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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 7 July, 2020

'At times I was ready to throw in the towel': Ryan O'Dwyer's emotional return to hurling

Dublin star back in action following serious assault in England last year.

O'Dwyer marked his return with a point against Wexford.
O'Dwyer marked his return with a point against Wexford.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

RYAN O’DWYER COULDN’T find words to describe the feeling as he made his return to inter-county hurling on Saturday night.

The Kilmacud Crokes clubman came off the bench and marked his comeback with a point as Dublin saw off Wexford in Croke Park..

It was O’Dwyer’s first appearance since suffering a serious assault in England last November when an attack outside a Birmingham nightclub left him hospitalised with a broken jaw, fractured skull and bleeding of the brain.

“It was great to get back on the pitch, it was like going out making my debut again” he said of his return.

“If lads see you coming back from what I came back from and try your best, hopefully they’ll feed off it.

I don’t think there’s any words to describe how I feel just to get back on the pitch. That was a goal for me and now I want to go on from that.

“I just need to get sharp now. Apart from the two club games that’s the first bit of hurling I’ve had this year so yeah, it’s great to get back.

“I’ve hit a goal but at the same time I’ll reassess things and make other goals.”

O’Dwyer admits that the road to recovery wasn’t easy.

“My personality totally changed (during the recovery). I was horrible, I was agitated. Thank God the doctor said that this is a side effect, that I’d be irritable, I’d be aggressive.

“Doing the running was very hard because I could see the lads training and I was just getting pissed off.

I went through every emotion there was to go through. At times I was ready to throw in the towel.

“The people that I’ve been surrounded by the past couple of months, whether it’s team-mates, management, physios or family, they’ve all been so positive, even when I was at my worst.”

The Tipperary-born forward, who declared for Dublin in 2011, is looking forward to the year ahead and hoping that Dublin may make waves.

“Every year it’s (Kilkenny) who everyone sets their standard against. It’s going to be a massive task but all we can do is give 100%.

“I’m sure if you talk to the public, there’ll be loads of talk, ‘Kilkenny this, Kilkenny that’, but all we can do is look after ourselves.”

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Emma Duffy

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