"It's so cut-throat you wouldn't believe it" - hurling the dream for prodigious Waterford youngster 1 year ago

"It's so cut-throat you wouldn't believe it" - hurling the dream for prodigious Waterford youngster

Only 22 yet, Dessie Hutchinson has already lived a life less ordinary.

As a youngster, he played everything. Won a Tony Forristal with the Waterford hurlers, played football with Waterford Bohemians.

Could turn his hand to anything with a ball. Understandably, the football took priority.

Though he had dreams of winning county finals with Ballygunner, soccer was the glamour game. And still is for any youngster with stars in their eyes.

The Premier League dream, the televised games, the hype of it all - Hutchinson was sold, and as soon as Brighton and Hove Albion came calling after some impressive performances with Ireland underage teams and with his club - he was packing his bags.

By now it's come full circle. Hutchinson lived the soccer dream - he was over on the south coast of England for four full years. He didn't really make the cut there, is well able to admit that himself and now, after dabbling with the League of Ireland, the hurley is back in his hand. This time for real.

"For me now the (soccer) pretty much done, well it is done. I've no aspirations to go back anytime soon or anything like that. You never know what could happen but for the moment I'm concentrating on Ballygunner and hopefully getting in with Waterford..."

It has always been on the back of mind. The hurley was never too far from his hand.


"I always had it with me (in Brighton), and any time I came home it was the first thing I'd go to. All the time over there we'd have a tap around now and again..."

He hasn't lost the touch, as 1-3 from play in his first county final with Ballygunner a couple of weeks ago showed. The Déise could be onto a good one.

But what about the soccer dream, what brought Hutchinson home?

"It's so cut-throat over there you wouldn't believe it," he says at the launch of the AIB club season.

"The lad sitting next to you is hoping you're injured for six months so he can get looked at more than you are. It's a strange place to be and it's a strange industry. Unless you're after playing 50 or 60 games in the Premier League then you can kind of sit back and say, 'Right, I think I'll be okay for a while...'"

Hutchinson hadn't played 50 or 60 Premier League games. He only started in the League Cup once.

"In life you have to make decisions. For me, I came back here and played here for six months and thought to myself that the only way of progressing would be to get a move back across the water. At the time, it wasn't for me. Then you look at the League of Ireland, and it's no disrespect to the league or anything like that but you're never going to earn enough money or became that high profile player to be able to relax on it when you're finished playing. So for me it was a case of getting a career change while I'm young rather than wait until 27, 28 when it could be too late for me..."

Waterford hurling is his focus now. A fella who works with a warehousing company in Waterford, college is the aim next year.

"I'm hoping to go back next September. Earlier if I can. When I was in England the education side wasn't great so I'm trying to go back as a mature student next September so it's been hard in that case. When you come home you're behind a lot of people your own age that have gone through college. A lot of lads my age have now finished college but that's the aim, it's to get back to college..."

22 years of age, but Dessie Hutchinson has a life of experience behind him.

Dessie Hutchinson and a host of GAA stars were at the launch of the AIB Camogie and Club Championship. For exclusive content and behind the scenes action throughout the AIB GAA & Camogie Club Championships follow AIB GAA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile