Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

GAA: Courageous Colm back in contention

If O'Donovan Rossa's triumph in the Antrim minor football championship final against Sarsfields was particularly sweet for the team as a whole, then the victory had particular resonance for centre three-quarters Colm Fleming.

Just over a year ago, the talented son of Rossa coach Sean Fleming broke his neck in a training mishap.

"I'll never forget it," said Sean. "Colm hit his head on a tackle bag and fell immediately.

"An ambulance was called and he was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

"When a doctor examined his X-ray and came into the cubicle and said the words to Colm, 'Your neck is broken', I couldn't believe it.

"Just that same afternoon playing for the Rathmore school football team he scored seven points from play against Carrickmacross in a colleges game."

Sean admits that his son, the family, his team and his club thought Colm's career had reached a premature end.

But he has since bounced back in some style, having been off school for four months because of the injury.

After being given the green light by his surgeon, Colm once again immersed himself in fitness and stamina training.

He returned to action for the Antrim under-17 team scoring a goal and point after coming on as a substitute against Armagh during the summer.

And as he grew in confidence, he posted 0-6 for Rossa in the Antrim minor semi-final against St Gall's before playing a leading role in their victory in the decider over Sarsfields.

Still only 16, Colm looks to the future with enthusiasm and real hope of achieving more success.

"I am hoping to do well against Four Masters in the Ulster minor club championship and I am keen to see my school Rathmore win the McLarnon Cup in football and Casement Cup in hurling," said Colm.