An Rinn hurler Eoghan Breathnach admitted that he was lucky to be in a position to captain his club to junior C success on Sunday.
The centre back was air lifted to University Hospital Limerick in April after suffering three broken ribs and a punctured lung against Ballysaggart. The intervention of Ballysaggart medic Tina Meagher, who sent for an oxygen tank from her mothers’ house, was a life saver.
“It was a pure fluke what happened. If Tina Meagher wasn’t there that day and that oxygen wasn’t available down the road, that ambulance was 50 minutes away, there’s absolutely no way I was breathing on my own for 50 minutes. Even when the oxygen tank did come from Ballysaggart, I was already starting to fade a bit. That oxygen was the difference between life and death.”
He was back hurling by August and led his team up the steps on Sunday. “I’m delighted that it worked out for the best. I thought it was impossible to play hurling again, I thought it wasn’t an option. It’s hard to believe to be honest.”
Following that incident, Breathnach called for oxygen tanks to be installed in every GAA club during an interview on Raidió na Gaeltachta. “Croke Park did get back to me in fairness to them. They had a meeting about it with their experts. They feel that the large tanks are too flammable, which I can understand, and there’s no real benefit from the smaller ones. I think there’s six doctors on that committee so who am I to be arguing with them.”
He still feels that grounds need to be better equipped to cope with the increased physicality in hurling and football. “Something needs to be done, whether it be oxygen or whether it be proper first aid kits designed for GAA clubs. I stand by what I said. The hits are getting bigger and bigger every year. Everybody knows that the players are getting bigger, they’re in the gym at sixteen and seventeen. I stand by that; we are going to see more of these contact injuries and chest injuries. I’m not rowing back on that. That is going to be an issue for the GAA down the line so something needs to be done.”
Eoghan Breathnach spoke to WLR after Sunday’s 0-13 to 0-11 win over Dunhill at Fraher Field.