Wednesday 21 March 2018

Young backs Galvin to make case for defence

'Paul will be big success at centre-back,' insists Kerry stalwart as he battles back from leg break

Killian Young is looking forward to a run of games in the Kerry colours after recovering from a horror injury last August
Killian Young is looking forward to a run of games in the Kerry colours after recovering from a horror injury last August
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Killian Young doesn't dilute the gruesome detail of the leg break and dislocated ankle that ended his 2013 season prematurely and has cast a long shadow over his participation with Kerry in the forthcoming league.

Kerry's former All-Ireland U-21 winning captain describes the moment his leg crumpled beneath him and his foot was bent in a different direction quite matter of factly.

No wince, no grimace, just an acceptance that "it's football, it's life".

"You just knew," he recalls of the Saturday afternoon of a training weekend at the Fota Island resort in Cork, eight days before Kerry's epic All-Ireland semi-final with Dublin.

"You heard a crack and you looked down and your foot is gone in a completely different direction. You just knew that was your time. At that moment I was in complete shock. I didn't actually feel anything until I got to Cork University Hospital and I had the morphine then so I was happy.

"My ankle was actually strapped at the time but it was the way the ankle turned over so much, it dislocated. And for your ankle to dislocate, your fibula has to break. It all happened in a split-second. I looked tough at the time because I was in shock. I was lying looking down at my foot. But that's sport and it can happen."

It wasn't a sight for the squeamish, he accepts, and those around him got quite a shock.

"I think the whole fact that I broke my leg, I lost train of thought. The foot was kind of pointing the wrong way anyway. It's one of those things that you think if it happens, you'll be absolutely roaring in pain, but you go into complete shock," he says.

Eight days later he was propped up in bed at home watching one of the great games of the modern era unfold.

"Being bed bound was a strange feeling for such a big Kerry game having been involved since 2006. It was a major change," he says.

For the first two weeks he was committed to the bed with the leg up to prevent swelling and infection. For another six weeks he was in an air cast before proper rehab could begin.

At no stage was he advised that his career was under threat.

"I was worried at the start but Johnny McKenna (surgeon) reassured me. He's a professional with ankles. All is good once the work is done well. There'll be a lot of work to be done by myself to strengthen it but it should be good."

He hopes to see some league action at the back end of the campaign but is reluctant to nail down a date.

In the meantime he expects the experiment of playing Paul Galvin at centre-back to continue. In their final two McGrath Cup games Galvin has stepped in for the last quarter and looked quite the part on a line that he has some previous experience in.

"I think he will be a big success there. Paul is a very versatile player who is comfortable on the ball, and is a very organised person as well," says Young.

"That's the key at centre-back, being organised and having your defence set. I think it will be an interesting one. Hopefully when I come back, I can put a bit of pressure on Paul and on the wing-backs as well, which will push the team forward."

It's a potential new lease of life for Galvin, Young acknowledges.

"It would be like any player in a new position. I really do think Paul would be a success there. He's in great condition, looks after himself really well and is a fantastic leader. He'll bring great experience to the half-back line, which will be needed."


Young was reassured about Kerry's future by the way they dug themselves out of the hole they were in after losing their first four league games.

"When we were put to the pin of our collar with three games to go, and suddenly it looked fairly bleak, we won the three games. When the gun was put to our head, we were able to do it," he says.

Further reassurance came in the performance against Dublin.

"I don't think we were one bit surprised. Looking back on it, we were very confident. We weren't a bit fearful of Dublin. We felt that we had enough to do it. Now obviously we didn't, but if things were done differently?" he wonders.

"You need to learn from your mistakes and if you cut out those unforced errors, half of them at least, you could have been in a better position and God only knows what would have happened."

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport