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Star's setback Dublin GAA legend Paul Flynn on childhood accident that almost cost him his sporting career

"I was lucky not to take the leg off. We didn't know. They lifted me up and when I went to walk my leg literally caved in."

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Paul Flynn holds aloft the Sam Maguire Cup in September 2017. Pictures:
Sportsfile

Paul Flynn holds aloft the Sam Maguire Cup in September 2017. Pictures: Sportsfile

Paul Flynn holds aloft the Sam Maguire Cup in September 2017. Pictures: Sportsfile

Dubs legend Paul Flynn has revealed how he was told he would never play sport again when he badly injured his leg in a childhood accident.

Recalling the terrible moment on RTÉ Sport's We Become Heroes podcast, the Fingallians man, who announced his inter-county retirement in 2019, told how he could have lost the leg in the horrific incident.

“I’ve had plenty of setbacks to be fair but the one I was thinking about was when I was younger, I was 12, and I had an accident,” he said.

"I was staying at a friend's and we were running back to his house. The patio door was shut and I ran through the glass.

"The front door was open and the patio door was shut. The light was on. I couldn't see the handle and I ran straight through the patio door. I completely wrecked my left leg, lacerated right across the shin bone.

"I was lucky not to take the leg off. We didn't know. They lifted me up and when I went to walk my leg literally caved in. Then obviously they saw the blood and all that.

"I had to have an operation and they reattached all the muscles and the tendons and whatever they had to do in there. They did say I'd never play sport again.

"I didn't play for 18 months, built it all back up and then I went back and eased my way back into it and it was okay. I had a lot of issues - and still do - with my left ankle as a result because there's not as much strength on that side of the leg to support it.

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Dublin footballers Paul Flynn and Fiona Hudson pictured at their wedding in St Matthews Church, Maghera, Co Cavan.

Dublin footballers Paul Flynn and Fiona Hudson pictured at their wedding in St Matthews Church, Maghera, Co Cavan.

Dublin footballers Paul Flynn and Fiona Hudson pictured at their wedding in St Matthews Church, Maghera, Co Cavan.

“That was probably the one moment where it could have gone either way.”

Paul who won six All-Irelands and four All Stars with Dublin, also recalled another setback when he “didn't make the minor panel when I was a first-year minor”.

"I was disappointed with that. They'd a really good team but I didn't make it. I felt then that that was it, that I'd missed the boat.

"They were two setbacks that are nothing moments now when you think of them, but back then they were big deals.”

He also revealed how he had to work on “every aspect of my game” as opposed to some more naturally gifted players.

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“You get some people and they'll tell you that they had this natural ability and worked with it. I don't think I was that type of person, that type of player.

“I had to work on everything, every aspect of my game. I listened to a recent interview with Jack McCaffrey and there's a guy who had the raw material. He had the talent and sometimes he says himself some things came too easy for him as he went through the years.

"I'm probably complete opposite where I had to work for everything right through.”


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