Updated: Monday, 03 Mar 2014 19:15 | Comments
There was much sympathy across the GAA family when it was confirmed that Colm Cooper would be out for the rest of the season.
Though it was, perhaps, an over exaggeration, Kerry County Board chairman Patrick O’Sullivan compared Gooch’s fate to a death in the family, while one newspaper headline said that his absence would devalue the football season.
As for the player himself, he is coming to terms with the fact that he will not grace the pitch again this year – a result of the cruciate ligament damage and knee fracture sustained while playing for Dr Crokes in their All-Ireland club semi-final with Castlebar Mitchels in Portlaoise.
Cooper recalls the moment his heart sank as he lay on the O’Moore pitch, fearing the worst.
“I felt a little click or pop or something. I was trying to tell myself that I didn’t feel it, but that was only a lie”
Speaking exclusively to RTÉ Sport, he said: “Deep down I knew there was quite a bit of damage done. I felt a little click or pop or something. I was trying to tell myself that I didn’t feel it, but that was only a lie.
“Coming off the pitch there was a lot of pain and devastation. My heart sank a little bit.
“Being told that you can’t play for the season is a real disappointment. For me, football means so much; it’s a huge part of my life. It’s probably the worst news you can get being a sportsperson.”
Cooper is determined that he will play again and he knows that he has still has much to offer with his club and county.
He added: “I have learned to cope with it over the last couple of days and I’m now focusing on getting back as soon as I can.
“The hunger and motivation is there. I don’t feel I’m quite done yet, even though I’m 30. I can come back.
“When you see the likes of Colm O’Neill returning that kind of inspires you and shows what can be done that a guy can come back after three cruciates.
“I’m going to work really hard over the next few months. It’s going to be a long road and there will be bumps along the way, but I’m confident and committed to getting back in 2015 first with Dr Crokes and then with the Kerry team.
“Hopefully, there’ll be good times again.”