Dublin hurler Ryan O'Dwyer. Cathal Noonan/INPHO
the road back

Plunkett backs Ryan O'Dwyer to return from 'frightening' assault ordeal

“He’s proven what he brings to our team over the last four or five years,” says the Dublin midfielder.

HE HASN’T FEATURED for Dublin since last season but Ryan O’Dwyer has recently resumed his involvement with Ger Cunningham’s panel.

Dubs midfielder Daire Plunkett says O’Dwyer has been “tipping away” in training, four months after he was the victim of a serious assault in the UK.

O’Dwyer, who’s been lining out for the Dubs since 2011 having previously represented his native Tipperary, was knocked unconscious after being attacked outside a nightclub in Birmingham on 30 October.

The 29-year-old sustained a broken jaw, a fractured skull and bleeding in the brain, he revealed in a recent interview. The Kilmacud Crokes clubman also admitted that he subsequently considered calling time on his hurling career.

However, O’Dwyer is now on the road to recovery, although it’s unclear when he’s likely to return to the blue jersey. Dublin will play their final Allianz Hurling League Division 1A game tomorrow against Kilkenny, before moving on to the quarter-finals.

Plunkett describes O’Dwyer’s ordeal as “frightening”, adding that the Dublin players were hugely concerned for their team-mate when news of the incident began to emerge.

“You kind of don’t really know,” he said. “You know how these things come out. We were kind of getting the odd text [message] and almost being drip-fed information, not really knowing the extent of it.

“You’re kind of thinking it’s probably not too bad and then you hear somebody else saying it’s a lot worse than we thought. It wasn’t until you heard from a trustworthy source that you knew exactly what had happened and what the extent of it was.”

Ryan OÕDwyer Ryan O'Dwyer on the pitch at Parnell Park before Dublin's recent Allianz League win against Galway. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

While O’Dwyer’s future looked uncertain for a while, Plunkett is glad to have him back in the fold: “He’d be around the place. He’s tipping away. I’m not sure of the extent of what he can do yet but he’s tipping away and getting back. It’s good to see him around the place. He’s a character around the place.”

Plunkett believes O’Dwyer will be back on the pitch for the Dubs before long and that he’ll be a big asset to a team who are currently on a hot streak of form, having recorded consecutive wins over Galway, Cork and Waterford.

“Definitely,” Plunkett insisted, in relation to the likelihood of a return for O’Dwyer, who has already won a National League and Leinster title with his adopted county. “He’s proven what he brings to our team over the last four or five years.”

Meanwhile, Plunkett puts Dublin’s recent run of good form down to two things: hard work and intelligent use of the ball. Their three wins on the trot were preceded by a 14-point defeat to Tipperary in Thurles, but the 2011 League champions have responded very impressively.

“Against Tipp, we didn’t work hard enough and we didn’t use the ball well enough. The last three or four weeks, any of the reports from our games have talked about our workrate and our use of the ball, and that’s what we really needed to get back to,” Plunkett explained.

Dublin GAA players announce Linwoods Partnership-4 Daire Plunkett at the announcement of the renewal of Linwoods' partnership with Dublin GAA at Parnell Park. Naoise Culhane Naoise Culhane

“When we have that workrate, we’re a very, very good team. But when we don’t have it and when we’re not bringing it — and we didn’t bring it against Tipperary, which was one of the most disappointing things, having had a very positive start to the year with the Walsh Cup, to the first league game to fall so flat — it was very disappointing that week and you would have doubts about why it didn’t happen that week for us.

“But since then we’ve been able to get back to it and it kind of proves that point to ourselves as much as anything else, that when we have that workrate and use the ball well, we’re a very, very good team.”

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