Eamonn Dillon: I feared I’d lost my pace

Eamonn Dillon: I feared I’d lost my pace
16 March 2019; Éamonn Dillon of Dublin in action against Joe O’Dwyer, left, and Padraic Maher of Tipperary during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Quarter-Final match between Tipperary and Dublin at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Tipperary. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Eamonn Dillon has admitted he feared his trademark burst of pace was gone after a rare leg injury ruined 2018 for him. The speedy forward is back on form with Dublin, and blasted 2-2 against Carlow last weekend in the Leinster championship.

He’ll be a marked man on Saturday week when Dublin host Galway at Parnell Park needing a win to secure a top-three position. But the 27-year-old feared for his future after a ‘big hard lump’ of blood developed in his leg after suffering a dead leg injury in February of 2018.

“People kept asking me, ‘When are you back?’ I was telling them, ‘I’ll be back this weekend’ and then 12 weeks later I was still limping,” said Dillon.

“I couldn’t lift my leg off the ground. It was a big hard lump in the middle of my quad. It was mad, it was just crazy. I had to take two weeks off work because I couldn’t keep walking around on it. My quad went skinny because I wasn’t using it.

My running was hampered. Even walking up the stairs I couldn’t lead with that leg because I had no power in it.

"I’m not injury prone but that year I got an operation on my knee and I was only back when this happened.”

Dillon played two league games for Pat Gilroy, but missed Dublin’s first three championship games and only came on as a sub in their last match against Galway. Losing his pace was the big fear for a player who relies on a burst of acceleration.

“I did worry about that a lot,” he said. “I went back playing for the club, but I couldn’t run. I didn’t have that burst of pace. It was tedious for a month and a half, but it eventually got back to normal. It was a mad injury but every player has a year like that.”

Dillon, who started against Kilkenny last month in the Leinster championship, hopes for a big display against Galway on Saturday week, with Dublin needing to win to advance to the All-Ireland series.

“We saw against Kilkenny that we performed well and we were beating them but our performance dropped in the second-half and it wasn’t up to par,” he said. “If we do perform, we’ll be up there with any team in the country.”

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