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Ronan Clarke making `gradual progress' from head injury

Ronan Clarke is intensive care following the goalpost collision while playing for Pearse Og

GAA All Star Ronan Clarke is making "gradual progress" in hospital where he is being treated for a head injury after colliding with a goalpost during a club game.

The 32-year-old remains in intensive care at Craigavon Area Hospital following the freak accident on Friday night while playing for his club Pearse Og against Maghery in the Armagh club championship.

The former senior county All Ireland winner, who got married just two weeks ago, has been in a coma following the "severe concussion".

Family, including new bride Michelle, have been at his bedside since the accident.

His father Adrian Clarke revealed last night that his son's condition is showing signs of improvement.

"He's just making gradual progress. His condition is stable and he's in intensive care," he said.

"We're taking every step by step. We're happy enough that he's in Craigavon, they are in constant contact with the RVH (which is the regional specialist centre for `Critical Care' and the `Regional Trauma Centre').

"That's football."

The footballer is expected to undergo further tests in the coming days.

The two-time All Star, who was a member of the Armagh side which won the All-Ireland Football Championship in 2002, had scored two points before suffering the injury.

Antrim GAA have wished him a speedy recovery.

Among those offering sending messages of support was Ronan Devlin, whose brother, Derry GAA star Aaron, died last month after contracting meningitis.

Posting on Facebook and Twitter, he said: "Intensive care is a horrible place to be. I'm hoping for good news for Ronan Clarke and his family. A brilliant footballer and a gentleman."

Clarke opened his own gym in Armagh in December, following spells as a coach for Queens Freshers Gaelic Football and conditioning and skills coach with Monaghan Harps GAC.

He won numerous awards during his glittering playing career, including five senior Ulster Championship medals and was named Irish News All Star player of the year in 2005.

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