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'There Were Some Bad Moments. You Start Overthinking Everything'

'There Were Some Bad Moments. You Start Overthinking Everything'

At the GAA's McNamee Awards last week, Sportsfile's Brendan Moran won Photo Of The Year for his shot of Limerick corner-back Sean Finn following the final whistle of last year's All-Ireland hurling final against Galway.

It is an image which beautifully captures the joy of Limerick ending a 45-year drought. Beyond the victory, Finn had his own personal reasons for exhilaration.

Two-and-a-half years earlier, while playing for the University of Limerick in a Fitzgibbon Cup watch against Mary I, he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury. It would be 13 months before he returned to the hurling pitch.

An All-Ireland minor finalist in 2014 and All-Ireland U21 winner in 2015, Finn had been called up to the Limerick senior panel for the first time just months earlier.

He underwent surgery at the Santry Sports Clinic.

"I was really off for eight months with it," said Finn at the launch of Patrick Bourke Menswear's 'King of the Game' campaign, "but then I got my Co-Op (work) placement from college in Wexford so I couldn't actually come back training from January to March which added another three months.

"But in a way that was the best thing that happened with me because that extra three months rehab and recovery has really stood to me.

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"While I was in Wexford I trained with a club team down there, St Mary's, who looked after me very well."

While seeing contemporaries playing championship hurling was hard to take, there was an upside. He had time to travel, a chance inter-county players usually only get when they deliberately take time out from the game or exit the championship early.

"It was very frustrating at times," said Finn, one of the six Limerick players to win an All-Star last year.

That summer was very tough. There was championship games on and you felt in your head that you were good enough to play and you wanted to play and you'd see the bus taking off with all your friends on it.

I got an opportunity to do a bit of travelling, to see what's outside the hurling bubble if you like, so that was probably good for me and I included a few weeks in South East Asia.

Often times you'd give out about going training because we do a lot of it, but then you think back to those miserable moments when all you wanted to do was play and you were seeing your friends out playing. I was actually envious and jealous of them at the time.

The rehab is so tedious and meticulous. There were some bad moments alright. You start overthinking everything with your knee.

If you hear a crack, or go over on it, or wake up one morning and it's swollen, and you don't know why, you start panicking. You just have to trust whatever (programme) your physio has given you.

But I got it done well and looked after it properly and the one good thing from it was that I realised just how much I wanted to play, that the appetite and the hunger is still there.

Coincidentally, Sean's twin sister Sarah, a camogie player, had just recovered from a cruciate injury when he suffered his. She got the all-clear on a Saturday and just two days later, he was in a heap.

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His Bruff teammate Paul Browne is also only just back from the same injury.

"He's flying with the club," said Finn.

"He'd be a guy who'd always look after himself well and would have done the rehab very well. Richie (McCarthy) is on the road again too and hoping to get back for the middle of the summer.

"But I wouldn't have given them any advice because I'm not their age. When it happened to me I was only 19 and I had the luxury of being able to give it an extra couple of months. I think it's more a mental battle with yourself really, that you have to force yourself to do the rehab six months later, right to the finest detail. If you do that right it does work."

Limerick hurler Sean Finn is pictured at the Patrick Bourke Menswear 'Kings Of The Game' campaign launch in Ennis, Co. Clare. Available now from www.patrickbourkemenswear.ie, the exclusive ‘Kings Of The Game’ spring collection combines style and performance as players and fans prepare for this summer’s Championship season. Photos by Sportsfile

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