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GAA

27th Jul 2023

Rian O’Neill explains how he balances inter-county football with work as an electrician

Niall McIntyre

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Teaching and office jobs may be the norm for inter-county footballers nowadays but Rian O’Neill loves his post as an electrician.

The Crossmaglen Rangers and Armagh star has completed his apprenticeship and now works out of Dundalk as a fully qualified sparky.

It involves early starts and some physical graft but that doesn’t faze the 24-year-old, who says he enjoys every aspect of working on site. It comes in particularly handy on big game-weeks he says, when he can distance himself from the talk and the chatter that may be dominating the county.

“That’s the line of work I went into,” O’Neill says, in his appearance on this week’s GAA Hour Show.

“I suppose it’s not too common anymore to have people on site playing GAA, it’s more everyone’s going down the teaching route and that, and getting their summers off, but I like what I do so I’m happy to keep going.

“I’ve a sound boss who lets me off for days when I need to get away for training weekends or whatever, he looks after me that way.

“The two Mackins do a bit of concreting as well, so they’re a bit more hands on than me I’d say, so they’d be more tired than me coming to training! Sunburned to death. So they’d be more full-on than me.”

“Yeah, but then we’d be looking at the bank balance then, so it works the other way too,” he laughs, when asked if he’d ever look on at teacher’s summer holidays with jealousy.

A relaxed character, O’Neill says he leaves the worrying to his father and his mother, in particular, on game-weeks.

“The good thing about the line of work I’m in, you wouldn’t really get too many people pestering you.

“You’d be working away on your own with a few other lads just, and there’d be very little talk about the game, and that’s what I’d like, you know what I mean, to be in your own sort of bubble.

“My mother would be more nervous than what we’d be, fretting about the game, I don’t like to get too stressed out about it. When I’m playing I just try to go about my week as normal.”

Watch the full All-Ireland preview show with Rian O’Neill here.