Tuesday 21 November 2017

Ready for action after fighting back from cruel break

Back-row could yet return for Garryowen after nightmare leg injury that required two operations

Barry O'Mahony
Barry O'Mahony

Daragh Small

Barry O'Mahony has had a rough few months as he continues upon his road to recovery following a horrific leg break.

The 28-year-old Limerick native has spent five months on the sidelines and it took until now before he could even start thinking about taking the field again.

His ambition is to get back before the end of the season so that he can line out for Garryowen if they don't get promoted back into Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League tomorrow.

They take on Galwegians at Crowley Park and the back row knows that if they fail to win he could well be available for a potential promotion/relegation play-off if the chance arose.

"It was the second week of November when I picked up the injury. We did a contact block on Monday, training in UL, it was a live game situation and I just got caught badly in a ruck and ended up just breaking up my leg pretty much.

"I broke my fibula and I did a fair bit of damage to the ankle as well. So I broke it on the Monday and I got an operation on the Wednesday. Then I got a plate and nine screws put into it and I got some other bits and pieces in there as well.

"It's a long lay-off. I actually got another operation four weeks ago. I was doing okay but when I started to change direction I was getting a lot of pain around the plate so I got the plate removed now so I can train much better. That was a bit of a minor setback as well.

"I'm back running and just kind of going through the return to play protocols at the moment. I'd say maybe in a month's time I'll be back.

"Garryowen might have to go into a play-off to go up and I think I might be potentially back for that," he said.

O'Mahony began playing rugby at a young age after following in his father Gerry's footsteps and stepping onto the hallowed turf in Dooradoyle. His younger brother Ronan followed a similar path.

Barry went on to become a Munster back-row with four appearances for the senior side - he started off with the Garryowen minis and attended Crescent College Comprehensive.

"My father played for Garryowen when he was younger and I was always going to play rugby. I was up at Garryowen at a young age until I went to Crescent.


"I was very interested from a young age so I started at around U-8s or U-9s and went on to play at Crescent College."

From there he went on to study a degree in Commerce and a Masters in Corporate Finance at UCC where he changed his club allegiances to Dolphin after he relocated to Cork.

Cork was the ideal location for O'Mahony who was looking for a change of scenery, but wanted to continue with the Munster academy where he had a three-year stay.

After Dolphin, a move to the capital due to work commitments resulted in even more game time against his brother Ronan, who was fast making a name for himself as a flying winger with Garryowen.

"I didn't really play on the same team as him that much. I played a couple of times for Munster with him, but it was a bit weird.

"It was a bit strange to play with him but it was an enjoyable experience. I played against him when I was playing for Clontarf and he was playing for Garryowen so I experienced both sides of it.

"I found playing against him was strange because he might do something and you'd think 'go on'. I'd still be trying to encourage him and forget who we were playing."

While in Dublin, Barry experienced what many professional rugby players don't when he dipped his toes in the working world off the field.

At the time he wasn't part of the Munster set-up and he focused on his club rugby at Castle Avenue.

"I ended up playing for Clontarf because in 2008 there was no jobs anywhere bar Dublin, especially in my line of work."

From there his performances for 'Tarf ensured that he got his opportunity with the Munster A side. It was perfect timing and he was part of the team that claimed the B & I Cup when they beat Welsh side Cross Keys 31-12 at Musgrave Park in 2012.

His rugby career was now back on track and two years later he made his first start for Munster in Thomond Park when they beat Cardiff 54-13.

Injury caught up with him however and the leg break before Christmas was a cruel blow but the spare time that provided presented another opportunity outside of the game.

"I'm working with a company at the minute, we're given mentors as part of that progression into the working world post-rugby. IRUPA set us up with mentors.

"My mentor, Shane Leahy, is an ex-Irish international who owns a fantastic company called Oxgen8.

"We meet with IRUPA, former Olympic athlete Derval O'Rourke is working with them now, so I'd be working with her.

"But Shane's name wasn't on the list and I found him myself and asked IRUPA to approach him on my behalf and they did.

"The initiative has been really good for me as normally I have extra time when I'm playing rugby. Lately I've had extra, extra time, but I've been working with Shane throughout so that's been keeping me busy."

Irish Independent

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