Tom talks


Tom Parsons was on Newstalk’s Off The Ball Show last night to talk about the horrendous injury he picked up in the Galway game, the long recovery road he’s now embarked on and his hopes for playing again in the future.

Tom’s interview is widely covered in the media today. As well as on the Newstalk website itself (here), there are also pieces about the interview on RTÉ, The 42 and  You can listen to the interview in full here:

In it, Tom reveals the gruesome extent of what befell him earlier this month at MacHale Park. The injury he suffered was, he states, a multiple one:

I’ve ruptured three of the four ligaments and I’ve torn the fourth. There’s tears to the calf and hamstring as well and knee is fully dislocated.

He’s already had one round of surgery, with a second operation to come in August. As Stephen Rochford stated in an interview piece with the Irish Examiner the other day (here), Tom is, despite the catastrophic nature of the injury he’s suffered and the onerous road to recovery now ahead of him, targeting the Connacht opener against New York next May as his comeback fixture.

Tom proclaims his desire to “give it everything in my power to come back and play football with my club and Mayo.” In doing so, though, he speaks with precision and determination about what’s ahead of him:

That goal to just walk, that goal to just jog, once I can walk, I’ll jog, once I can jog I’ll run.

In the interview, Tom also mentions the many good wishes he’s received from supporters and how these have lifted his spirits. What’s been striking in this regard is how people from all over the country – many from counties Tom has inflicted damage on down the years with powerful midfield performances – have joined in to wish the Charlestown man well.

I’m frequently to the fore in decrying the shift in recent years – especially since the advent of social media – to soccer-style tribalism amongst rival GAA supporters. It’s been a pleasant surprise, then, to see clear evidence that a significant wellspring of common decency remains alive within GAA folk, whatever their county allegiance, and the many messages of support Tom has received from far and wide prove this point.

It helps too, of course, that Tom is – as the OTB interview shows – a special kind of person. More power to him in the months ahead, as his recovery takes him from walking, to jogging and back to that languid, almost effortless style of running that Mayo supporters know and love so well about him.

The Mayo GAA Lotto is a practical way of showing your support for Tom and the rest of the team. You can play the Lotto here

38 thoughts on “Tom talks

  1. Horrific!
    Fair play to AOS for his quick thinking too .
    Would also echo what Willie Joe says in the article . This is what makes the GAA special. For all the slagging oveeand back opposition supporters still sit side by side without incident . Doesn’t happen in many other sports.
    Neither does the end of match pitch invasions by young (and old ) supporters which allow them to meet their heroes .
    I hope these things never change

  2. How much does the state of the MacHale Park owe to his injury? It’s not a good surface and needs proper investment similar to the once maligned Hyde Park.

  3. Best wishes to Tom, I’ve no doubt that he’ll be back doing what he does best in the not too distant future. His positive attitude is an example to others. He and the rest of this Mayo squad are truly great ambassadors for this fine county.

    On a totally different subject, I seen on Twitter this morning that a group of the more vocal Mayo Supporters are gathering in sections 218 and 219 of the North Stand for the Limerick game. I know some people on here have been calling for the ‘vocal’ Mayo support to gather together in virtually the same area. It might be worth joining in and see how it goes for future games.

  4. Tom is an unbelievable man. He is so focused on the road ahead i sincerely hope it all works out for him. He will get a standing ovation when he returns.

    I will remain to shout in my own seat, as I do for every game, no matter where we are located. I think you are actually better off to spread the groups throughout the stand rather than just one section appearing to cheer.

  5. I don’t think enough was made of the effect on the other players seeing a team mate in such brutal agony after Tom’s horrific injury……must have been very hard to focus on the game after that!! Nice to hear Aiden o Shea and all medical staff getting praise from Tom…….if there was anything ‘lucky’ about what happened, it was that it happened where it did with the doctor, physio, ambulance etc all on immediate hand and the hospital so close. God forbid it happens at any ordinary match…..Tom deserves the best follow up , he is an intelligent guy, has done the research, knows what he is up against , he has a mountain to climb, we will be behind him every painful step, I fervently hope he gets to the summit and the image of him running back out in a mayo jersey brings a tear to my eye even now… will be raining tears of emotion in McHale park, Croke park, New York or wherever when that day comes…….good luck Mr. Tom!!

  6. Best of luck to Tom. He’s a great role model for any footballer or person trying to overcome obstacles to achieve something and no doubt he will be starting for Mayo sometime in the summer of 2019.
    I’d say it’ll be easy to be vocal in Limerick, a game Mayo should win by all accounts. It would be like the Mayo hurlers playing the limerick hurlers, a novelty but we can nearly bet the ranch on the outcome.

  7. I dont think the result is in doubt on this.No disrepect to limerick but theyre at a low ebb at the moment and are probably in the bottom 3 teams in the country.I dont think there’ll be any complacency from the players though as they’ll really want to put in a performance….thats the big ambition in this particular game.

  8. Spotlight… I don’t think the state of the MacHale Park pitch has anything to do with the, very unfortunate injury Tom suffered… There’s plenty of TV footage of the incident and nothing suggests that the pitch had anything to do with it… I actually walked the pitch a few days before the match,.. True that the pitch was far from pristine, plenty of divots,.. I don’t think the pitch had fully recovered from our two ‘FBD’ match’s played in the worst conditions imaginable last January… The pitch looked good before the throw in at the Leitrim match played on a Wednesday last January , but just 20mins into the match the white lines were almost completely washed away… Definitely no matches should have been played in conditions like that..We have had a terrible spring weather wise and grass was very slow to grow, Remember the Tyrone game, as much sand as grass was the way it looked to me… A few weeks good weather, which thankfully we are now having, some good care and attention and I think MacHale will be back to its pristine best as we seen the last two summer’s… It might even host the Connacht Final?… But not if Kevin McStay has his way… You have got to admire the guy… When we in Mayo need someone to stand up and be counted as to where a fixture should be held, our County Board were rather mute… . I listened to the Tom Parsons interview, excellent interview, I taught… And what an intelligent, articulate and inspirational guy Tom is …. No wonder, Tom has gotten so many good wishes, from opponents, hurlers everyone… You just gotta admire him and wish him all the best…He is blessed with a great team around him. And when he makes his comeback for Mayo, I remember the welcome Andy Moran got in Salthill in 2013 from the appreciative Mayo supporter’s, well it will be even better for Tom Parsons ..

  9. Can anybody tell me please if Mayo beat Limerick what date will our next game be on. Thanks.

  10. Obviously I too would like to send my best wishes to Tom and wish him a speedy recovery and Indeed if there’s a go fund me page or Antything else set up for him I will certainly contribute.

  11. Fair play to Tom. He really is an inspirational man. If Tom can get back one day I could envisage a huge Mayo crowd turning out especially to see that. Tom Parsons taking to the pitch on his return, that would just be epic. Generationally memorable.
    A nice touch about Tom is that he will say a persons name when he is responding to them. Have a listen to his various interviews.
    Was that maybe some First Aid training type reaction from Aidan? It was good that Aidan went over and distracted him grabbing his hands. Aidan went into helping mode immediately, seemed to know what to do in that situation.

  12. Brilliant from Tom again, what a fantastic individual. It’s u that’s lifting our sprits now Tom, and we appreciate it. May ur road to recovery be short, smooth, and painless, and ur comeback a continuation of the brilliant footballer, warrior, legend, inspirational, on field leader that u are.

  13. What an inspirational interview that was.
    Tom comes across as such an intelligent and just genuinely decent fella. I think this also played a part in the incredible amount of well wishers from all over the country.
    It was interesting to see so many players and ex-players coming out to offer their best to Tom, they’d know better than anyone what a great guy he is.
    He’s always played fairly, with no dirt. Other players remember things like that.

    All the best to you Tom, can’t wait to see you back on the field.

  14. “Once I can walk I’ll jog, once I can jog I’ll run”.

    That brought a lump to my throat. I think Tom knows every Mayo supporter is with him on his tough journey. We’ll be with him until he walks. We’ll be with him when he jogs and we’ll be with him when he runs. We’ll be with him every step of the way. And Please God we’ll all be there to see Tom Parsons the day he walks back on to the football pitch with his Mayo jersey on him.

    The very best to him.

  15. Tom, we are all behind you man. Best wishes with ypur recovery and enjoy the family time. You’ll be back in the Green and Red no question about that.

  16. Tom, best wishes and God speed on your recovery. Here’s looking forward to seeing you back in the green and red jersey in 2019.

  17. All the very best wishes to Tom for a speedy recovery. Inspirational hardly covers it when it comes to this man. Looking forward to seeing you back in the Green n Red next summer.

  18. What a man, what an attitude and what a role model for you girls and boys!
    On the pitch…… although the surface of McHale park is clearly awful and the decision to play 2 fbd games in a few days was a terrible call with the weather that was had, I do not think that it played any role in toms injury. It was a freak and gruesome injury which may have happened anywhere. It was just the way kerins dove on the ball, no malice whatsoever, that there was no escaping his leg position. People have to remember the intensity of the game.

  19. I was going to get a flag made with parsons on it but I’ve been told it’s a bit daft by those around me , what do ye think ?

  20. Sean , to Hell what others think . I think it’s a super idea .

    I was just thinking myself that to get back at those who say that Mayo won’t hear any blather about winning it for Tom that that’s exactly what we should do – for this game in Limerick anyway . Win it for Tom .

    I , being an extremist , was also thinking of Parsons T Shirts , and everyone should wear an Afro and sunglasses to get the Tom look .What an atmosphere that would be . What a party ! And it would prove that not only is our 16 th man hale and hearty but we are thinking of adding a 17 th man this year .

    Show them Mayo are anything but finished . Our spirit is strong , our humor intact . Our resilience , forever.

    Go for it Sean Burke . Make it a monster flag .

  21. I was as close to tears as I’ve ever been in my adult life listening to that inspirational man Tom Parsons. I’m a grown man with a successful career and I was moved by his sheer decency and kindness and intelligence and wit and community spirit he showed .

    Literally I think and believe he should be leading the country . I’m no softie when it comes to judging leaders but Tom Parsons was born to lead .

    And so are so many other utterly decent people on this team . Just to name a few. David Clarke , Keith Higgins , Keegan , Boyler , Aido , Andy , the O Connors , Hennelly , Harrison , Cafferkey , O Donighue , Donie, Seamie , Kevin McLaughlin , Jason Doherty , Barry Moran and all the rest of them . Never forget they are the best of us . Truly great people . Winners in life.

  22. How about a T Shirt with a picture of Tom on the front ?

    But the actual picture is made from red and green colored letters in the background ( With the names of every Mayo senior player and the name of the club they played for for the past fifty years)

    On the front bottom it says “ Win it for TP”

    On the back it says Thank you to all GAA folks all over the country who have supported Tom Parsons and who wished him well.

    Name of all Mayo GAA clubs too ( if not too much )

    Could be a superb thing .

  23. On the Limerick game – if there ever was a chance to test some of the fringe players it’s this game. Who knows what injuries or suspensions lie ahead (assuming we win) so, I would 1) Rest some key players 2) Test some fringe players like Hanley, Crowe 3) experiment with some options like Keith back to HF, Harrison to FB, Keegan to MF, Regan on left frees etc

    Crowe, Harrison, O’ Donaghue
    Durcan, Barrett, Vaughan
    Keegan, AOS
    Loftus, Hanley, Higgins
    Regan, CoC, Durcan

    Subs, Clarke, Caff, Boyle, Coen, SoS, McLaughlin, Moran, Doherty

  24. Lads, let’s spare a thought for the 2 lads (and their families), who unfortunately lost their lives in that drowning accident outside Ennis. Injuries will no doubt heal with time, and patience, and people will go on to live their full lives.

    Might I ask any of you who may be walking, or driving along scenic routes this weekend, be vigilant, and if you happen to come across any water activity that perhaps is potentially dangerous, do not hesitate to pull up and lend your experience.

    Also, don’t be afraid to alert the Gardaí, if you think it’s warranted… Enjoy the fine weather and the games…

  25. The MacDaddy
    Darragh was spreadeagled on the new couch ,remote in hand ready for the Sunday game .

    He was really looking forward to seeing some horsin’ ‘n skelpin’ from some of the old reliables like Meath , Armagh and the likes.

    Should be plenty of multi-Colored cards .And there was no Mayo tonight to worry about .

    Middle age had not been kind to him he thought as he lay there patting his belly after a feed of spuds .But he looked after himself at the same time by having an arugula salad beforehand . He really fancied arugula ( kinda like he really fancied Galway) ..further explanation being unnecessary.

    But he was careful not to mention that thing about the arugula up at the local.

    He had gone out to pasture somewhat recently especially compared with his former nemesis Whelanstein who basically had zero body fat ( because he was in fact made from metal and bolts and wires , in a lab )

    Darragh reflected on this and all of his achievements and , if he said so himself , ( he did ) was well worthy of all those All Ireland medals on one of the greatest teams ever.

    No one could quibble with that . No one apart from Swahili maybe on the Mayo GAA blog going on about the Nicholas Murphy incident. But no actually sane person

    Yerra sure he was also the Big Guy around the (one horse ) town and he definitely liked to think of himself as the MacDaddy of the Skelpies.

    That gave him purpose, looking after the brothers. Minding ‘em like.

    Whishhht ! What was that slurping sound coming from the kitchen ? Oh that’s right Yogurt was having his nightly cleanse and probiotic nourishment. “ Christ will you stop slurping so loudly Toe Mass “ he yelled in his best Joe Brolly accent . “I’m trying to think here “

    Then his excitement grew as the Sunday Game theme music came on but as soon as he saw Cavanagh and The Gooch , well the eyes nearly popped out of his head.

    There they were , the two of them , dressed up to the nines wearing matching outfits which also happened to match exactly Darragh’s brand new sofa.

    FFS !! ….WTF ! …He was almost speechless .

    I mean it was uncanny . It was the same fabric , the same pattern . I mean this was an extremely expensive couch but there was Gooch and Cavanagh looking like dapper and dandy wearing the identical fabric to his expensive new furniture . And matching pink and blue ties.

    He wondered what could have happened ?

    Had Gooch and Cavanagh shown up to the studio dressed inappropriately and was there no option but to hurriedly cut up the furniture in RTÉ into new suits ?

    He wondered if Des might be a skilled seamstress ? No one knew Des’ background so it’s possible he was a bitch with the scissors ,needle and thread .

    Then , quick as a cock in a raspberry , Darragh whipped out his calculator and promptly realized ,after doing some basic sums ,that there would not be enough fabric to make two full suits.

    If so , that meant that at least one and possibly both of them had no trousers.

    Unless RTÉ had also bought the loveseat one of them was prolly going commando !

    The question was , was it The Gooch ? or was it Cavanagh ?

    Someone was bluffing in this game of poker.

    ( Speaking of loveseat , Darragh thought that was definitely a misnomer. I mean for Turtles you could imagine ,maybe ? Or small dogs possibly . But for 6 foot 4 inch Skelpies it definitely was not on. Especially if there were two of them !

    No furniture salesman was going to put one over on him with that kind of codology. He wasn’t parting with his money for that kind of obvious bullshit )

    Darragh was impressed with how Gooch and Cavanagh were looking totally nonplussed and able to continue talking with a straight face as if nothing had happened. He found himself nodding in agreement as they all solemnly said that Mayo were finished .

    Looking down at his notes for his next column were written the words , Horsin’ , Skelpin’, Fellas, Yerra, Me, Mayo ,finished , the brother , P.O. , blather.

    All he needed now to complete it was filler. He had the patent on that . Definitely . After all , not only was he the MacDaddy of the Skelpie clan , he was also the MacDaddy of bull filler.

    Then he remembered he needed to call Galvin about matching pink cushions for the sofa. Galvin knew a lot more than he did about that stuff . He picked up the phone “ Lord” he bellowed…

  26. Your man got back to me today , can’t do me a sample image till Wednesday, Flag wouldn’t be ready in time for the game next week I doubt , so think I’ll leave it.

  27. Have to say Sean its a great idea..And I agree with Swhili..Make it a monster..Its the least he deserves..

  28. Sean,would luv a few of those flags.
    Wouldn’t it be great if we could raise a small fund for Tom’s rehab selling them and tshirts.

  29. How did I miss all this fun?! Swahili, how can you even think of leaving in the future on the next post?!! You are too funny!
    I want a parsons flag!

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