Author Topic: Sky Sports GAA Ambassador Con O'Callaghan launches new €3m Grass Roots deal  (Read 859 times)

sid waddell

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Sky Sports GAA ambassador O’Callaghan launches new €3m grass roots partnership

Press Release
Sky Sports GAA, September 22nd, 2017


It’s been an incredible year for Con O’Callaghan. Unknown to most outside Dublin GAA circles this time last year, the 21 year-old has exploded onto the national scene in 2017, playing a starring role in All-Ireland victories for Cuala hurlers, the Dublin under-21 footballers, and of course, last Sunday, the Dublin senior footballers as they claimed a fifth Sam Maguire cup in seven seasons.

Yesterday the young Dublin superstar took up a new role as a Sky Sports ambassador, as the station’s new €3m GAA Grass Roots initiative, tying the GAA ever deeper into a deal with the devil which they can never get out of, was launched.

The triple All-Ireland winner is taking all the publicity very much in his stride, as Sky Sports’ Dave McIntosh found out.

Dave: Well, Con, it’s been an incredible year for you. Three All-Ireland titles and an almost certain Young Footballer Of The Year award to come, you must pinch yourself and wonder if what has happened to you this year is actually real?

But before you answer that question, let’s talk about Sky Sports’ brand new €3m grass roots investment in the GAA. As a Sky ambassador, what’s it all about?

Con: Yeah it’s a great initiative. It’s all about the grass roots and putting something back in, but more importantly it’s all about Sky getting the GAA over a barrel and tying them into a deal from which there’s no way they can ever escape. By signing up players like myself to act as Sky ambassadors it gives it a human face and people will be “conned” into thinking Sky’s motives are sound – it’s very easy to use this type of soft focus public relations technique to get what you want – just look at how the media are fawning all over me today and not asking any remotely difficult questions on condition of getting to speak to me at all.

Dave: Yeah it definitely is a great initiative. Where will the money go?

Con: Dublin, I'm sure.

Dave: So, to return to my initial question, what about 2017? What a year it’s been for you. Did you ever think you could possibly have as successful a year as this?

Con: Em, yeah, I suppose in one way I’m surprised but in another this was what I completely expected to happen. I’m just trying take it all in my stride, really, which has been very easy for me. It was great to win the three All-Irelands but they’re gone now as far as I’m concerned and I’m looking ahead now to try and win some more.

Dave: It’s just four days since you followed up your stunning goal in the All-Ireland semi-final against Tyrone by scoring another contender for Goal Of The Year after less than a minute and a half of the final. Tell us about that goal.

Con: Yeah, I suppose I just got the ball and decided to run straight for the goal, and lucky enough it went in.

Dave: There was no emotion from you when you scored it, just like after your goal against Tyrone. Were you not tempted to celebrate in front of Hill 16?

Con: Not really. It was nice to score it but as soon as it went in I was just thinking about how to get in position for the next kickout and pointing at everybody else to mark up.

Dave: So you weren’t tempted to give it “the big one” in front of the Hill? You know it’s the dream of every kid who has ever played Gaelic football in Dublin to score a goal like that and celebrate in front of the Hill?

Con: Not really, no. I’m a very level-headed, emotionless sort of lad so that’s not my style.

Dave: How did you celebrate the victory?

Con: Yeah we had a really good celebration, but Monday was the first day of next season as far as we’re concerned so you can’t overdo it.

Dave: Were there a few drinks had?

Con: Yeah some of the lads had a few, the likes of Kevin, Diarmuid, James and Eoghan, but I don’t drink, myself, so I left that to them.

Dave: Jim Gavin has instilled an incredible work ethic in this Dublin team. That kind of discipline has obviously rubbed off on you.

Con: Yeah, Jim really pushes everybody to be the best they can be. I suppose he’d be a big believer in the Sky corporate motto of “Believe In Better” and that’s the kind of philosophy this team lives by. We’re always trying to bring the battle rhythm to whatever we do, we’re all team-mates but we’re also in competition. I mean if you slept in for an extra hour on a Saturday morning, you could easily find your place on the panel gone, so you have to keep pushing yourself.

Dave: Of course back in the spring you also won an All-Ireland club hurling title with Cuala before following it up with an All-Ireland under-21 football title with Dublin.

Con: Yeah, it was really nice to play hurling as I don’t get to do it that often, and it was nice to win that as I suppose everything always comes back to the club because that’s where you start off. They say hurling is cool in Dublin now and Cuala is a cool name. And then the 21s, yeah, it was nice to win that too.

Dave: Do you think there’s ever a chance you might play hurling for Dublin?

Con: No, not really. I wouldn’t have the time and if you want to play football for Dublin you have to dedicate yourself to it 100% and be professional. I knew that when myself and my parents mapped out my life plan at the age of six. That’s just the way it is.

Dave: You seem to be one these lads that is good at everything he turns his hand to. I did a little bit of digging, and it turns out you have been an All-Ireland chess champion, Young Scientist of the Year twice, speak six languages fluently and were named “Person Most Likely to be Taoiseach” by your sixth year school class. People must be wondering to themselves and thinking, “this fella almost seems too perfect to be true”.

Con: Ah, look, I’m definitely not perfect – I only got 590 points in the Leaving. But yeah, I love the old chess, although I don’t get much time to play it these days.

Dave: Which languages are you fluent in?

Con: Irish, English, French, German, Spanish and Mandarin.

Dave: You’re in college at the moment, at UCD.

Con: Yeah, it’s nice to put something back in. Obviously I was one of the first players to emerge from the Dublin GAA cloning laboratory at UCD so I’m back there working part-time now and trying to help them perfect the techniques to breed another generation of even more perfect footballers than myself who will play for Dublin in 20 years’ time or so. When you play for Dublin you have to remember that you’re only passing through and that the jersey will always have to be handed on to somebody else.

Dave: There must be a great camaraderie between the graduates of that cloning laboratory?

Con: Yeah – there’s a good few of us who are or have played on Dublin teams – Ciaran Kilkenny, Cormac Costello, Colm Cronin, Chris Crummey, Conor Clinton, Conor Connolly, my brother Cian O’Callaghan, then there are others who are still too young but will be great players like Caolan Carthy, Conor O’Carroll and Cathal Conlon.

Dave: Is it a coincidence that your names nearly all begin with the letter C?

Con: No, of course not – that’s how the guys at the laboratory keep track of who we are and how we’re developing.

Dave: As well as your work at the lab you’re doing an internship with Grant Thornton. You must find it difficult to juggle all that?

Con: Not really. It’s all about time management. I just take it all in my stride. It’s only an internship and the bosses are very understanding. They’ve asked me to run the firm from 2019 on so it’s all good preparation.

Dave: And what does the immediate future hold on the playing front for Con O’Callaghan? The club hurling championship resumes this weekend with your Dublin, Leinster and All-Ireland titles on the line? Will you be playing?

Con: Yeah, I will, although I haven’t picked up a hurl since last March. But I’m sure it won’t be too difficult.

Dave: And what’s the future for Con O’Callaghan with the Dublin footballers?

Con: Hopefully to win as many All-Irelands as possible. But to be honest I’d be more worried about actually keeping my place on the Dublin team as there are new cloned perfect players being brought in every year and it’s very competitive.

Dave: Thanks, Con.

Con: No problem, Dave.

Dave: OK lads, unplug him.

Production staff member: He runs on a lithium battery, Dave - check the back of his head and you’ll find where it’s fitted and be able to remove it. I have the charger here and his carrier box is back in the cloak room.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 11:46:36 AM by sid waddell »

The Gs Man

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Dublin Westworld!

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Dinny Breen

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Ha! Very good.
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