Matthews 'gutted' after injury cuts short career at Connacht
Published 29/11/2011 | 05:00
CONNACHT centre Keith Matthews has become the latest Irish rugby player to have his career cut short by injury.
Matthews confirmed yesterday that his playing days were at an end due to an Achilles injury he picked up seven months ago and joins the likes of Leinster duo Ian McKinley and John Fogarty, Connacht's Conor O'Loughlin and Ulster pair David Pollock and Bryn Cunningham who have all had their careers ended prematurely.
The 28-year-old Matthews spent seven seasons at Connacht after a move from Munster and made more than 100 appearances for the Galway side before suffering the injury during the captain's run for a league game against Cardiff.
"I was running and went to go off my left and it was like as if someone had kicked me really hard. I looked back and there was no one there. I knew straight away it was bad, the pain was something else," he said.
The Ireland 'A' international expected to make a full recovery but suffered a setback in September and two weeks ago, a Belfast-based specialist informed the Limerick native his playing days were at an end.
"It was heartbreaking. I was gutted and it took a long time for it to sink in. There were a few tears as I realised this was it, there was no way back. That took time to sink in and I'm still coming to terms with it," he said.
Aside from management and a few others, Matthews kept the devastating news to himself as Connacht were preparing for their Heineken Cup debut against Harlequins.
"I didn't want any negativity to go around, either for the Quins game or the first home match against Toulouse, so I waited before I told the lads.
"It struck me in the stand against Toulouse and again last weekend against the Ospreys that I would never again experience the thrill of being out there, the buzz from the crowd when you make a break or get a tackle in.
"But that's what I need to adjust to. I'm not the first, nor will I be the last, to have his career cut short. I just thought I would get another two or three years out of it, maybe when I was 30 or 32."