Saturday 21 April 2018

Parents tell of day defender Shane nearly died on pitch

Shane Duffy during squad training at the Stade de France. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Shane Duffy during squad training at the Stade de France. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

The parents of rising Irish star Shane Duffy have described the moment he almost died on the pitch after a "freak accident".

The 24-year-old defender was overjoyed when he was selected for Irish squad for Euro 2016 - not least because he is lucky to be alive at all.

Shane needed life-saving surgery on a lacerated liver in May 2010 after a collision at training in Malahide, Co Dublin.

It is a story that Shane, from Co Donegal, cannot recall but it is etched on the memory of his father Brian, who witnessed the entire event.

"It's probably affected us more than Shane. Shane has moved on from this. We'll always remember it."

Standing outside the Tír na nÓg bar in Lille, there is nothing to distinguish Siobhan and Brian Duffy from the 200 other green-clad fans.

One Dublin supporter, unaware of who they are, sparks up a conversation about Martin O'Neill's team selection for tomorrow's game.

"I'd love to see Duffy start," the fan says.

"So would I," says Brian, "he's my son."

The response triggers a wave of laughter followed by a rousing rendition of 'Come on you boys in green'.

However, six years ago the couple thought it would be impossible to see their son play in the Euros. Brian recalled that fateful day.

"A corner was coming in and the goalkeeper came out with his two knees. It was a freak accident. He actually nipped the artery going into his liver.

"People said to me there must have been blood everywhere. But there wasn't, it was all inside him.

"While Shane was in surgery, the Irish team doctor came out and said: 'We could lose him'."

Siobhan described it as "the worst experience of my life".

Thankfully, surgeons were able to repair Shane's liver and he has made a full recovery.

He is tipped to play against Italy tonight.

Irish Independent

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