Exclusive interview with Cork Senior Footballer Mr. Alan O'Connor
Date of birth;              2nd June 1985
Place of birth;              Dublin
Occupation;                 Electrician

Honours with Clubs
I played with Lucan Sarsfields, Dublin from the age of 8 where I received under 10's and Under 12's A Football medals. I then moved to cork in 1997/1998 where I played with St. Colums GAA.

Honours with the County
I've Three under 21 Munster Medals, two Junior Munster Medal in 2004 and 2007, I've two Senior Munster Medals and two McGrath Cup Medals and we won the division 2 National League this year.

Who was your Childhood Hero's or otherwise?
Teddy McCarthy

Biggest influence in your career to date?
My Parents, My coaches

What sporting event you would pay most to watch?
I would love to see Muhammad Ali fight, to see Muhammad Ali fight in a live match would be an amazing experience

Greatest display of football you have seen?
Seamus Moynihan against Armagh and Maurice Fitzgerald display of football against Dublin in the 1997 All- Ireland football Final

Favourite grounds to play in?
Croke Park, the facilities are top class

Best player you played with?
Graham Canty, Anthony Lynch

Toughest opponent you played against?
Pearse O'Neill and opposition Brendan Quigley from Laois

Most memorable match?
My first year as Under 21 for Cork, we were down at half-time by a five or six points and to come back and win by a point,

Least memorable match?
It was my third year playing for Cork, it was the All-Ireland U21 Final against Mayo, we were hammering Mayo at half time, then in the second half everything went wrong for us we had players sent off, we ended up losing the match by four points, it was so disappointing when we knew we had the beating of them

Career disappointments?
My first year playing for Cork Seniors, I was on the panel all year they had to pick three fellas as water boys and I was one of them

Career highlights to date?
Beating Kerry, any time you beat Kerry is a highlight

Advice to young players?
Listen to your coaches they may not be right the whole time but they know what they are on about, put in the hard work it's the small things that makes all the difference in the end of the day

Young players for the future
Colm O'Neill, Paul O'Flynn and for St. Colums Sean Shea, Michael Casey

What inspires you to play GAA?
My family and friends

What you like about the GAA?
You meet lots of new people, make loads of friends and it's a voluntary organisation

Have you any Faults in the GAA?
Refereeing, its not very consistence, it's not the referrers fault they are not getting the proper training

Changes you would make in the GAA?
Bring in a video referee and let the umpires and linemen have more say in the game

What's your opinion of the back door system?
It's a good system, it gives the weaker counties a good chance, I think if any county meets each other in there providential round they should meet until the final, like we've played Kerry now and have beat them, we could play them again in another round before the All-Ireland final.

If there was a rule change what rule would you change to improve the game or bring it on?
Introduce more subs

Should players be paid?
No but there expensive should been seen after

Should GAA be professional?
Well it has reached the highest level of professional possible now days, the training, the fitness, the tactics, we have top class coaches, physio's, physiologist, massages everything you could think of we have it, the only difference from pro's is we don't get paid.

If there was a transfer market who do you think would be the most expensive player?
Stephen Cluxton (Dublin) Anthony Lynch (Cork), Colm Cooper (Kerry)

Can you tell me about your training routine for one week?
Tuesday's and Thursday's are our two days training with the Cork Team, we have to arrive in Paric Ui Rinn/ Paric Ui Chaoimh for 6pm, training starts at 6.30 finishes at 8.30pm. We've a match every Sunday, if there isn't a Cork game there is Team A vs Team B and they can be the toughest match. Each player is out to prove themselves at every opportunity possible which makes the A vs. B games very hard. We all have an individual weights training programme to do in our own time, you have to do it at least three times a week. You are tested once a month on weight lifting to see if you are doing the weight training, twice a year our fitness level is tested by the beep test, sprint tests.

Does the routine change coming up to big matches?
On the Thursday night before a game we wouldn't do much it would be more game play

Are you subject to a diet?
Yes high protein and Carbohydrates and unsaturated fats

With so many drug testing in today's sporting world, do intercounty players get drug tested, if so how often?
Yes , two players from each team are picked out of random, it's a bad system as you might have won an All-Ireland medal and been on drugs and may never have been tested. It's an independent sports council that do the testing not the GAA headquarters.
Its very strict on what drugs you are allowed, for instance Asthma inhalers if you are 30% asthmatic you cannot take your inhaler, any antibiotics you get from your doctor you have to go through the Cork doctor, Dr. Con Murphy

If you are playing with the county when do you train with your club?
The weekend we have a Sunday off we play with our club all that week

Championship Football between Cork and Kerry brings high drama in high summer can you tell me about this rivalry?
It's like chalk and cheese, people say we chat after the games, it doesn't happen, there is no love lost, we've played them 19 times in the last five years which brings the rivalry higher and higher each year.

Today's media brings huge hypt to each championship match do you take any notice of the media?
No not at all, what you read in the papers is not to be believed, Journalists don't know what goes on within the camp, newspapers will do anything to us up ink

Would you take notice to criticism or praise?
No, not at all

Are you a member of the GPA?
Yes

What are the benefits of the GPA?
Its organisations that looks after their players, they help players out if they are out of work, if there are injured. It also gives players discounts, for example car insurance

Is there a subscription Fee?
Not for players but non-players can join for €50

How often does the committee change and how is the committee elected?
Every year, there is a meeting every year where the committee is elected

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Coming to the end of my career, retiring from playing, hopefully have a house and family.

Have you any remaining ambitions?
I like to travel for a year
Win an All-Ireland Senior Medal with Cork
Win an All-Star and most of all win a Junior West Cork Medal with St. Colums


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