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How did you get involved with the club?
I don’t remember exactly. I was playing for Mount Merrion in the early-to-mid 2000s at a half-decent level, and at the same time medicine was getting a bit more serious. I met one of the lads (Colm McCarthy) on a MedSoc night out and he was extolling the virtues of the St Vincent’s team, so I decided I’d go and check them out. Their manager at the time was John Seery and his approach to football (and life) was unlike others I had experienced in adult football, and I was sold. The last words of every team talk were “go out and enjoy yourselves today”. Despite his current hiatus, we try to maintain his tenets.
What is your favourite Vincent’s memory?
It was a balmy May or June evening in the late 2000s, the culmination of that year’s Hospitals Cup. The women’s Hospitals Cup was played on the pitch in UCD prior to the men’s, so a decent crowd was gathered. The St Vincent’s League team had split in two, into their representative hospitals: St Vincent’s and the Mater. Even one family was divided — we had Alan and Bryan Barry, and Richie played for the Mater. The fiercely-contested battle was decided by either a stroke of genius or an absolute fluke from the cultured right foot of Diarmaid O’Malley. He lofted a ball from the right touchline towards the back post and it sailed in to seal a deserved victory for St Vincent’s. Drinking from the Cup that night was special.
He hasn’t been around much this year, but he’s still peripherally involved, so slightly ahead of Aidan McGrath is Ronan McDermott. He has the game to back it up though, in fairness to him. That said, I’m no angel myself!
Rory Durand, and he has the body to prove it.
Aidan McGrath has broken some land-speed records of late. His goal-scoring this year is equally impressive.
Best injury to a team-mate?
We were playing against some team in the Crumlin area and the wonderful Gavin Kane got our second goal of the game. Justifiably, he went for a late-1980s Mark Hughes-style jumping fist-pump celebration; however, in doing so, he managed to pull his hamstring and immediately had to be substituted. A glorious yet tragic end to his game. Thankfully, he made a full recovery and now is rarely seen without his therabands.
Balancing home, work and sport?
Exercise plays such an important role in most areas of medicine (and life). There’s fascinating research going into the benefits of exercise at a microcellular level. We’ve known for millennia that exercise is good for you and now we’re finding out how. I’ve always loved sport and it has always been part of my life. Thankfully, my wife is the same, so we exercise together when we can. For the dwindling time that I still feel that I’m pulling my weight, I will try to keep playing for Vincent’s. Team sports are a great way of helping manage stress and keeping you grounded.
Coming back from injury?
I was very lucky that I got through my teens and 20s with no major injuries, but once the clock hit 30, things began to change. I tore my calf, mildly sprained my medial collateral ligament and then tore my anterior cruciate ligament over a three-year period. The first two injuries weren’t too bad, but the ACL required surgery. It gave me great insight into an athlete’s journey through injury and the dedication and persistence that is needed to get back to sport. It’s a long and arduous road and one which has given me great perspective on the value of team sport and the necessity to enjoy it while it lasts. It has also given me greater insight into the need for the maintenance and continuous work at strength and conditioning in competitive sport, even for the so-called ‘weekend warriors.’
Experience as an Ireland team doctor?
I have been lucky enough to do some work in parallel with my day job as a GP and that has been as team doctor with some of the underage Irish soccer teams. As a football lover, it’s a privilege to be involved with the national teams… don’t believe the pundits, the future of Irish soccer looks good!
Advice for younger doctors?
Exercise. Listen to Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen Song, the modernised version of the Desiderata. And follow John Seery’s advice to enjoy yourself in what you do, do your best for your team (insert ‘family’, ‘friends’, ‘hobbies’, ‘job’, etc) and have respect those around you (ref, opponents, patients, co-workers, and especially the environment).
Favourite place for a pint?
There’s always a welcoming friendly face from John and the gang in Kiely’s in Donnybrook. They have been fantastic supporters to our club in the last few years and we have had some great nights there.
They do a lovely risotto too!