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Dublin great Macauley reveals 2017 cruciate injury came after skateboard fall at wedding

The knee injury kept Michael Darragh Macauley out for most of that year’s championship.

Dublin’s Michael Darragh Macauley.
Dublin’s Michael Darragh Macauley.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

MICHAEL DARRAGH MACAULEY has revealed that the cruciate injury he suffered in 2017 that kept him out for most of the championship happened as a result from a fall off a skateboard while he was at a wedding. 

The eight-time All-Ireland winner, who retired in January 2021, is the latest subject to appear on TG4′s Laochra Gael next Thursday. 

Macauley suffered the knee injury in between the 2017 league and championship. It was thought at the time that he’d suffered the injury either in the Division 1 final defeat to Kerry or in training. 

He opted not to undergo surgery and rehabbed the knee, returning in time to feature off the bench against Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final. 

“I did it on a skateboard, is the true story” he revealed. “In the wee hours of the morning at a wedding. 

“I got back for a few minutes in the All-Ireland semi-final but it was probably too late to get back into the team. It was a tough one to sit out for that final.”

Macauley opened up about his relationship with Jim Gavin, which was tested at times over the years.

The Ballyboden St Enda’s man was never afraid to confront Gavin on the occasions when he was dropped from the team. Being left off the starting side for the 2015 All-Ireland semi-final replay against Mayo, two years after winning Footballer of the Year, particularly stung. 

“On that occasion I felt hard done by,” he said. “Whether I was or not is a completely different story. But I felt hard done by. I was never shy of telling Jim that I felt hard done by.

“I distinctly remember (being) in a hotel room with him and having choice words with him. That’s the way it is, I’m a competitor, I’m there to play the game. I felt that genuinely I was the best person to get us across the line from the start.

“That’s my belief and that’s what I was trying to get across,” he continued.

“Jim’s a tough communicator. He has his own style. Jim keeps to himself. He won’t give a whole lot away. I was probably looking him to give something away, to react or to bite on something.

“He was just like an understanding priest, just nodding and taking my verbal abuse at the time.”

Gavin wanted Macauley to adapt his game into a more defensive style, something the midfielder was reluctant to do. 

“It cost me my place in 2018,” he explained. “Jim wanted me to be a defensive midfielder. I didn’t think I could do that role to a high standard, and that it didn’t suit me.”

Screenshot 2022-01-14 at 15.01.31 Michael Darragh Macauley. Source: TG4

He also spoke about losing his parents at a young age. His mother Rosaleen died when he was just 12 and his father Michael passed away in 2013.

“I was in fifth class, I was around 10 or 11 years old. Dad said mum had this thing going on in her lungs, the big C. Like everything, it’s just a sickness and you really don’t think anymore about it. There’s a few trips to hospital and she’s not really getting any better.

“I’ve distinctive memories of going down Foster Avenue and my dad was explaining that she wasn’t going to make it and we had to say goodbye to her. So it was tough.

“One of the sadder things is my memories regress, I can’t remember enough at times.”

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Of his father’s passing from lung fibrosis shortly after the 2013 All-Ireland win, he recalled: “It’s a wasting away of the lungs. There’s no cure apart from a transplant.

“It was a steady downhill battle, that just gradually gets worse. Then he starts having to take oxygen for an hour or two, then eventually it’s 24 hours a day he’s strapped up to oxygen tanks. (I was) in and out of hospital, sleeping on the floors of the transplant unit in the Mater Hospital.

“It was a bit of a rollercoaster with that. There’s always this ray of hope with a transplant, but it just didn’t come.”

He added, “Christmas has never been great since to be honest. It’s such a time for family. Christmas Day is the one day where I just do feel sorry for myself that it’s just never been the same. 

“But on a day to day I just ask myself the same question: what would your mam or dad want you to do right now? It’s so simple but it just gets me out of that hole.

“If my Da saw me moping around he’d give me a kick up the arse. My Ma would say, ‘What are you doing? Get on with yourself.’ That’s the only thing that got me through.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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