Damien Comer (Galway Senior Football Player 2014 – present)
Damien Comer plays senior football with Annaghdown and Galway. He made his senior debut for the county team in 2014 against London in the Connacht Football Championship. He has won three provincial titles and is an All-Star nominee this year.
He was also a University of Galway Bachelor of Science student between 2011 and 2014. He returned in 2016 to complete his Masters in Education. During his time as a student, he played for the University in the Sigerson Cup.
How would you describe 2022?
I suppose 2022 was overall a very positive year for Galway football. It was obviously very disappointing not to win the All-Ireland final, but you have to look at it with a positive lens and it was very good getting Galway football back to the top table again.
What did it mean for you to be nominated for an All-Star Award?
To be nominated for an All-Star award was a nice personal achievement. It is a nice recognition of the work put in for the year, and a special one for myself and my family. It’s still not the one you want at the end which is the All-Ireland medal, but at the same time you have to celebrate personal success as well as everything else. It was great to get the All-Star, I’ve been nominated now three times so to get one was fantastic and hopefully I can add to that in the coming season.
When did you discover your love for football?
My love for football started when I started playing for my club Annaghdown when I was about 4 or 5 years of age. I have two older brothers that would have been playing in school and playing with my father out the back, and I also played when I went to Corrandrum National School.
Was it always a dream of yours to play at inter-county level?
Yes, it would have been a dream always. I probably thought about it as a dream and never thought it would be a reality. I remember a club mate of mine Niall Coleman playing for Galway and I was only around 12 years of age at the time, and I was in awe of what it must be like walking out into Pearse Stadium to the cheers of the Galway fans. Eventually that dream came true, and I got to put on the Galway jersey.
In 2013 you won an All-Ireland under-21 medal. What did that mean to you and how did it help you going forward?
It was a special time and my first time ever putting on a Galway Jersey. I was only 18 years old when I joined the under-21 panel so had three years playing. I had never played on an underage team for Galway at that stage. Alan Flynn was the manager at the time and he spotted me playing club football and brought me in on the panel. I was lucky as I ended up starting in every game in that All-Ireland run. I won an All-Ireland Medal with my first season playing for Galway.
Getting to the Sigerson Cup final in 2018, what was that experience like?
We had a good team in 2018 with good players from Galway, Mayo, Sligo and a few from Clare, Limerick, and the Midlands, but we lost to UCD by a couple of points which was frustrating at the time.
Overall, the Sigerson competition is a special competition because it’s probably the next level to inter-county and it’s a step up from senior club. It is also enjoyable because you’re playing with lads you normally play against so that was nice but it’s disappointing to lose the final. That is sport, you have good and bad days and you’re going to have more bad days then good days unfortunately, but I actually loved playing Sigerson with University of Galway.
Who is the toughest opponent you have come up against to date?
Lee Keegan is one of the toughest men I ever marked, it is between himself or Neil McGee from Donegal, two hardy men and good man markers so it would probably be either one of those.
Why do they call you ‘Digger’?
I’m not sure to be honest, it was a nickname that came around a few years ago and it stayed with me. I have had a few nicknames, but that one seems to be sticking most. I don’t know if it’s because of my size or when I’m catching a ball, maybe it has something to do with that.
What is the best advice you have got in your career so far?
The best advice I got was when I was starting out with Galway on the under-21 panel. It was don’t compound an error with another error and don’t dwell on it. Try and make your next play simple to get your confidence back.
What advice would you give to someone starting off playing football?
Just practice the basics at home when you start training. It’s probably only going to be once a week, so it’s not a lot of time. It’s what you do away from training that’s going to make your skills better. I use my left foot a lot because I was forced to when I was younger and now my left foot is as good if not better than my right.
You coach teams at your school in Claregalway – do you enjoy that, and would you be interested in coaching when you finish playing?
Myself and Paul Conroy coach teams in Claregalway College and it’s enjoyable passing on whatever knowledge we have to the younger players. At the moment I wouldn’t have any interest in coaching at inter-county level probably because I train so much presently. Maybe in the future when I retire, I will take up coaching as this would keep me in touch with the game but at the moment I enjoy the bit I do in the schools coaching.
What other sports do you enjoy?
I play soccer, hurling and tennis, but probably my favourite sport would be golf. I would be a keen golfer whenever I get any spare time from football, and during the summer I love getting out for a round with the lads. It’s good fun out in the fresh air getting your steps in and you can play it at any age.