"You probably need that to sweat out all the Dunkin Donuts" - Mannion loving life in Boston 5 months ago

"You probably need that to sweat out all the Dunkin Donuts" - Mannion loving life in Boston

Paul Mannion enjoyed himself last week as, a long way from home, he followed Shane Lowry around the Brookline country club at the US Open.

Some life.

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He met up with Shane's dad Brendan and, between them, as they watched some of the world's best golfers, the boys shot the breeze like all Irish abroad do. Some weather here. You wouldn't get this back home, this is something we could get used to and that kind of thing.

Mannion came out to Boston a couple of weeks ago and, as he smiles away under the summery vibes of a bleached blonde head, it certainly seems that he's settled into his new surroundings. "I may go off and see a barber tonight," he says with a laugh.

The Dubliner is over to kick football for the next two months and, since arriving, he's played two games for Donegal Boston. He's had corner backs pulling and dragging and, he has to admit, he's had one too many trips to Dunkin' Donuts as well. We've all been there.

Initially, he thought he was a bit old for what he calls 'this J1 kind of summer,' but, in the knowledge that he'll be back in time for the Dublin club championship and, with a few months off work before he starts a new job, the man didn't ask why when the opportunity came up, he asked why the hell not.

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And everyone back in Kilmacud will be glad to know that, when he comes back, he'll be battle-hardened if nothing else.

"Teams love to sow it into all these new lads arriving over...It can be a tougher game. Someone described it the other day as like prison rules Gaelic football. It is actually not that bad. Teams are here, they want to win. They are out to win. It has been very enjoyable and great craic."

He's playing for Donegal Boston and alongside him, he has his former Dublin team-mate Shane Carthy as well as Derry and Glen Maghera player Ciaran McFaul. The weather is scorching but that's no harm.

"You're getting mid 20s each day here and yeah, it can get quite humid too which can be difficult to train in. But look, you probably need that to sweat out all the Dunkin Donuts and some of the shite you'd be eating out here, it's good to go out and sweat it out!

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"They do take it very serious. For them, it is their club championship so I wouldn’t even say it is not as serious as club championship. They train quite hard but they do want the lads coming out let them have a fun summer as well and that kind of thing. So you'd have the odd weekend off and there are good things to do, it is nice to enjoy summer in a new city while still being able to train and prepare for a club championship as well."

Unsurprisingly, Mannion had been inundated with requests to come out Stateside to play Gaelic and, seeing as he's no longer a part of the Dublin senior football panel, it was something he had the time to go and do.

"Part of me felt a bit silly coming out here thinking like, jesus I’m a bit old to do this J1 type summer again. It was just April, May, I know a couple of people out here and they had been asking me to come out. I’d say no a few times because I thought I’d be back home working away. I was enjoying my job at the time.

"I am moving jobs and I thought, do you know, this would line up well. Enjoy a couple of months off, line that up with the time off from work. It worked out well on that front. So when I asked the club about it, I asked friends and family what they thought and they said go for it."

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And here he is.

He still keeps an eye on the Dubs, and he'll put the GAA Go account to the test this Saturday but for now, he's happy as Larry. And why wouldn't he be.

21 June 2022; Former Dublin footballer and Kilmacud Crokes’ star, Paul Mannion pictured at the launch of AIB’s new series, The Drive, which explores the adversity faced by inter-county players in the modern game and what drives them to pull on the jersey year after year. Hosted by Ardal O’Hanlon, The Drive features the stories of four inter-county players and their journeys on and off the pitch, celebrating the incredible perseverance showed by players across the country, who despite logic, can’t quit, no matter how tough it gets, because Tough Can’t Quit. You can view the teaser for the series on AIB GAA’s social channels. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile