Dotsy: I want to see if I can get into a position to give it a crack
Published 09/12/2016 | 02:30
David ‘Dotsy’ O’Callaghan fully intends to hurl with Dublin once more in 2017, but admits he’s at the mercy of how his recovery from a back operation progresses over the next couple of months.
After being hit with a lower back spasm during the Leinster SHC win over Wexford earlier this year, O’Callaghan struggled through the subsequent defeat to Kilkenny.
However, by the time Dublin were sent south to play Cork in the Qualifiers, O’Callaghan couldn’t even travel with the team due to the discomfort in his back.
“There was a high level of nerve damage,” the 33-year-old explained. “Basically you start to lose power in the foot and stuff, so to get to that point then you need to decompress the nerve (through an operation).
“But it’s gone well, there’s still pain in the back and I’ve been unable to do much up until this point. At least now I’ve been back in with Eamon O’Reilly, the Dublin physio, and doing stuff.
“Being honest with you, I had kind of built up last year to be my last year playing and I had put in a big effort,” O’Callaghan explained at the launch of the Bord na Móna O’Byrne and Walsh Cups.
“I suppose the fact that I haven’t got to play any hurling for the last six months, you can’t help the appetite building again. Even looking at Cuala last week as well, it was very refreshing looking at that and that would give you the urge as well to go back.
“Ultimately, I’ll see how this progresses over the next couple of weeks, work away with Eamon and see if I can get into a position to give it a crack.”
An appointment with a surgeon in February will shed further light on his recovery and, all going well, he could be back hurling by the end of that month. Whatever happens, he’s keen to depart the stage with no regrets.
“You do feel like it’s time to get the hell out in all honesty,” he said, referring to the young faces in the Dublin dressing room. “I haven’t been able to play since the summer and I heard Martin Comerford talking last week and he was saying he had finished up a bit early and he could have stayed on a bit so when you’re gone you’re gone. But you don’t want to be doing any more damage to your back as well.
O’Callaghan, who is due to transfer back to his native St Mark’s from Ballyboden St Enda’s for next season, will miss the early party of Dublin’s Division 1A league campaign along with the eight-strong Cuala contingent, meaning the Dubs are facing into a difficult start to their league campaign.
“There’s been big changes to the panel so I suppose you are going to see a lot of youngerguys coming in and getting opportunities in the Walsh Cup and the league as well. I think a lot of the guys really stood up last year.
“You are looking at the likes of Eoghan O’Donnell, Shane Barrett. I know Cian O’Callaghan will be with Cuala but there’s a lot of lads kind of coming to the fore and becoming real leaders of the team as well.
“So you have them there and hopefully a couple of older guys along with them to bring the younger guys through.”