At a time when the Aussies are pinching some of the GAA’s finest talents, it’s nice to see them give some of them back. Conor Glass was possibly one of the most impressive minors in recent years. Arguably as impressive as a certain man from Kerry was at the age group. His size and physicality aside, his skills on the ball were key in helping to lead Derry to Ulster minor glory in 2015, where he played a captains role. Shortly after that success and only days after completing his A-levels he set sail for Australia where he joined Hawthorn in the AFL in a dream move for the Glen man. His decision to return home has brought a wind of change and excitement to the ‘Oak Leaf County’. There are whispers of Ulster titles and promotion again, where without his presence, only the opposite was muttered. With such excitement surrounding him, we were intrigued to find out more about him. This week we went ClubSpotting with the man himself to Watty Grahams GAA Club.
1. What are your first memories of your club Watty Grahams?
My first memories of playing gaelic for club are all positive and mainly involve enjoyment of playing with my mates. It was just fun. You were hoping that training was on a Sunday morning so you could have an excuse to miss Sunday morning mass.I would be out most nights of the week training and playing any sport I could, rugby, basketball, soccer and hurling etc. We were a very successful underage team, and it was made all the better because we were all close mates which I guess played a part in the success of the team.
2. Who were your sporting idols idols growing up?
Growing up I was a massive Colm Cooper fan, mainly due to both of us having ginger hair. However, from my own county, Fergal Doherty was my Gaelic idol.
3. Was it a tough decision to leave for the AFL at a young age or something you had always dreamed of?
It was a bit of both. Obviously any young person who loves sport like I did, dreams of becoming a professional footballer. So when the opportunity presented itself, I was not hesitant in my decision at all. My family and friends were very supportive of my choice to pursue my career in the AFL. Leaving home at 18 years old, 2 days after my A-Level exams was definitely tough but I'm grateful for doing it because it developed me as a person first and foremost and I now have life experiences, close friends in Australia and memories I will take to the grave.
4. Who is the toughest opponent you have faced?
Toughest opponent growing up was Thomas Galligan from Cavan. His performances in the 2020 season speak for itself.
5. Who is the best player you have played with?
It's hard to pick out any individual or teammates because I have played along some elite players. When Shane McGuigan is in full flight, he is one of the best forwards in Ireland, so I would choose him. Out of pure raw talent, Jordon Martin would be my pick however he chose the musical route and is shredding it with the Electric Guitar.
6. Have you any pre game rituals or superstitions?
I have too many pre game rituals! It starts more than 24 hours before the game. I have the same routine the day before a game and the morning of the game. I do a small run and an upper body gym session the day before, into a soy latte, a chicken sandwich, and a slice of banana bread for lunch. Then for dinner I have spaghetti bolognese and a hot chocolate to finish the night.
The morning of the game I go for a walk and get a coffee and have two slices of toast with peanut butter and jam. I bless myself with holy water before I leave the house, which came from my mum blessing me before every game growing up. 2 hours before the game I have a subway and then I’m ready to go.
7. Are you happy with your decision to call time on your AFL journey, and what are your ambitions for 2021 with Watty Grahams and Derry?
I am really happy with my decision to return home. I receive that question quite a lot and I have the same answer every time. I have no regrets and i'd do it all over again.
It's hard to pick out any individual or teammates because I have played along some elite players. When Shane McGuigan is in full flight, he is one of the best forwards in Ireland, so I would choose him. Out of pure raw talent, Jordon Martin would be my pick however he chose the musical route and is shredding it with the Electric Guitar.y A-Level exams was definitely tough but i'm grateful for doing it because it developed me as a person first and foremost and I now have life experiences, close friends in Australia and memories I will take to the grave.
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