We have all had our fair share of injuries playing sport, from dodgy ankles to pulled hamstrings. It’s all part and parcel of playing the game. Every now and again you do get a woeful bad injury, a ligament tear or a dislocated shoulder for example. Sure only last weekend, unfortunately for all Kerry fans and GAA fans in general, the great Gooch Cooper fell victim to an awkward challenge, tore his ACL joint that will now leave him supping on Carlsberg and counting his All stars for the rest of the season, depressing that we won’t see his dummy solo followed by a curled point off the inside of his left peg in Croker this summer.Well a few years back I suffered a horrible auld injury myself - made absolute shit of my cheek bone!!
I was playing in a run of the mill league game with my club over in TRIMMMMM! It was a very hot sunny day. The sun was beaming above one of the goals making it impossible to see the ball. Any midfielder will tell you that, that it is a nightmare when you are trying to win a kick out. Screaming: “RORYSSSSS BALLL” and you haven’t the foggiest where the ball is in mid-air!Well, this game was on about 10 minutes and we were up by a couple of points. Our keeper placed the ball on his tee and let rip down the middle. I called for it (I’m the type of midfielder who calls for every ball in sight and might only win half of them), a big awkward lump in other words! So as I called for this ball the sun made complete and utter eye contact with me and I couldn’t see a thing…BANG!! All I remember is getting off the ground and my opponent saying to me, “Holy Jaysus lad your face”.. ‘huh? what’s wrong!!?’, I turned to another lad and he said the same!
Next our club chairman came over and says “jaysus buuck your cheek bone is broke”. I was then guided off the pitch as I’d some concussion and into the changing room I went. I had a look in the mirror and I’m not messing, my cheekbone was down hugging my Adams apple! “LOVELY” - so it was straight to Navan hospital for me. One of the selectors; a very decent skin from Shhligo said he would bring me in. Now Mick is a legend of a man but didn’t grasp the seriousness of my situation! We got in the car and Mick – being the diehard GAA man he is, had to tune in LMFM radio to listen to another game before we had even left the grounds!! - GAA man to the core. “Take your time there Mick, no panic!!” So we eventually left. I remember just bouncing back and forward in the front seat in desperate pain altogether while Mick was timing red lights to perfection. “Mick, for the love of god will ya put the boot down”.Everything about the trip to the hospital was torture, from the heat of the sun beaming in on us, to the Sunday drivers out in force, going 29MPH along every poxy road! As we were coming close to Navan, being the situation I was in, by accident didn’t Mick thunder over a ramp and BANG, flat fucking tyre!! “ Ahh jaysus, you have to be kidding me”. And so, we had to pull in to a nearby shop to change the tyre.
Picture this; there was me in the front seat shaking with pain and Mick out changing the tyre, absolutely faccking typical were my thoughts! Mick being the decent sod he is, went into the shop and came back out with a mars bar and a bottle Lucozade, “Now Rory that will keep you going till dinner”!! I could barely open my eyes with the pain, let alone my shattered cheekbone to chew on a mars bar!!!! I would have loved to let rip but I couldn’t because at the end of the day he was helping me out. Eventually we got going again, arriving at Navan hospital a solid 77 minutes after I’d dismantled my cheekbone.I tried to give my details to the person at reception but my cheekbone was in that much of a heap I could barley get the sentence out, “Mick will you give my details there, thanks” Mick goes up gives as much details as he could about me and arrives back down to our seats with a glass of water and one and a half panadol!! “Here Rory, they gave me these to ease the pain for you”. Now giving a man with his cheekbone like a scrambled egg, one and a half panadol would be like giving a whale a figroll to satisfy his appetite. “Ahh jaysus Mick have they anything stronger?” he went back up and came back down with 3 panadol!! “Awe lord bless us and save us”.
I remember that casualty room well, full of chaps in all kinds of football gear, everyone as pissed off as each other being there.One lad was giving out stink to his mother, “Jaysus Mammy, my ankle is fecking killing me, I cant move it, its broken, defiantly broken!” .. “Ah Pet, I’m sure you will be ok and will be grand for your school lessons on Monday!!” That actually made me laugh, typical mother thing to say, more concerned about little Jimmy not missing school then the bone in his ankle popping out to say hello to the whole of casualty.
About 2 hours later, while sitting there absolutely starving but couldn’t eat a thing, the Doctor calls me in,
“Hello Sir, what appears to be the problem??” Now I don’t know if he was either drunk blind or both, but for a man who went to college for half his life to ask me that question and I with the cheekbone dismantled, summed up the day I was having!! – Some Cheek!!