Cork flyer hoping to be better than ever after season out
Promising centre back on field after horror knee injury ended campaign in pre-season
Published 17/04/2015 | 02:30
The exodus from Munster's midfield at the end of last season left the No 12 and 13 jerseys vacant and up for grabs and for many Cian Bohane looked like the man who had seized his opportunity.
After just two senior appearances in as many seasons for the Munster senior side, the 23-year-old was a livewire in pre-season.
He scored a try in the 45-8 hammering at the hands of Gloucester where he wore 13 but that wouldn't be the unlucky number for him.
He wore 12 for the 17-5 win over London Irish and disaster struck with just five minutes remaining when an innocuous-looking collision ended the Douglas man's season before it could even get going.
"I was just coming across the pitch after making a line break. It was nearly as if the ball dropped, and me and one of their players went down to get it and my leg came out a bit too far and I completely hyper-extended my knee.
"It wasn't so much the pain at the time, when it happened it was nearly just more the shock of it, the feeling of your knee completely giving away.
"I knew when the physios came onto the pitch and they checked it, it was at that stage that I knew something pretty bad was after going wrong," says Bohane.
And while the initial injury rocked Bohane, the Cork back admitted that once the full prognosis was delivered it stunned him even further.
Not only had he ruptured his cruciate ligament, he also was faced with damage to crucial stabilising ligaments in his knee.
"I partially tore my ACL and I ruptured the posterolateral complex. It's a lot of things at the back of your knee and it was a substantial injury but thankfully it was looked after.
"Normally with ACL tears they give the old six-to-nine months target, but because of the nature of my injury, it was a bit more than just an ACL, there was a few aspects of it that needed to be considered.
"With the approach we're taking, they don't want me going back onto the pitch at 100 per cent. They want it 110 per cent.
"Like, we knew straight away it was bad and we planned that it was a season-long job and we're kind of focused on the rehab and recovering properly. That was the initial decision taken."
The recovery was long and arduous for Bohane who had hoped that this season would be his breakthrough campaign.
He said his optimistic approach towards life kept him focused on his recovery and a two-year contract extension in January was another massive step in the right direction.
"Straight away after I had the surgery and I was back kind of pottering around the gym, our backs coach Brian Walsh came up to me and told me not to worry at all contractually.
"He explained that there was definitely going to be something there for me and that was great.
"It just gives you confidence to focus solely on your rehab and getting back to the best possible condition you could be in and not having to worry about the contractual side of things.
"And I suppose it does show that they have good faith in me that they were willing to offer me a deal that's going to last for the next two years. I'm very grateful for them to do that for me. But still it's been a long, tough road during my recovery and thankfully with the help of all the strength and conditioning staff, and especially all the physio department, I'm nearly there now.
"It's been hard but it's great to be back on the pitch now and back running. Doing a bit of work with the lads and just getting a few miles under my belt again."
During his rehab Bohane has taken time to focus on his career outside of the game and he began studying for a BA degree in Strength and Conditioning through Setanta College.
When he is finished his four-and-a-half-year course that he does online he hopes to pursue secondary school teaching, but that comes after rugby.
By the time he arrives back on the scene, next pre-season Francis Saili will be another competitor that he will have to face off against for a centre spot but Bohane cannot wait to pit his skills against a two-time capped All Black.
"With the signing of Francis Saili as well it's going to be even harder to get that jersey but it's a great challenge and obviously there are two centre spots up for grabs there.
"The lads have done a brilliant job all season, especially Denis Hurley and Andrew Smith playing there this year, but hopefully I'll be able to try push them for contention and hopefully make one of those spots my own.
"It would be a great thing to be able to do, to say that you played with an All Black. They're a different kettle of fish altogether.
"I learned a lot from Casey Laulala, when he was here and he gave me a lot of advice. They just play a different style and it will be refreshing to play with someone with the skill-set that he has.
"I would watch a lot of Super Rugby and it's great to watch, but when you come up to the Northern Hemisphere that's not really the style that's played up here.
"Obviously it'd be brilliant to be able to play that way but this side of the world the way they play, it doesn't happen too often.
"But it's grand. Finding a balance between the two styles is key and I wonder if Francis will be able to throw open things a small bit."