What is your first memory of rugby?
It was going down to Old Belvedere, which is my local club in Dublin, and that was playing Under-6’s and playing touch rugby. I still remember that moment well. I played from Under-6s to Under-13s and that was my introduction to rugby. I was a centre back then at about ten or 11 years of age. My whole family plays rugby and where I live in Dublin, rugby is just the sport for the area. It was a no-brainer to play rugby but I did play Gaelic football at that age too.
When did becoming a professional rugby player become a realistic goal for you?
I went to was St Michael’s school in Dublin and if you played rugby and played well, it was well known you gave yourself an opportunity of going professional with the Leinster Academy. We had so many players there who went through the programme and went on to be pro players. The St Michael’s programme had such a reputation that if you did well there, turning professional was a realistic goal for you.
Who were your rugby heroes growing up?
I grew up wanting to be a rugby player and all my heroes were rugby players, like Sean O’Brien, Stephen Ferris and definitely players I am training with now, like Dan Lydiate and Justin Tipuric. They were on the 2013 Lions tour and I was 11 or 12 and they were the big stars and they played my position too.
It hasn’t been as weird as I thought it would be training with both of them, but I do have moments when I realize it should be weird. But Lyds and Tips are just really humble guys and approachable, they really help you integrate into the squad. There have been times in training, when I do have a moment, and do realise who I am training with. I am now with them every day and I used to watch them on TV and would never have seen myself training with them.
When did you first become aware of the Ospreys?
My first recollection of the Ospreys is the Magners League final against Leinster in Dublin in 2012. The Ospreys had that team starting with Duncan Jones, who is a coach here, and it was stacked with Welsh internationals and Lions. I don’t remember anything about the game but Shane Williams scoring in the corner and Dan Biggar nailing the final kick. I was in the stand behind the posts and I was shocked that Dan nailed the conversion from so wide out to win the game. That was my first memory of the Ospreys and it is a great rivalry that is still there.
What are your personal goals with the Ospreys?
This season has been frustrating for all of us, with Covid and I had an injury, but that is rugby, I guess. I just want to play as much as I can, get as much game-time as I can and really kick-on next season. I have just learnt so much being around the international players here. I want to play and to play for a successful team that is winning. My Ospreys debut was off the bench and it was against Racing 92 in the Champions Cup, and their team was stacked with stars but it was so cool to get on for seven minutes in such a big European game with two star-studded teams. I really enjoyed it and to play my first game was exciting.