Clare boss Davy Fitzgerald has revealed that exciting young defender Oisín O’Brien underwent emergency surgery on a punctured lung in an Austrian hospital earlier this month, writes Jackie Cahill.
It has emerged that Clonlara defender O’Brien flew to Austria on the morning after the Allianz Hurling League final replay victory over Waterford before being treated there.
Following initial hospital checks on the evening of the game, O'Brien was released but a subsequent medical report received by Clare revealed a more serious problem and by then, the corner back was on his way to visit his girlfriend.
O’Brien had been ruled out of the game after struggling in the pre-match warm-up, and replaced by Jack Browne, but he believed he was well enough to travel before frantic attempts were made to contact him when he landed in Austria.
O'Brien ended up in hospital for four days and had to return to Ireland via train and boat.
Fitzgerald admitted that he can’t pinpoint exactly when O’Brien sustained the injury that resulted in a degree of “panic” in the Clare dressing-room before the Waterford rematch.
He recalled: “He was putting on his jersey. There was a bit of panic inside because he couldn't breathe.
“And being Oisín, he tried to come out on the field and he couldn't breathe.
“I had to walk him in out of the field that day. He was on his knees inside in the dressing-room. He was taken to hospital in Clonmel.”
Fitzgerald added: “He was actually out in Austria when we got the results back from the hospital. He probably shouldn’t have gone but he did.
“He had about ten missed calls the next day so he had to go straight to hospital there and get it done.
“We couldn’t fly him home, we had to get him back by train and by boat.
“It took us a bit of time to get him back, he was in hospital for four days out there, getting a procedure done.”
O’Brien returned to training on Wednesday evening and is in contention for a starting place against Waterford in the Munster SHC semi-final on Sunday week, June 5.
Fitzgerald also revealed that Conor Ryan, man of the match in the drawn 2013 All-Ireland final, has been diagnosed with a hormonal disorder that could rule the Cratloe powerhouse out for another six weeks.
Ryan was originally carrying a calf problem since the League quarter-final victory over Tipperary but Fitzgerald confirmed: “Conor Ryan had a hormonal disorder, (it) took us a while to put our finger on it but we got there. So that’s a number of weeks, to us he’s a massive player, he got an All-Star in 2013. His strength, he would be our most dedicated player.
“We’ve been told by the doctors in Dublin, give him four, five or six weeks and we’ll have him back.”
Forward Aaron Cunningham is also out for up to six weeks with a hamstring problem and David McInerney, arguably Clare’s best defender during their march to promotion, has not yet returned to training.
McInerney has been out with a back injury since the victory over Limerick in March that clinched a return to Division 1A.
John Conlon has returned to straight-line running in training and was present at Wednesday night’s session in Caherlohan, albeit in a limited role.
And Fitzgerald hinted that the combative Clonlara forward could yet make the 26-man panel for the Waterford tie, although he is a definite non-starter.