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O’Donoghue a man of many talents


GREEN SHOOTSMayo footballer Ryan O’Donoghue pictured at AIB’s launch of the 2021 GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship at Croke Park last week. Pic: Sportsfile

Michael Gallagher

SOMETIMES in the white heat of championship football, the players become statistics in the great race for silverware.
Ryan O’Donoghue’s name has been associated with Mayo football through action-packed minor and Under-21 campaigns in recent years, and more recently as a talented attacker in James Horan’s senior team.
But what do we know about the man himself?
This week the young man from Belmullet spoke to The Mayo News about football and finals and fans, but he also spoke about dreams, ambitions, relaxation and the challenges Covid-19 brought to his college life.
“I did Business Studies with Accounting and Finance in UL and finished in May, so I'm currently on the job hunt, but Covid definitely changed a lot of things around study and regular college life over the past year,” he began.  
“It was challenging not being in the lecture hall and not being able to interact normally with the tutors, but it was just one of those things you got to get on with it and do your best.
“Luckily enough I got the results I wanted so I can’t really complain.
“I was at home for the first semester when we were playing football for the winter championship. Then, I went back up in January because I didn’t think I’d be able to do the last semester at home just on my own. I moved in with three of the lads in my course, just to make study a bit easier and when the exams finished in May I came home.
“I’m at home at the moment and enjoying the football and my last summer of freedom before I go back to work in the big bad world in September,” he smiled.
O’Donoghue was also a talented boxer (he was the national ‘Boy 1’ 33kg national champion in 2010) and soccer player (he represented the Republic of Ireland at schoolboys’ level) in his earlier years, and his childhood dreams revolved around the ‘beautiful game.’
“Making it in the soccer world was the first dream I suppose,” he admits.
“Getting across to play in England was the aim, like Ronan Murray who was over there at Ipswich. He came from just over the road and won an All Ireland with Our Lady’s (Secondary School, Belmullet) before he went to England, so it gave all of us sight of possibilities.
“I started off with Erris United and spent three years with Sligo Rovers Under-19s but came to the realisation pretty quick that I probably wasn’t good enough.
“When I played with the Irish Schoolboys and won three caps, I realised how high the standard was and that was only the schoolboy set-up, so to get across the water to England would have been a very big ask and at the end of the day that was the reason for going back and playing Gaelic football.
He then went on to tell us the best way to relax in Belmullet.
“I took up golf in the last lockdown and we’re lucky to have such a brilliant course here in Carne. I try and get out once a week to clear the head and stretch the legs and take the mind off life and football.
“Sometimes, though, when I hit a terrible shot it’s not too relaxing, but it’s amazing to have such a class course here on my doorstep.”

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