Diarmuid O’Connor was certainly the find of the 2015 football season, giving performances well beyond his years throughout Mayo’s journey to the semi-final. Younger brother of All Star and former Young Player of the Year, Cillian O’Connor, Diarmuid is now in contention to claim the Young Player of the Year award himself.
Away from the green and red of Mayo, however, Diarmuid is a student at Dublin City University, where he is studying PE and Maths.
“I did Sports Science in first year and it wasn’t really for me so I sat down, thought about what I really wanted to do and decided that PE and Math’s would be a better route. I like the idea of being a teacher, my brother, Cillian, did primary school teaching and my Dad was a math’s teacher so I suppose it feels right for me.”
Balancing student and football life is something that doesn’t come easy to most inter-county footballers, and O’Connor is no different.
“The nights you’d have to travel home for training are tough, you might have to miss a lecture to get home in time and then you’d get back to Dublin late so that’s tough on the sleeping patterns.”
In the GPA’s Report ‘Never Enough Time’ which looked at different areas of our student members lives, 61% of members said they would like more time for family and friends, and one thing Diarmuid acknowledges is the effect it can have on your social life in college.
“It [social life] does take a bit of a knock compared to other students due to training commitments. You’d don’t get to go out as much as your friends do but you just have to focus on what’s important. No one makes me us do it, we do it because we want to play for Mayo so you put that first, even if that means you have to stay in more often!”
It’s well documented that student members often struggle to balance college commitments and inter-county commitments (50% of student county players reported that they feel overwhelmed by their commitments.)
“Yeah definitely. Going home during the week to train in Mayo puts pressure on your college work and even getting enough sleep, but I do enjoy doing it and I know I’m very lucky to get to play for Mayo and to have the opportunities I have in college.”
Check out this stunning point by the young Mayo wing foward!