2016 Connacht Championship winner Damien Comer spoke in a recent interview and explained how he fell out of love with the sport during his Leaving Cert.
Damien Comer of Annaghdown reached a new peak in his career when he captured the 2016 Connacht Championship with Galway and with the beginning of the Super Eights looming, he gave an interview in which he reflected on the past and how it shaped his career, at present.
After being ignored by those selecting teams during his teenage years, Comer spent a while concentrating on his studies – falling out of love with the game. He actually watched as an onlooker as his classmates at St. Jarlaths, Tuam made it to the Hogan Final in Croke Park back in 2011.
Speaking to The Sun, Comer summed up his emotions at the time, sitting in the stands.
“In Jarlath’s I didn’t play when we got to the Hogan Cup final. I was up in the stand under the drums.
“I think I lost interest myself more so than anything. I played a bit, up until third year, then didn’t bother playing in Leaving Cert.
“It wasn’t that I dedicated my time to my studies. I just lost interest.
“Even watching them, you’d nearly be jealous of them getting to play in Croker. I never really expected it to happen.”
The following year, in 2012, the fire within him was burning once again and his road back to the elite-levels of the game began. Galway U21’s boss Alan Flynn made the call to bring the wing-forward back into the fray.
It didn’t seem as though his future was linked to football at the time, but gradually, he managed to rediscover his drive and managed to make a push towards the spot he now owns within the Galway panel.
“I didn’t make the minor team but made the Under-21 team the following year. I was 18 playing Under-21.
“Alan Flynn was the manager and it was just a bit of good fortune. I was called in after Christmas. I kept on developing and kicked it all off.”
Taking influence from the legendary Irish international Roy Keane, a man who was also something of a late-bloomer to his sport, Comer explained the parallels to be found between his own ascent and Keane’s.
“He was saying it’s amazing how if luck is on your side, you need it to kickstart some things.
“He got picked on different teams, I was lucky that I got spotted by the Under-21 manager, if I hadn’t I possibly wouldn’t have blossomed. That’s the luck of the draw.”
Comer will need to be at his sharpest when his Galway side open up their Super Eights campaign against Kerry next Sunday, a tough matchup given the fact that the favourites have not lost to the Tribesman in the Championship since 1965.