Liam Daly, of Coláiste Treasa, Kanturk, received the accidental injury to his neck with six minutes to play in the All-Ireland ‘B’ vocational schools hurling final on Wednesday.
He had scored two goals and two points in the match which had gone to extra time. The game was won by Nenagh Vocational School by three points.
As concerned team-mates and opponents looked on, staff and officials could only make Liam comfortable while they awaited the emergency services.
The ambulance had to be dispatched from its Limerick city base to the Kilmallock venue and the teenager was in considerable pain during the delay.
The ambulance had to travel 40km to the scene of the injury.
There was no ambulance available at the time to travel from Mallow General Hospital, a slightly longer distance at 35km.
After he was attended to and brought to hospital, the remaining six minutes of extra time in the final were played out between the teams.
Liam’s mother, Beatrice, is a nurse at Mallow hospital and was able to provide first aid and give some consolation to her son during the long wait.
Luckily, the injury turned out to be less serious than initially feared by those at the match and he was discharged from hospital later on Wednesday night.
“He’s fine, he’s okay,” said Ms Daly yesterday from the family home.
Liam did not return to school yesterday but is expected to be back before long.
“It looked awfully serious but it was more of a precaution than anything else,” Coláiste Treasa principal Séamus Buckley said yesterday. “Thanks be to God he wasn’t seriously injured.”
Mr Buckley said that it seemed “an awful long time” to wait for an ambulance, with a boy lying injured on the ground.
“It was myself who called the ambulance. We knew it would take some time and in the meantime all we could do was make him as comfortable as we could.
“We couldn’t move him because of the neck injury and he was in pain, so that was the worry.”
Liam remained conscious throughout his ordeal, however, and was able to move his limbs, easing worries of serious neck or spinal damage.
The school principal stressed that the injury was “completely accidental” and happened when Liam, playing at corner-forward, got caught by the end of a swinging hurley.
Mr Buckley paid tribute to the opposing players from Nenagh VS who provided a guard of honour to the ambulance as it left the venue with Liam on board.
“It was lovely to see it, a very sporting gesture,” said Mr Buckley.