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Hooker’s Diary - Battered, bruised and on the bench

Our diarist John Hogan found himself back on the bench this week  which added insult to injury

Our diarist John Hogan found himself back on the bench this week which added insult to injury

Our heroic hooker John Hogan suffered a glorious war wound last week but what doesn’t kill you should make you hardy.

Such a warrior am I that I failed to make mention last week in the Hooker’s Diary of an injury which I sustained to my bicep during our somewhat one-sided defeat to Malone up in the North.

Although it was quite painful at the time, I’m not the sort to try to garner admiration by publicizing wounds that I have sustained on the field of battle.

With that in mind, I only mentioned it to a few dozen people over the weekend, such as my team-mates, family, all friends and acquaintances, classmates in college, a waitress, a bus driver and two shopkeepers. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, especially when – inexplicably – a bruise failed to develop in the subsequent hours, leaving me without a visual aid to accompany my story of suffering.

That all changed on Monday morning of this week though, when I awoke to find that the bruise had finally materialized. Either that or a zombie had enjoyed a good ol’ munch on my arm overnight, leaving me pretty badly infected and with mere hours left to live.

The contusion started just below my shoulder, travelled right down along throughout my bicep, before performing a little loop around the elbow and moving further along the underside of my forearm. It was a magnificent brute of a thing with a dark bluish hue and hints of red and yellow sprinkled throughout; a veritable Aurora Borealis of burst blood vessels. If Carlsberg did boast-worthy injuries, they still wouldn’t come close to this beauty.

TUESDAY

Bruise-watch Day Two: The dark cloud that now takes up most of my arm got its first proper outing at training this evening when I called into our physio Derry. Unfortunately Derry was strapping up the ankle of one of the underage players at the time when I pulled up my sleeve to reveal my ghastly bluish-greenie-brown arm.

Upon seeing the terrifying sight, the young fella appeared to vomit a little bit inside his mouth, started audibly whimpering and scampered off the treatment bench with only a half-strapped ankle, muttering that he was giving up rugby there and then in order to pursue golf like his father had always wanted.

“Jesus Johnny, they got you a fair belt there didn’t they?” said Derry approvingly as he moved my arm around inspecting the damage, like a mechanic looking over a brutalized vehicle.

“And to think that everyone on the sideline said they reckoned there was nothing wrong with you when you were complaining about your arm after you came off in the game.”

THURSDAY

I’d like to say that my battered arm had something to do with my name not appearing in the first XV when it was called out this evening but it would be an untruth. Having been about as effective in last week’s game as a vegan in a burger-eating contest, it came as no surprise that I had been relegated to the bench for Saturday’s game against Trinity College.

As disappointed as I was to hear the announcement, it still brought some element of a silver lining though. All of this first team rugby over the last couple of weeks had been running the risk of turning me into a contented individual which, as anyone who knows their literature will tell you, does not an accomplished writer make. Any scribe worth their salt thrives on misfortune, dashed hopes and crippling disappointment. My reservoir of melancholy had become dangerously low in recent times so in a way I was grateful for this timely boost to my creative juices.

SATURDAY

Kilballyowen saw ‘Sandy’-like conditions during our warm up with hail, rain and high winds battering us as we went through our pre-match routine.

Trinity – known as Dublin University for rugby-playing purposes – looked like a Persil ad in their shiny white jerseys although their unbeaten record to this point suggested that one shouldn’t be mislead by their impeccably turned-out kit.

Conditions and trepidation amongst our side didn’t make for an entertaining game on the day with all of the scores being restricted to penalties. Unfortunately we were unable to disprove that ‘Trinners’ truly is for winners on this occasion but the 12-6 final score line did leave us with a much needed bonus point.

Four games in with only one victory to our name so far but we were in the exact same position last year and we’re nothing if not resilient and battle-hardened. Sure there was one fella playing for Bruff last week whose arm should have fallen off by right and he was able-bodied enough to sit on the bench for them the following Saturday.

>>> John also does a fortnightly podcast called Hoge ‘n’ Smith that can be downloaded on iTunes or from www.hogensmith.com

 

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