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Ex-Dublin star opens up on recovery from brain injury

Ryan O'Dwyer

“I got hit on the side of the head, fractured my skull, broke my jaw.”

Ryan O’Dwyer has revealed that brain injuries he sustained in an attack outside of a nightclub left him as an “angry, irritable person”.

The former Dublin hurler was the victim of an unprovoked attack during a night out in Birmingham, which left him with a fractured skull, a broken jaw and bleeding on the brain.

O’Dwyer revealed on the latest episode of TG4’s Laochra Gael, which will air on Thursday night, that his injuries resulted in terrible mood swings that caused him to act aggressively towards his wife Cliodhna.

“I didn’t even see the punch coming. I got hit on the side of the head, fractured my skull, broke my jaw. I had a cut in the back of my head as well from when I hit the ground.

“The hardest thing around that time was the recovery. I became aggressive, very irritable, I was a horrible person to Cliodhna.

“I never physically abused Cliodhna and I never would but emotionally I abused Cliodhna. There were times when I’d get angry with her and I’d be in her face, giving out. I didn’t know what I was doing. A lot of it I can’t even remember.

“It was a tough time for Cliodhna. It’s now that I appreciate Cliodhna, it’s now that I appreciate everything she has done for me, how much of herself she has given to me, to our relationship.

“She has sacrificed her own happiness for mine for so long and now it’s my turn to hopefully repay it back to her,” O’Dwyer explained to the Irish Mirror.

Ryan O’Dwyer: Not a week goes by where I don’t think of that.

The Cashel native originally played for his home county of Tipperary, but switched allegiance to Dublin in 2011.

Ryan O'Dwyer

O’Dwyer played an essential role in Dublin’s Leinster senior hurling championship final triumph over Galway, but has great regret over how that year’s All-Ireland semi-final against Cork turned out.

The adopted Dubliner was sent off in that encounter, as the Rebels beat them by five points to deny the Dubs their first appearance in an All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final since 1961.

“Not a week goes by where I don’t think of that. Not just the one incident but that game and what could have been. It is a regret that I have.

Ryan O'Dwyer

“I think that was definitely Dublin’s biggest opportunity to win an All-Ireland,” O’Dwyer commented.

O’Dwyer retired from inter-county hurling in 2018, after playing for eight seasons for his adopted county.

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