"I had a little penknife with me" - Jerry Flannery sums up his competitiveness with story from his school days
The doctor came out and said: "Yeah this guy's wrist is fractured and if he falls he’s going to break it again."
Jerry Flannery has 42 Ireland caps and a playing career spanning almost a decade for Munster, and likely would have had even more appearances for both sides were it not for injuries.
Such a small percentage of athletes make it to the professional stage in rugby, but to then go a step further and represent your country requires a drive and competitiveness above the ordinary.
Speaking on JOE's Ireland Unfiltered this week, Flannery told a story which showed that even growing up, he had the competitive edge and will to win that sets top athletes apart from others.
In his school days, he repeated his Leaving Certificate at St Munchin's in the hope of winning a Senior Cup title.
But Flannery became frustrated when one of the star players on the team broke his wrist and was unable to play for an upcoming big game, but thought he would be available to play in Ireland under-19 trials shortly afterwards.
"The cynical part of me said he’s just boxing clever where he could play, there’s a risk of injury but there’s always a risk of injury," Flannery said.
"He could play in the Senior Cup for us and then go for the trials. And he was pretty adamant... 'No, my wrist is not good enough'.”
So Flannery decided to take matters in his own hands.
"I was able to take my mum’s car and I drove to school one day and during business organisation I had a little penknife with me and I sat beside him and we cut his cast off," he said.
"A part of me wants to believe that he thinks, 'Well if it’s OK I will play.' He was a strong guy, if he didn’t want me to cut the cast off he could have stopped me [laughs].
"Cut the cast off and I said, 'Come on we’ll go to the hospital', and I drove him out at lunch, went down to the regional hospital and I know now retelling this story that this is weird but at the time it seemed so normal.
"It seemed like the only process that I could do to get him to play.
"And drove him out, went into A&E and we waited and then he got an X-ray and the doctor came out and said 'Yeah this guy's wrist is fractured and if he falls he’s going to break it again.'
"So I was like 'Alright, OK!'”