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Rory O'Carroll on concussion, injuries and Dublin being All-Ireland favorites

The star chats to us about his side’s encouraging start to the campaign and returning to full fitness.

O'Carroll has had an injury-interrupted 2014 campaign.
O'Carroll has had an injury-interrupted 2014 campaign.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

DUBLIN FOOTBALLER RORY O’Carroll is no stranger to concussion.

His side were criticised by a brain injury awareness group last year, after they allowed the star to continue on, despite taking a heavy knock during last year’s All-Ireland final.

O’Carroll now says he is encouraged by the greater attention being given to this issue, following his team’s regrettable failure to act promptly last September

“I think at that conference at the Aviva, Brian O’Driscoll’s uncle spoke, and that got a good bit of coverage. Paul Flynn got a knock a few weeks ago. He wasn’t sure if it was a concussion or not, but he was put out for a few weeks anyway, just in case it was. That was a signal. Knowing Paul he wanted to play, saying he was grand, but they wouldn’t let him play.”

O’Carroll also recalls how his injury in last year’s final wasn’t the only dangerous blow he’s received over the course of his career.

“I had one before, as a minor, and I think did play on. No one knew it at the time. I think players do want to continue, because they don’t consciously know.”

The star’s 2014 campaign has also been hampered by various setbacks. He was out for eight weeks until recently after suffering medial ligament damage to his knee and also broke his leg just prior to the start of the year.

“I got my leg broken before Christmas, so I was on crutches for about five weeks, so I had enough of a break then. I was ready to come back. It was quite frustrating, to be honest.

“It was on impact, so I didn’t think it was [a cruciate injury]. Then I got a scan and it turned out to be worse than I thought. But still, nothing major.”

He thus fortunately avoided the same fate as Kilmacud Crokes teammates Mark Davoren and Paul Griffin.

“They’ve been ruled out of football because of them, so I count myself lucky. Although it was frustrating at the same time.”

Rory O'Carroll and Benny Coulter with Finian Malone Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

(Launch of the 2014 Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camps Programme. Dublin footballer Rory O’Carroll and Down footballer Benny Coulter with Finian Malone, 6)

And now that he is injury free again, he can focus on Dublin’s All-Ireland campaign, as they bid to win the title for the second year running.

Early signs are promising, with O’Carroll starring in their comprehensive recent Division 1 league final defeat of Derry. Does he consequently think their All-Ireland favourites tag is justified?

“I haven’t seen that. I’m not a betting man so I don’t look at those things. There’s a huge amount of expectation every year, regardless. In 2009, we were favourites to do this, that and the other and we got hammered by Kerry.

“In 2012, we were favourites to beat Mayo, but they beat us well that day. So I wouldn’t read too much into these things. There are no guarantees in sport, as we all know.”

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