Damien Comer: I thought my season was over when my knee went

Damien Comer in action against Paul Geaney of Kerry during their Allianz Football League Division 1 match. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Donnchadh Boyle

Galway sharpshooter Damien Comer says he feels very lucky to be playing in Sunday’s Division 1 NFL final as he thought his season was over when his knee crumbled in a clash with Roscommon.

The pain was, initially, blinding. He was stretchered from the field with manager Pádraic Joyce telling reporters afterwards that “it didn’t look good” for his full-forward.

“I thought I was a gonner to be honest,” Comer said ahead of Sunday’s Allianz final clash with Mayo. “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 serious damage.

“But in fairness the pain settled fairly quickly once I got into the dressing room. 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 no serious damage.”

The injury kept him out for just a few weeks, making his return in last week’s win over Kerry. Shane Walsh is also back after an extended break in the wake of Kilmacud Crokes’ All-Ireland win.

And Comer believes that injury and absence have helped Galway add more depth. “The last two were maybe the most impressive,” he said. “Armagh is always a hard one and then Kerry, so we have been steadily improving and we have had a chance to look into our squad as well.

“The injuries when they happen are unfortunate, but it gives you a chance to look at your squad and the lads who have come in have done brilliantly well.”

“It’s probably an area where we would have fallen down and took a bit of stick for last year in the final, not having enough lads to come in and change the game and fair play to management they have really gotten that under control this year, lads have put their hands up it’s great.”

Sunday’s final is a repeat of the 2001 league final and also comes just a week before Mayo start their championship campaign when they welcome Roscommon to Castlebar.

“Mayo seem to be playing really, really well. They probably are the in-form team in the league - performance-wise anyway. They’ve been impressive enough. When a new manager comes in like that... especially Kevin, who has a good past record, he’s well-experienced in that role and he has a great backroom team under him as well, so he’s obviously getting a good tune out of all the lads.

“We know as well as anyone what Mayo are like. They’re always competitive and they’ve been that way for the last 10-plus years. You know you’re going to get a tough battle any day you play them and it’s been no different over the last few years. I’m sure it’ll be the same again on Sunday. He seems to be getting a nice tune out of the players and I suppose he’s developed younger players who are playing really well for them too.”