I am fortunate the punch that still left me in healthcare facility for extra than a week wasn’t ‘lights out’, claims Down’s Caolan Mooney

The CCTV footage demonstrates the full incident lasted just 44 seconds, nothing in the normal system of gatherings. But it might have cost Down’s Caolan Mooney every thing.

t the time it was headline information. Mooney, star for the Mourne guys and a former AFL participant, was standing along with his brother and their two associates when an altercation begun in Newry in late 2019.

Previously in the day, he experienced fielded versus Fermanagh in the McKenna Cup and that evening they have been celebrating a spouse and children christening. Waiting on a taxi, a thing erupted.

“After the evening out, we finished up currently being in the incorrect place at the erroneous time,” Mooney recalls.

The demo, which handed down suspended sentences of two yrs and nine months to the attackers, listened to that there was a circumstance of mistaken id following a bottle experienced been thrown.

Two guys approached the Mooney brothers. During the assault, Patrick Mooney endured a damaged nose as very well as cuts and bruises, but Caolan’s injuries have been substantially a lot more intense. He was punched, leading to him to tumble and hit his head. The seriousness of the condition was clear when an ambulance arrived at the scene and took him absent. Tests and scans would clearly show he suffered a fractured cranium and experienced a bleed on the brain.

The injuries have been major sufficient that he was kept in the Royal Victoria Healthcare facility in Belfast for above a week, of which he has no recollection. He would not play football yet again for around six months.

“I cannot actually recall the 1st seven times of becoming in healthcare facility,” Mooney suggests. “But I have found the video because I experienced to go to the police station. It does not seem excellent. That’s the danger you get, you throw a dig, strike the particular person in the erroneous position. I was fortunate I hit my head the way I strike it. If it experienced to have been a wee bit deeper it was lights out.”

Mooney was talking to Shane Rice for Episode 3 of ‘The Off Season’ as part of a wide-ranging job interview that handles his emergence as a person of Down’s brightest skills of recent periods, his stint in the AFL as perfectly as the Mournemen’s notorious coaching camp earlier this 12 months.

Mooney gained again-to-back Hogan cups with St Colman’s, in which his exploits saw him picked up by Collingwood. That he produced 6 senior appearances meant he acquired far more traction than most Irish exports, however he may well have found extra motion as he slash his time in Australia brief even with obtaining yet another 12 months on his contract.

“It’s almost certainly some thing that has been a challenge my whole job, just impatience,” he extra.

“I experienced one more calendar year on my deal and I felt like I wasn’t finding plenty of sport time.

“I was 21. It was a really major action to get. A great deal of boys ended up producing the leap up to the Holylands (in Belfast) pondering that was a big move to acquire. I was jumping above the other aspect of the entire world so it was complicated. I believed I was undertaking ample in the next group to maybe force on with the seniors, but the coach experienced other thoughts. So I threw the head up and determined to appear dwelling.”

Down welcomed him again with open up arms but the county have struggled for a lot of his time below. Very last period, they hit the headlines for all the erroneous good reasons.

Most of the squad went consuming at a education camp, which observed supervisor James McCartan go away his post prior to remaining coaxed back again ahead of the Ulster championship sport with Monaghan.

“It’s all out in the open,” suggests Mooney. “Look, anyone is aware of we built the mistake of heading consuming.”

And whilst he was Down captain in 2022, he now admits he didn’t have the urge for food for the campaign in advance of it even got heading.

“To be brutally straightforward, I was (thinking on) whether or not to go again or not previous yr and the most selfish thing I did final year was go again. I just failed to want to be there.

“And I just imagined I had to be there… the worst thing they could have completed was make me captain simply because then I maybe considered I had to continue to be. I made use of to despise leaving the house and getting to go to teaching.

“If you are not enjoying it, don’t set your self by it because it can wreck the way you imagine and the way you carry by yourself.”

Mooney is presently out of action for an extended period of time just after harming his anterior cruciate ligament whilst on club duty with Downpatrick after his change from Rostrevor.

The harm properly policies him out of Down’s 2023 marketing campaign which sees Conor Laverty get cost of the Mournemen. In any case, the 29-year-aged is uncertain about his foreseeable future with the county.

“Even in 2021, the child was coming and it was probably starting off to turn out to be a chore, instead of when I employed to love heading house having ready and heading to education,” he describes. “Instead it begun to sense like I was carrying a load of baggage and I was like ‘maybe it really is time to pack it in’. And when I did pack it in two days afterwards, I did my knee. And possibly that’s the ideal factor, that is karma for the way I carried myself this year for Down. I’m a major believer you get what you should have and probably I deserved that injuries.”

Of late, Down haven’t generally been able to entice all of their best gamers but, in any scenario, Mooney believes there is certainly major expertise in the county.

“I imagine it is really just a personalized determination,” he states. “Sometimes you just end a club yr and you could possibly not want to soar into the county.

“I can’t communicate for anybody else, there is absolutely a great deal of fantastic players in Down who are just not taking part in.

“It’s a particular option. You can inquire them and they just say no. So you are not likely to chase them if you know what I necessarily mean? It is really just bringing a team together and holding it jointly.”

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