Hurling and camogie

St John's powerhouse Domhnall Nugent faces wait to discover extent of elbow injury

St John's forward Domhnall Nugent, who scored 3-3 in Sunday's Antrim SHC semi-final defeat to Loughgiel, comes up against Damon McMullan. Picture by Hugh Russell
Neil Loughran

ST John’s forward Domhnall Nugent is facing an anxious wait to discover the full extent of the elbow injury suffered during Sunday’s dramatic Antrim semi-final defeat to Loughgiel – but insists he will be ready to help the county cause next month.

Powerhouse Nugent suffered a dislocated elbow 15 minutes in but played the full game, including extra-time, and finishing up with an astonishing 3-3 despite only being able to use his right arm for so long.

He headed straight to hospital after leaving Dunsilly and is awaiting an MRI scan in the coming days, but the 23-year-old intends to be ready for the Saffrons’ Division 2A promotion decider against Kerry on the weekend of October 17/18.

“I wasn’t home until 3.30am. It was dislocated and it was still a bit out when I got to the hospital so they put it back in,” he said.

“The ligaments might be ripped, we’re waiting to see. I just have to rest up for now anyway, but I’ll be alright for then [the Kerry game] - I’ll be alright in a couple of days. I hope so anyway.”

Nugent was left writhing in pain after landing on his elbow after diving to block a shot from Loughgiel’s Eddie McCloskey, with few expecting him to reappear after the water break.

He did though, to some effect, and Nugent insists it didn’t cross his mind to leave the field.

“Our physios were saying to take me off but there was no chance. F**k that.

“I said to them ‘I didn’t come over for you to tell me I was done, I came over for you to make it better!’ I just kept going once I was out there… I didn’t really think about it to be honest.

I tried to hit one shot with both hands and it was really sore, so I just had to tear way with one hand for the rest of the game.

“It was a shame because out of all the games this year, between hurling and football, it was the best I’ve felt. I was fresh coming into it, the first ball I got I put it over and I thought ‘this is going to be my day’.

“In the first 10 minutes I felt like I put a good stamp on the game, I was getting on the ball and won a few puck-outs. Even though I did alright after I got injured, it would have been better to be out the field more because it would’ve left Conor [Johnston] and Peter [McCallin] inside and they would’ve caused more damage.

“Everything was going so well and then that happened.”

And while Nugent woke up physically sore this morning, the pain of yet another semi-final defeat was hurting more than anything – the third year in-a-row the Johnnies have bowed out in the last four.

And it could have been so different had St John’s been awarded a penalty in the fourth minute of added time at the end of regulation time after Nugent was wrestled to the ground by Damon McMullan.

Despite how costly that decision proved, however, Nugent admitted he had sympathy for referees trying to make big calls on big days, and left Dunsilly with nothing but pride in his team-mates.

“I didn’t even realise until I saw it back, but it definitely was a foul,” he said of the penalty appeal.

“I actually said to Damon ‘was that a penalty?’ and he says ‘definitely’, so it must have been! But who would be referee like? It’s an unenviable task.

“It’s all ifs, buts and maybes now. All our lads worked so hard, they were out on their feet at the end. They worked their socks off, and I was proud to be part of it.

“See when you can look everybody in the eye after a match like that and say they put in a good, solid shift, it’s all you can ask for, even if it was heartbreaking to lose.”

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Hurling and camogie