If he was to end up as the answer to a GAA quiz question, Damien Comer couldn’t be too surprised.
At the end of a weekend less ordinary, the young forward reflected on starting two huge games for Galway, playing well in both, and finishing neither.
On Saturday, Comer shot 1-5 as captain of the Galway U21 side in their impressive Connacht semi-final win over Mayo only to be black carded with seven minutes remaining.
A day later, he was the first in the showers again after being red carded for the seniors.
Crucially, there was no positive result to console him on that occasion as Galway effectively ended their interest in Allianz League promotion with a morale crushing loss to Laois.
At half time in that game, they led by six but were incredibly outscored 1-9 to no score in the second-half, on their home turf.
“That’s the way it goes,” shrugged Comer. “Personally, I had the high of the U21 win on Saturday and then you go out with the seniors and it’s another loss. It’s disappointing but it’s important to just focus on the good. We had a great result with the U21s down in MacHale Park. It’s not easy to go there and get a result. We learnt that last year in the Connacht senior final so I was delighted with that result.”
As for his own two dismissals, albeit for a mixture of yellow, black and red card offences, Comer said he won’t be contesting either.
“I don’t think there’s any point, there’s no point really,” he said. “I got black carded in the Mayo game and was sent off against Laois. Three cards in one weekend, harsh I might add.
“I was a bit sickened with the black card and was sweating up in the stand when Mayo started to come back but thankfully our backs did enough to hold them out.”
Inevitably, the positioning of two big games on the same weekend will raise questions about whether fixture makers are doing enough to tackle the burnout issue.
“I probably hadn’t the energy on Sunday that I normally would have but I was still happy to play,” acknowledged Comer. “I felt fine after the game on Saturday and I didn’t have any injuries so I was happy to go again.”
A similar feat of endurance was performed by the three Corofin players who cut short their All-Ireland club celebrations to play for the Galway U21s. Liam Silke lined out against Mayo while Conor Cunningham and Dylan Wall came on as subs.
“They came in then and were training on Thursday night — that’s only two days after the All-Ireland. It just shows the commitment those lads have and why they’re champions.”
Comer was speaking at the Eirgrid provincial football finals media day. He was joined by Dublin U21 and senior defender David Byrne who said it’s not yet been decided if senior manager Jim Gavin will call on the U21s this Saturday evening.
Dublin player Derry in the Allianz football league just five days before Byrne and seven other panellists take on Kildare in the Leinster U21 final.
Gavin surprisingly played Jack McCaffrey and Cormac Costello in a league game last year just days before the provincial U21 final. “It hasn’t been fully decided yet what the situation will be for the weekend,” said Byrne. “We’ll find out soon enough, they’ll decide between themselves.
“I think there’s eight on both panels; myself, Lorcan Molloy, Eric Lowndes, Conor McHugh, Shane Carthy, Cormac Costello, Michael Deegan and Niall Scully.”
Byrne is likely to continue at full-back for the U21s in next week’s final and captained Dublin’s All-Ireland winning minor side from this position in 2012. It suggests he will go head to head with Rory O’Carroll for the number three jersey at senior level though he admitted he sees corner-back as his best opportunity.
“I’d see myself more playing corner-back than full-back,” he said. “Just in terms of full-back, Rory has cemented his place there very well. It’s always very competitive and anyone could play there on any day but Rory has been very strong there for the last couple of years. To jump in there and put him out of that position would be a monumental task.”
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