Sunday 20 January 2019

You learn to appreciate the small things, every day is special - Byrne

Leinster’s Ed Bryne. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster’s Ed Bryne. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Back in November, Ed Byrne completed a personal milestone that may have gone unnoticed by the wider public.

In his three previous seasons with Leinster, the loosehead prop had never started a game, nor had he played more than four times for his home province.

Twenty-eight months out injured will do that to any player, but even at 24, Byrne has had to battle through his fair share of setbacks.

"You learn to appreciate things like that a lot more, you don't take anything for granted," the Carlow native admitted.

"Every day is special. Starting against Dragons was my first start at the RDS and for other players that might be different, whereas for me it was huge."

Clocked With three months of the season still left to play, Byrne has already clocked up 12 appearances - four starts and another eight off the bench.

After rupturing his ACL in 2014, he lasted seven minutes of his comeback as he damaged the same knee but suffered a different injury.

"It was incredibly tough, no doubt about it," Byrne recalled. "I had a torn ACL, rehabbed for 10 months, played five minutes in a pre-season game and was out for another 18 months.

"It was incredibly tough. There were times when I thought it wasn't going to get much better. I was 10 months in, still in a lot of pain and not even running. That was worrying.

"I never really thought, 'This is not worth it'. I kept that belief. Thankfully, my quads started responding to the treatment. That was the problem.

"I couldn't switch my quads on properly and it led to a lot of knee pain. When that started to get better, I could see the light. I kept moving forward from there."

Byrne is now aiming to make up for lost time but he knows that is easier said than done, particularly with two Lions props ahead of him.

"It's going to be tough, no doubt about it," he added. "By having them on a pedestal almost, I've to get better and hope it will make me a better player."

Irish Independent

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