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'The terror, the fear — it was uncanny. I was never as afraid of anything in my life'

Meath GAA legend Sean Boylan opens up on his terrifying experience with Covid-19.

sean-boylan Meath GAA legend Sean Boylan. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

MEATH GAA LEGEND Sean Boylan has spoken out about his experience with Covid-19 last year — admitting that he has never been “as afraid of anything in my life”.

Boylan, who managed his native Royal county to four All-Ireland titles in a remarkable 23-year tenure, told RTÉ’s Sunday Sport how he was “just terrified” as the virus hit him “like a bolt” last March.

“It’s such a dangerous thing,” the 77-year-old said. “I’m speaking as somebody who went for a vaccination for pneumonia and the flu. Some six days later, I wasn’t feeling well. It turned out that I had Covid.

“I ended up in hospital and was discharged from hospital on 31 March.

It was totally out of the blue. I was never healthier, fit as a fiddle. I lost 10 kilos in six days. The people in Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown couldn’t have been nicer to me.

“But the terror, the fear – it was uncanny, it was unreal. I was never as afraid of anything in my life and I’m always very happy.

“But this, it took me weeks [to recover]. Tina, my wife, said to me one day and even the kids were saying that I was still a bit snappy and short.

“I went out walking in the fields. I remember saying to myself, ‘If someone came in to me like that what you be saying to them Sean?’ ‘Cop on! You’ve got a ferocious fright and you’ve got post-traumatic stress’. I took something for that and three hours later I started back and made a great recovery. The care and everything I got was huge.”

Boylan, who turned 77 in December and previously fought a battle with prostate cancer in 2009, spent six days in hospital, and it took him six weeks to recover. Thankfully, in full health now, he’s thankful to be out the other side of it and for all those around him.

“It was an extraordinary time but in a strange sort of way, it’s brought us very close together as a family. Sport was the lifeline.”

Boylan was in flying form throughout the wide-ranging interview, and of course, in his element speaking about GAA.

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He explained how his new role in the Down U20 backroom team under Conor Laverty came about, spoke about the positive signs and “green shoots” he sees in Meath football and touched on how he feels six-in-a-row champions Dublin aren’t “invincible”.

graham-geraghty-and-sean-boylan-2691999 Boylan and Geraghty in 1999. Source: Tom Honan/INPHO

Boylan, who works as a herbalist, also spoke about his 1999 All-Ireland winning captain Graham Geraghty, who had a massive health scare of his own recently.

The Meath legend suffered a brain haemorrhage while at work last October, and is now on the road to a full recovery after undergoing life-saving surgery at Beaumount Hospital. 

Just last week, Geraghty was confirmed as one of Bernard Flynn’s star-studded backroom team members for the Meath U20s.

“Graham is an extraordinary man,” Boylan said. “I was talking to him before Christmas there for seven or eight minutes, I couldn’t believe it. Everything was going through Amanda [his wife]. 

It’s a thing that really frightens me. When Graham got what he got, it was as bad as anyone has ever got. It’s a miracle what happened him in the hospital and all the people involved. An absolute miracle and a tribute to the man.

“He’s making an extraordinary recovery, it’s going to take time but you wouldn’t believe the good will that’s going towards him. He’ll need that, and all the help in the world. Amanda and the kids have been astonishing.”

“Graham, within the county, is a revered man,” he added, “and the funny thing is the lads in the county who would have had lots of runs in with him over the years were on. That’s the way it is in sport is; when the game is over, the game is over. 

“He’s a very young man for that to happen to him, but thanks be to God almighty for what the medical people did for him. The prayers and good will that went towards him were extraordinary. He’s on the way back.”

You can listen to the full interview below:

Source: RTĖ Sport/SoundCloud

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Emma Duffy

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