Westmeath’s Shane Power feared he had lost eyesight after blow from sliotar

Westmeath hurler Shane Power feared he had lost the sight in his eye after a freak accident before the Leinster SHC quarter-final with Wexford.

Westmeath’s Shane Power feared he had lost eyesight after blow from sliotar

Power (24) was knocked out by a blow from a sliotar during the warm-up at Cusack Park, Mullingar on Sunday.

Though his helmet took most of the impact, the faceguard was pushed in with such force that the defender suffered a fractured cheekbone and extensive damage around his eye socket.

The Clonkill clubman, who was set to play at right corner- back, is recovering at home and hopes to return to action in time for next month’s All-Ireland Qualifiers.

“We were doing a drill as part of our warm-up. I was just coming onto the 21-yard line when I got belt in the side of the head.

“The ball hit the faceguard. I didn’t know what was happening, I just fell to the ground in shock. I was knocked out for a few seconds and the next thing I remember was the physio kneeling down next to me.

“It was terrifying then because I couldn’t see out of my eye. All I kept thinking was that I had been blinded or had done serious damage to the eye.” Walsh, a toolmaker with Technical Engineering Group, was treated at the ground before being taken to the local hospital in Mullingar.

“Thankfully, after a while the sight started to come back so that was putting my mind at ease,” he explained.

Westmeath’s misfortune didn’t end there as talisman forward Derek McNicholas suffered a serious neck injury during their spirited defeat.

He was treated on the field for over 12 minutes before being taken to hospital.

“I got an x-ray and was waiting for the results when the next thing I saw - or thought I saw - Derek. My sight was still dodgy. Next thing he was in the bed beside me and the two of us ended up listening to the final few minutes of the match on Midlands Radio Three.

The prognosis for Power is also good. “There doesn’t look to be any serious damage done to the eye but I will have it assessed later in the week in St James’ when the swelling goes down.

“I have a slight fracture of the cheekbone but things could have been a lot, lot worse. It just shows the importance of having a helmet. If I didn’t have my helmet on then God knows how this would have ended.”

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