Eoin Larkin clears up tales of texts and thumb fears

Eoin Larkin will confirm one yarn that surfaced since last Sunday: he did text Henry Shefflin to say it would take more than a broken thumb to keep him out of an All-Ireland final.

But he’ll deny another: the rumour he had told the team doctor that either he cut off the cast protecting his left hand or the player would take a blade to it himself.

As he takes it up: “The story was he (Dr Alan Laing) said, ‘lads have cut it off themselves and played. If you come out to me I’ll cut it off and we’ll have a look at it’. Thankfully it all worked out.”

After Michael Fennelly caught Larkin as he tried to hook him in a training game in Fota Island on August 22, Larkin’s thumb was put in a slab before it was secured in a cast. It came off after only nine days.

Larkin laughed about the injury shortly after it happened. “I was saying if he (Fennelly) was training all year he would have gotten rid of the ball”.” It was a worry but he never let it upset him.

“It could have affected me but from the time I got the injury I wanted to try and focus and get fit and play in the All-Ireland final.

“If I was going to let an injury come in the way of that I wouldn’t have been focused on the game. It wouldn’t have been fair on Brian (Cody) or the lads to do that.”

An injury on top of the glandular fever he suffered earlier in the year and the groin surgery that ruled him out for the entirety of the league, it was another setback for Larkin.

He admits he was considering quitting the inter-county game back then. “I was close, to be honest, there is no point in saying I wasn’t.

“I was after having a frustrating start to the year with injury, then glandular fever. But it’s all worthwhile. That’s why I made the decision to stick around.

“As you’ve seen from the reaction of all the players and management, that’s what it’s all about.”

A six-month tour of duty with the Defence Forces on the Israel-Syria border is now ahead for the 31-year-old. He is set to return in early April, meaning another missed league, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be in the shake-up to claim a ninth All- Ireland medal.

“I’m not the one to be talking there! You should be asking Brian about that! Ah, I’ll have a chat with Brian before I go and see what the plan is.”

After his injury problems and those of five others this year, he can understand why this latest All-Ireland victory for Kilkenny is being applauded more than others.

“I do see the argument but probably it’s not the greatest because they’re all brilliant.

“But definitely with the year we had, with the retirements and injuries and all that kind of stuff, it adds up.

“There wasn’t one lad on that panel yesterday who you could say didn’t give 100% all year. We got our just rewards.”

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