IF Ross and Rossa footballers felt bad after events in Páirc Uí Rinn last Sunday week, spare a thought for John O’Rourke.
The Carbery Rangers and Cork forward is staring at up to four or five months out of football after he dislocated his left shoulder TWICE during last Sunday week’s Cork SFC semi-final defeat to Nemo Rangers.
O’Rourke, literally, crashed through the pain barrier, and then some, and all for Carbery Rangers and their bid to return to a second successive county final.
The Ross forward dislocated his shoulder in the early stages of the second half in Páirc Uí Rinn. The first attempt to pop it back into place on the field didn’t work, but, lying on the ground on the side of the field, the shoulder was pushed back in.
Amazingly, O’Rourke came back on and continued to play. Adrenaline eased the pain. And he wanted to soldier on. Why? Because, in his own words, he wanted to win so much for Ross, and he felt they were in the ascendancy at the time.
Was coming back on the wisest decision to make? Maybe not, but wild horses wouldn’t have stopped him returning to the field last Sunday.
There was no fairytale ending here though, as O’Rourke’s left shoulder popped out for a second time (without contact) in the closing stages, and to make a bad day worse, Ross loss by a single point.
With the muscles around his shoulder in spasm, he went to CUH after the match where he was sedated before it was popped back in for the second time on Sunday evening. He is pencilled in for a shoulder operation in early November.
Remember that this is the same shoulder he dislocated when playing for Cork in the national league final defeat against Dublin in Croke Park in late April.
It’s cruel luck on a player who put his body on the line for his club, who went above and beyond the expected to do whatever he could for his club, and who should have won a penalty in the final few minutes after he was fouled in the Nemo square, at a time when Ross trailed by just three.
‘It took savage courage to basically put himself on the line for the team,’ said Carbery Rangers manager Micheál O’Sullivan.
The last time I saw something similar was when another football warrior, Kerry back Aidan O’Mahony, broke the fibula in his left leg when playing for his club, Rathmore, in a Kerry Club SFC final win against Laune Rangers in 2011. He felt his leg crack ten minutes in after a challenge, got it heavily strapped and played the next 50 minutes at full forward where he kicked two points.
Footballers like O’Rourke and O’Mahony are the exceptions to the rule, soldiers who you want in the trenches with you at times of war. Luck hasn’t smiled on O’Rourke this year, at club or county level, so here’s hoping for a speedy recovery and we see him back to his best again early next season.