Comer feared the worst after suffering knee injury

Formidable Galway forward returned to action last week and hopes to feature in league final

Damien Comer is stretchered off the pitch with a knee injury during Galway's home clash against Roscommon in February. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Damien Comer feared his season was over in the immediate aftermath of the knee injury he suffered against Roscommon in early February.

The 2022 All Star forward was carried off the field on a stretcher, after landing awkwardly having contested a dropping ball in front of the Roscommon goal during the early stages of Galway’s home league match at Pearse Stadium.

Following medical treatment to his right knee, the Annaghdown man was stretchered off the field as concerns grew that he had suffered a cruciate tear.

Thankfully, the injury wasn’t season-ending and Comer made his comeback as a substitute in last Sunday’s win over Kerry. But he admits fearing the worst as he was carted off the pitch.

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“I thought I was a goner, to be honest,” says Comer. “I didn’t really know what I had done, I never hurt my knee before, but it was excruciating pain and I thought there had to be some damage of a serious extent.

“In fairness, the pain settled fairly quickly once I got into the dressingroom. And no real swelling started to show, so it was probably a positive sign.

“And the scan results came back and it was just bad bone bruising, it was very tender around the two bones; I was lucky I didn’t fracture them. The ligaments were a bit stretched but thankfully there was no serious damage.”

Comer had hyperextended the knee on landing, but with no ligament rupture he was able to resume straight line running approximately three weeks after the injury.

He gradually worked his way back to contact training and emerged off the bench during the second half last Sunday, sporting knee-strapping, and even managed to tag over a point.

“I kind of kept the strapping on more for peace of mind because there is good stability and strength in there, but just for myself it’s nearly an ease having it on more than anything,” he explains.

“I would have chatted to Padraic to see what he was thinking as regards minutes for that game.

“You can’t beat competitive action. It just gets your eye in again. I would have been a bit rusty the last day, but it was nice to get on and hopefully now I might see a few more minutes again at the weekend in the Allianz League final.”

Galway’s most recent Division One league final appearance was a 2018 defeat to Dublin. However, the last time the Tribesmen actually won the Division One title was way back in 1981 – coincidentally after coming out on top of an all-Connacht league final against Roscommon.

“I suppose it’s time we closed that gap or tried to change that,” he says. “When we talk about All-Irelands, our management team – the boys have All-Ireland medals but they don’t have a league medal and they’ve mentioned that too.

“It is a Division One title, a national title, and we’ll be hoping to go out and put in a performance to try and win it. But they are not easily won as you can see from the 42-year absence.”

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times