout of Glandular fever.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS, skin rash, loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, sore throat, swollen glands.

Just some of the side-effects of Glandular fever that Kilkenny hurler Eoin Larkin and anybody else who have suffered with it can verify.

Larkin was just back from groin surgery when he was laid low with the virus earlier this year, ensuring that he missed out on Kilkenny’s Allianz League campaign.

“That was another kick in the teeth, but thankfully I got through that,” says Larkin.

“I was sleeping nearly three or four hours a day, then going to bed and sleeping that night. 

“I had to take it handy for a while. I was out (of work) for a while, a couple of weeks, takes all your energy.

“In fairness Mick Dempsey has worked with me a lot over the last while to get me back in good shape for the Championship so huge credit has to go to him.”

Eoin Larkin Eoin Larkin recovered from Glandular fever in time for the championship. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Larkin returned in time for the Leinster championship opener against Wexford and marked his return with three points from play.

And in the provincial final victory over Galway, he scored 0-4 in another hard-working display.

Larkin’s appetite for work was evident as he often dropped deep inside his own half in search of possession.

And the work put in on the training ground enabled the Army man to get back up to speed.

“I was kind of getting a bit worried because it was about six or seven weeks in by the time I actually realised there is something amiss here,” he reflected.

“So, I went to the doctor then – I was nearly a week or two on the other side when it was diagnosed.

John Hanbury Eoin Larkin Eoin Larkin's scoring touch and workrate were exceptional against Galway. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“I trained for two or three weeks through it but I was just wrecked.  I used to go home and lay on the couch or go to bed, just shattered.

“The club games helped me, couple of club Championship games and just training inside is intense enough so that brought me on an awful lot.”

But on the outside looking in, 31-year-old Larkin knew that he had to get back in time for the summer or risk losing his place.

“I always thought, Jesus I have to get back here or I am going to be in trouble by the time the summer comes around,” said the 7-time All-Ireland senior medallist.

“There was no point going back when I was still sick.

“I could do myself more harm than good.

“I just took the couple of weeks and said to myself it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if I was a sub.

Eoin Larkin and manager Brian Cody Eoin Larkin was back with a bang against Wexford. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“I was going to try my hardest to get back fit and get onto the team.  I had decided that I was going to stay going.”

Larkin is now targeting another All-Ireland title in the black and amber and Sunday’s semi-final clash against Waterford will bring back some good memories.

The James Stephens clubman was a member of the Kilkenny team that decimated Waterford in the 2008 final, a performance Larkin rates as the finest he’s ever been involved in.

“Probably the most perfect performance,” Larkin confirms.

“Waterford didn’t play the way they could but we played very well.

“There were other days where we had to really grind out a win and win by a point or two, and they were great to win, but generally I think that was the best performance.”

Right from the start, it was clear that Kilkenny meant business and by half-time, they were 2-16 to 0-5 clear.

Source: Conor Ryan/YouTube

At the finish, the Cats had registered just two wides during the course of an imperious display.

In the process, the Noresiders claimed a third successive All-Ireland crown and having been denied that accolade by Cork in 2004, Larkin admits that it was a huge motivation.

“There had been a lot of talk about the three-in-a-row and (that) no-one could do it,” he recalls. 

“Waterford were coming up, they had Davy (Fitzgerald) over them and all this kind of stuff.

“Everyone just tuned in right that day and everything seemed to work for us.  Everything we hit went over that day.

“Everyone had bundles of energy – we were all over the place – everything just clicked that day.”

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