Michael Lundy on why construction is the ideal job for GAA players in America
Micheal Lundy left for America in 2015.
It was an opportunity he couldn't turn down. Travelling to New York on a Grad Visa, the Corofin club man was eager to explore the city that never sleeps. He had been in Boston twice when he was younger on J1 Visas in his formative years, and the American dream was always something that appealed to him.
He knew he was going to miss some football with Corofin and Galway but that was something he was prepared to do. As it turned out, having spent ten months in America, Lundy missed out on Galway's historic Connacht Championship success in 2016.
Corofin and Galway were never far from his mind on the other side of the world, and despite missing the training, the camaraderie, the competition and everything else about home and the GAA, he was kept busy in The Big Apple.
Lundy, who works with a HR company in Galway when he's at home spent his time in America in a very different line of employment in the states.
He worked on a construction site. The labour was hard. The days were long, but as he says himself, it stood him in good stead in terms of his fitness upon his return to Ireland and even when he was playing football over there with the Donegal team in New York.
As many J1 students will agree, the hectic lifestyle can make it hard to fit in a gym programme on a consistent basis, and speaking from experience, Lundy felt that the old rural adage proved through that lifting blocks and tough manual labour will do the job for you.
"It also worked as a bit of gym work, a bit of hard labour did me no harm," he told us at a recent AIB GAA event.
The half forward, who travelled over with the intention of securing an office job within his degree, was swayed to the building side of things by the handiness of it all.
With a sound, accommodating boss over him, it turned out to be a good break for him.
"The construction now, it was just for an easier lifestyle, I suppose. The boss was lenient enough, he'd give you a couple of days off every now and then for travelling and stuff.
"It was easier to manage than just getting a job within an office where you couldn't be seen to be taking Mondays off after games and what not. It was more for the handiness of it. I could have worked in the office up there. It would have been within the degree and I probably would have qualified to work up there.
"The office was in Yonkers and I was in living Queens, it was an hour-and-a-half commute on the train. It was three hours a day [round trip]. The building site was 15 minutes from the house. I said, 'Yeah, the construction will do me'. "
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Just like all Irish abroad, there was never a dull moment. Between football, work, travelling, sightseeing and a trip to Las Vegas for a Conor McGregor fight, he's happy he did everything there is to do over there.
"Yeah, I did a good bit. I would have spent the summer before in Boston. I travelled up to a few friends there and I travelled up to a few lads in Chicago, I knew a few lads who were over playing football for the summer. I went to Vegas with a few lads for a Conor McGregor fight. It's so accessible and while you're over there, you try to make the most of it.
Home now, and preparing for another All-Ireland club semi-final with Corofin, the lively half forward is back working in an office in Galway. He's happy to be back, because it'd be tough to balance the construction work with training.
"I don't know, it's hard to find the balance. Some of those jobs on sites are gruelling days. Trying to find the energy to go training in the evening would be another thing. I suppose the demands in GAA the now, there's so much time put into it. The easier the job you have, the more benefit you get out of it on the football side."
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"Ah yeah. You're sitting down for the day. I feel fine anyway. So hopefully, it's the right blend. Hopefully, we'll find out on Saturday whether it's working or not."
Corofin will be bidding to make it back to their first All-Ireland club final since their 2015 win when they take on Moorefield in O'Connor Park, Tullamore this Sunday. Lundy is ready for the Kildare challenge.
Corofin's Michael Lundy is pictured ahead of the AIB GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Club Championship Semi-Final taking place at O'Connor Park on Saturday, 17th of February where the Galway club will face Kildare's Moorefield. For exclusive content and behind the scenes action throughout the AIB GAA & Camogie Club Championships follow AIB GAA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat and www.aib.ie/gaa.
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