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'I Said, 'Look, I Am In Serious Bother Here' And He Asked Would I Make It To Half-Time'

'I Said, 'Look, I Am In Serious Bother Here' And He Asked Would I Make It To Half-Time'
By PJ Browne

Three minutes into December's All-Ireland final against Dublin and Mayo's chances suffered a blow not registered on the scoreboard.

With the teams level, Paddy Durcan - the man tasked with marking Dublin orchestrator Ciaran Kilkenny - suffered the first of two quad muscle strains which would force him to exit the game.

"I wasn’t running at top speed or anything like that and then the second incident, just before the water break, I was in my full stride then," says Durcan.

"That was a real pull and it really restricted me. You are certainly aware of it but you try and manage it and I tried to manage it as best I could for the last bit of the first half to just get by and not be found out too much. It certainly limited me and there is no point in saying any different. I was not at near full capacity.

"I ran straight over to the doctor at the water break and said it to him because the second incident happened just 30 seconds before the water break. I said, 'Look, I am in serious bother here' and he asked would I be able to make it to half-time, and I said I would try my best. The decision was made at half-time then and James (Horan) changed things up."

De Facto Shaving Oil Ambassador Paddy Durcan pictured at the launch of his partnership with the Castlebar based business. Picture credit: Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX

Kilkenny scored three points in the final, though the first of those did not come until late in the first half.

"I did okay I suppose during the time I was on him," Durcan says.

"I don't think necessarily it was my brilliant defending or anything like that. I thought we played the better football in the first-half as a team. There wasn't that much ball coming into him. As I said, I wasn't moving at full output so I don't think it was definitely my brilliantly defending by any means or anything like that.

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"I thought we did a lot of things right in the first-half, as a team, bar getting killed for a couple of goals. But we played a lot of good football. I thought maybe as a forward unit they probably didn't get a massive chance to showcase what they could do for that half, as I said, more so than my defending.

"It is difficult when you're watching on. I've been lucky enough, it's not something I've had to do too much. It definitely was strange.

"You probably come to terms with that fairly quickly, in a matter of minutes, and you're trying to help the lads at half-time to encourage them and to say that there's a right chance for us to finish off the game.

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"I was able to move on from it fairly quick but obviously I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a tinge of disappointment that I wasn't able to play in the second-half."

Durcan's absence from last month's football All-Star team was one of the major talking points of the awards. The 26-year-old - who won his first All-Star in 2019 - knows he was in contention for a spot but "wouldn't have massive complaints" about not getting the nod.

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The three months since the final have been spent recovering from the injury. The season again being disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic means he may be available when inter-county football resumes.

"To be honest I haven't been able to do an awful lot myself with the quad injury I got in the final," the Castlebar man says, "I have been getting scans and stuff on it just to see where it is at and consultation with the physios so I haven't been doing a whole amount myself, only the rehab monotonous stuff and a light bit of running.

"It was a weird one, it was kind of two injuries, the first one three and a half minutes in and the second one right before the water break so there was a good enough tear in it. Obviously we are now three months post final so if the national league went ahead when it normally goes ahead in January and February I most certainly would have missed that. Hopefully when it does come back I'll be in a position myself to come back."

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Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

See Also: 'He Would Get In The Galway Team On The Basis Of His Hurling Ability'

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