Bill Beckett’s memories of St Finbarrs’ opening round game of the 2017 Cork senior hurling championship are stamped in his memory.
Beckett, a Freshford native whose grandfather and granduncle hurled for the Barrs, had hit five points when his season came to an end 49 minutes into their opening championship game last year.
Operating from centre-forward, the Barr’s captain was running for a puckout when his knee gave way.
The young doctor collapsed onto the Páirc Uí Rinn sod in agony, his kneecap above in his quad.
“I had ruptured my patellar tendon. It was a shocking pain,” Beckett recalls.
The Barr’s lost to Ballymartle (1-17 to 0-11) and the following day, Beckett underwent surgery at CUH.
“It wouldn’t be a common injury. You normally hear of cruciate injuries, but not this. It was a case of getting the surgery done and hoping for the best. I started the rehab process soon after but knew the recovery period would take nine to 10 months, at a minimum.”
The 32-year old made his comeback on the second weekend of this month during a challenge against Ballinhassig.
“Every day is a bonus. I was a bit weary and rusty that day against Ballinhassig. It is tough to get the timing back, especially when you haven’t played a game for a full year.”
The Barr’s, under the watch of Ronan Curran, face Newcestown in their opening fixture on Sunday in Brinny.
A marked improvement on last season will be sought given the team wound up in a relegation play-off against Youghal.
Beckett, who captained Kilkenny to All-Ireland IHC glory in 2010, transferred to the famed Cork club in 2015 as the commute back to Kilkenny and injuries began to take their toll.
“Work as a doctor brought me to Cork. I was two years in Cork going back to Freshford for hurling. Trying to get free from work on time to make it back up for training was difficult and then if you are picking up injuries at the same time and you are not able to make matches because of that, the whole thing comes to a head so you have to make a decision.”
He added: “I was living in the St Finbarr’s parish, but my dad would be originally a St Finbarr’s man, as was his dad and brother. Derry Beckett (granduncle) hurled with the Barr’s and Cork. He won All-Ireland hurling and football medals with Cork (1942 and 1945).
“The last couple of years we have come out on the wrong side of big games. There was 2016 against Midleton and last year against the Glen. We are close to teams like that but we just need to become a bit more consistent or a bit more ruthless. That’s what we’ll try and improve on this year.”
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