The majority of us outside the ‘Wee County’ managed to get our first glimpse of a true talent in 2013 in the International Rules series versus Australia. Not yet (legally) able to buy himself a drink at the time, Ciaran Byrne lined out against the best players the AFL had to offer. Of course, he would later be joining some of those opponents a year later when he made the move to Carlton. After making an impressive start ‘Down Under’, some serious injuries marred his time there. Now back in his native Louth despite Carlton eager on keeping him, he is keen to help his club and county rise again. This week we went ClubSpotting with Ciaran Byrne to St. Mochta’s.
1.What are your first memories of your club St. Mochta’s?
Can be such a hard question to answer as there were so many memories. As a young kid I would have lived at the football field. Be it at games, training, camps or just a summer's day kicking ball. Growing up in a family that was heavily involved in football and the club, it really was our second home and a great place for us to spend hours just messing around with friends and whoever else was there, but knowing my family’s nature there would of been some sort of competitive edge involved in whatever games we were playing.
2. Who were your sporting idols growing up?
I suppose as a young kid growing up we all would have looked up to the players that were on the TV at the time. I remember really loving watching the likes of Ciaran McDonald from Mayo and Bernard Brogan from Dublin. There wasn’t one player in particular that would stand out. I enjoyed looking at different aspects of all different types of players. Locally, Paddy Keenan was a Joy to watch. What a player he was.
3. What has been the proudest moment of your playing career?
There has been many. I think representing my club St Mochta’s and Louth for Ireland during the International rules series back in 2013 at the age of 17 was pretty big. I just remember the national anthem in Croke Park with my hands around Paul Flynn, Michael Murphy the likes. Players I would have looked up to. Great experience and one I would love to do again.
4. Toughest opponent you have faced?
Again there has been many. Jack McCaffrey back in my DCU days when we played against UCD in the college games. Offensively I enjoyed the battle however tracking him back with his speed and power was near impossible.
5. Best Player you have played with?
I have been so lucky to play with so many outstanding footballers across the country. I would have played a lot of football in DCU and Enda Smith from Roscommon was a joy to play with. We just knew each other’s games inside out.
6. Do you look back on your time in the AFL with any regrets?
I had such a rollercoaster with my AFL career. So many highs but then again had so many lows. It’s near a matter of what if with my AFL career as it could have been an extremely successful one. If I didn’t do my ACL in 2015, hand on my heart I would still be there. I was still contracted to stay and Carlton were keen to sign me on again but I really wanted to return home to play GAA and be around my family and friends again after 6 years away. I am very proud of what I achieved while I was down under and it was certainly the right decision to come home.
7. What are your hopes and ambitions for 2021?
My transition back to life in Ireland has been a tough one and a massive learning curve. I’m starting to find my feet now and enjoying my new business venture with BODYROCK Reformer Pilates. I want to create an environment where people can come and enjoy exercise as well as making their bodies feel better both physically and mentally. Also regarding football for both club and Louth, I want to keep pushing on there and be the best footballer and person I possibly can be. Happiness is the greatest achievement in life, so if I can achieve happiness while doing all of the above, that is the ultimate DREAM.
What is ClubSpot?
ClubSpot offers a wide range of features to ease the burden on volunteers in sports clubs and to help clubs increase their revenues. With a wide range of features, online payment and a customised Club App included.
For more information or to arrange a product demonstration for your club contact firstname.lastname@example.org.