Monday 19 August 2019

'You get a little bit of doubt' - Dublin's Davy Byrne eager to make up for lost time after injury hell

Byrne:
Byrne: "Initially I thought that around this time last year I’d be getting back on the pitch. But it wasn’t to be." Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Dublin's Davy Byrne has already completed the set. An All-Ireland winner at minor, U-21 and now four times at senior level - not to mention Sigerson Cup success with UCD - he's already put down a glittering career at the age of just 25.

But even in his glittering career there have been a few lows. He was part of the minor side in 2011 that conspired to lose a six-point lead late in the day to Tipperary.

And he was full-back when 1-6 was enough for Longford to win in Parnell Park in the Leinster U-21 Championship.

More recently, he's had to endure a frustrating injury setback that ruined his 2018 campaign.

A foot injury looked like it would rule him out for about six weeks. Instead, as it turned out, he didn't play again for the whole season.

"It was kind of a weird one. I tried to get back. I broke a bone in my foot. You take six weeks off to take the weight off it but then it didn't actually fuse together, which then knocked me out for the full championship," said Byrne.

"So initially I thought that around this time last year I'd be getting back on the pitch. But it wasn't to be."

He also admitted the extended period of time out did cause him to wonder if he'd even return to full fitness.

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"You get a little bit of doubt. And I suppose with any injury, the more you play on it, the more confident you get on your foot and your injury and your own performance.

"So the more games and more training you get, the more confident you feel."

And despite picking up a fourth winner's medal last year, he insists it doesn't hold the same value for him as the others.

"I got a medal (for 2018). I don't know if, when I reflect on my career, how many All-Irelands I'll feel I'll have won. But I have the medal, yeah."

Byrne has returned to full fitness, something that is particularly welcome in light of Jonny Cooper's ongoing struggles.

"It was a long time coming back from the surgery because I didn't play in the first two games of the league. At the start of training, when we met back in January, I was doing my own thing and getting back to fitness levels.

"Then eventually I got back to fitness and got the health back."

Byrne has been an ever present since and has held on to that spot even with the return of Rory O'Carroll.

Even allowing for Meath's profligacy in the Leinster final, the concession of just four points represented a good day's work for Byrne and the rest of the rearguard.

"Defensively, I suppose, from a defender's perspective, it was great on the day. We really did well to keep them off the scoreboard for as long as possible.

"Having said that, they did get a good few opportunities and didn't take them. And if they had, it would have been a tighter game on the day."

Dublin roll on. On Sunday they face Cork in Croke Park for their 'home' Super 8s game. Noise around Dublin's advantages washes over Byrne though.

Focus

"I just try and keep my focus on training and on what I'm doing.

"You have to be on your toes all the time or your performances will slip. Just keep my focus on training and keep my focus on what I need to do.

"And then focus on the next game, when it comes. I just try not to tune into it too much."

"We get a three-week run-in (to the Super 8s). It's a good time to get a bit of intensity in training.

"And then when the Super 8s come, there won't be any time for any tough training, so a bit of time to get out on the training pitch and work on a few things."

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