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'Your goals change from wanting to get on the team to trying to put on your shoe by yourself'

Galway full-back Seán Mulkerrin was sidelined for the season after picking up a serious knee injury.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

THE INJURY WAS so serious that the game had to be abandoned. After 58 minutes of the Sigerson Cup game, NUI Galway’s Seán Mulkerrin fell to the ground clutching his knee. There he lay for another 30 minutes.

Eventually, the game was halted before time had fully elapsed and an ambulance arrived. The Aran Islander suffered a broken patella. It was shattered in two places. “I did a right good job on it I’m afraid,” he recalls with a grimace. 

Mulkerrin never received an explanation for the delay. At the time, easing the overwhelming pain was the main priority. 

“I think they were in high demand. And I’m not sure if there was an ambulance even at the game so I think that’s why there’s a bit of a delay,” says Mulkerrin.

“I was in such agony I didn’t realize how cold it was or what was going on. I just found a comfortable spot and bided my time I suppose. I didn’t really notice it much at the time until people in the next few days or next few weeks were saying how long you were actually sitting there.”

aib-gaa-football-all-ireland-senior-championship-launch-2022 Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

He looked destined to continue as Galway’s number three after nailing down his spot over the past two seasons. Instead, Mulkerrin made do as waterboy for their Connacht final victory over Roscommon. 

Missing out on that and NUIG’s Sigerson Cup success was understandably tough to swallow. 

“It was very tough mentally now, like nothing I’ve experienced before. It’s my first kind of major injury. I’ve had a few groins and a few hammers, but nothing crazy like that.

“Mentally challenging, it was definitely challenging because you go from planning, the Sigerson game I came on with 20 minutes to go and I was building because I was actually out with a groin strain at the time. It was actually building up fitness and getting back into training.

“And then your goals all of a sudden change from wanting to push to get on the team for the first league game against Meath to trying to put on your shoe or your sock by yourself. It certainly did change and was challenging but luckily with people around me, I got through it.

“I actually chatted to two lads in the setup. Paul Conroy had a double leg fracture and was out for a good while and he’s been great in terms of advice and challenges that he faced when he was injured.

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“And then of course then you have John Daly there at centre back who has also gone through his share of injuries with knees as well. It’s great to have those lads around you because they just make the journey back a lot easier. You can actually relate to them because they’ve been through it and more.”

As for his team-mates, a huge opportunity lies ahead. It starts on Sunday, as they prepare to face Armagh in a packed Croke Park. 

“I suppose with Tyrone winning it last year and them being gone shows how competitive it actually is. Because the champions are gone and it’s anyone’s game now really. It just depends who shows up on the day.”

 Seán Mulkerrin was speaking at the launch of AIB’s new content series Drive as part of its sponsorship of the 2022 GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.  

About the author:

Maurice Brosnan

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