Benny Coulter is refusing to rule himself out of Down’s championship campaign despite breaking his ankle in a club game on Monday.
Informed by his doctor that the break is a clean one, the Mayobridge man will be in a cast for the next six weeks and could be back playing by the start of July.
Having never missed a championship game since his debut in 2000, the star forward is obviously disappointed to be missing the Ulster quarter-final against Fermanagh.
However, he is still holding out hope that he can play a part in Down’s summer having recently overcome a number of hamstring issues.
“Happening so close to the championship, it’s tougher to take. James [McCartan] and the management team had been handling me well and I felt I was coming into a real patch of sharpness and fitness.
“These things happen but hopefully it’ll come on and heal well. The doctor told me it’s a good, clean break and if it does heal I could be back in 10 or 12 weeks.
“I’m not ruling myself out. All going well, I’ll get game time in early July and hopefully we’re still in the thick of things and doing well.
“I’m a quick enough healer and a lad in the club had the same problem and had no problems coming back.
“That’s given me a good lift and the doctor has already said there will be no repercussions from it.”
Coulter knew he had done damage to the ankle as soon as the incident happened in Monday’s club game against Bryansford.
“I had the ball in hand and got a call to pass it to a fella on my shoulder. But as I was doing it, my foot and the foot of the fella on the other team collided. I twisted my foot but it stayed in the ground.
“I knew it was something serious enough. I’ve done ligaments in my ankle before and sprained the ankle and could walk.
“But I couldn’t walk with this. I had to be helped off the pitch and helped into the dressing room.”
On Twitter yesterday, Coulter put out a request: “Anyone want to lend me an automatic car for 2 months. Can’t stand being stuck in the house for 2 months.”
Down team-mate Dan McCartan came to his rescue.
An under-age games development officer in the county, Coulter is fortunate his employers, the Down County Board, have his best interests at heart.
“I hope to get back into the school next week and finish off the term. I’ll probably have a couple of lads helping me with things.
“The bottom line is the county secretary Seán Óg [McAteer] is my boss and he is keen for me to get my ankle right so it’s good to have that reassurance.”
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