Tyrone star Conor Meyler defied medical advice to play in the All-Ireland final after being told his season was over.
Meyler made a shock return to start the six-point defeat by Dublin.
The Omagh man has revealed that he fractured his tibia in the Super 8s clash with Donegal just four weeks before the Croke Park showpiece.
The wing-forward was initially told he would face 12 weeks of rehabilitation but he made an astonishing recovery to start the final for Mickey Harte's men.
"It was a big setback against Donegal, I was told my season was over," said Meyler.
"I could have been out for 12 weeks, and I managed to be back in three, to give myself a chance to play in an All-Ireland final, which was a dream come true."
The versatile attacker missed the semi-final victory against Monaghan but worked diligently with the team's medical staff to make himself available for the Red Hands' first All-Ireland final appearance in 10 years.
He started the game against the reigning champions and played for 40 minutes before he was replaced by Lee Brennan.
"It was a lot of hard work. Every hour in every day counted," he added.
"Thankfully the county board, the Tyrone physios and the club physios were there to help me, to give me whatever it takes to get back.
"If I wasn't going to get back it wasn't going to be for a lack of effort on my behalf, training three or four times a day to try and get there.
"To stand in Croke Park on All-Ireland final day is what you grow up as a wee boy dreaming about, and that thought in the back of my head helped me get there.
"So in one sense I'll take that as a positive, along with the massive disappointment of the result."