Rory O’Carroll concussion only came to light after game – Jim Gavin

‘If we had known the extent of Rory’s injury he would have been off,’ says Dublin coach

It was just before the hour mark in Sunday’s All-Ireland final that Rory O’Carroll instinctively did his best Brian O’Driscoll impression.

Granted, it was Enda Varley and not Springbok giant Danie Rossouw but the collision knocked the Dublin fullback out cold. He awoke to a yellow card and a Mayo free-kick but replays confirmed a square shoulder.

And like O'Driscoll in the 2009 Lions second Test (though in the former's case only for three minutes), O'Carroll did enough to convince the medics he was fit to play on.

"Rory O'Carroll went open-heartedly for a ball and came off second-best in the challenge and spent the last 15 minutes of the game spaced or more spaced," said Dublin doctor David Hickey yesterday.

Dublin, of course, had used up every substitute. There was also the issue of Eoghan O’Gara taking up residence near the Mayo square having torn his hamstring.


O’Carroll was shifted out the field, away from man-marking duties, before wandering back to the square’s edge, where Stephen Cluxton expressed visible concern at his condition.

“Yeah, we found that out after the game,” said Dublin manager Jim Gavin.

Should he have continued? “No, if a player is concussed he should have been off. He had a bang to the head, as did Jonny Cooper and Philly McMahon, along with one or two others.

“Jonny came straight off because he was diagnosed with concussion and he even vomited up there in the dugout afterwards but if we had known the extent of Rory’s injury he would have been off, but I think for a guy who they said had concussion afterwards, he seemed to play well.

“But that is something that we need to look at in Gaelic games anyway.”

Did O’Carroll refuse to come off?

“He said he was fine and the doctor had a look at him, and they had a look at Jonny and Jonny said he was “good to go” and they said “no” so you rely on the medical guys to make that call.

"We have two experienced guys there, so they made the right call with Jonny to get him off."

Earlier this summer Dr Seán Moffatt, who wrote the GAA's position statement on concussion, stated they would not be following the protocols adopted by professional rugby union.

"Given all the international research and guidelines regarding sports concussion I don't see how they can have that five-minute rule in rugby," Dr Moffatt told The Irish Times.

“That’s not something the GAA advise. As SCAT [sport concussion assessment tool – version three] states, any athlete with suspected concussion should be removed from play and not return to the present game, be medically assessed, monitored for deterioration and not allowed back to play until they complete the return to play protocol and are medically passed fit.

“During initial period of recovery from concussion players should not drive a vehicle, and may require cognitive rest from work and studies to allow symptoms to settle.

“This is especially important in our sports where players are amateurs and hold down jobs or are students where they have other demands and limited recovery time compared to professional players.”

Cooper said yesterday: “All Irelands are there to be won. Die on every ball. Do that and we would be in with a chance of coming out victorious.”

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent