Name: Eoin Porter
Club: Rathgarogue Cushinstown
Primary School: Rathgarogue NS
1. Who was your Football hero growing up?
I would have had a lot of heroes growing up. Wexford had such an array of talented forwards when I was growing up spearheaded by Matty Forde who everyone wanted to be like and players like him and P.J Banville were players I looked up to hugely. As a defender myself I also looked up to Graeme Molloy who was very tenacious and was one of the very few players that could keep Bernard Brogan quiet. Outside of Wexford I would have to say Diarmuid Connolly, Michael Murphy and Sean Cavanagh were players who had unbelievable skill sets and led their counties to great successes and I would’ve grown up admiring them.
2. What is your most memorable sporting moment as a player or supporter?
My most memorable times as a Wexford football supporter came in 2011 and the day of the Leinster final. I’ll never forget the atmosphere the Wexford crowd made that day in Croke Park, it was just unfortunate about the result but how Wexford came so close to a Dublin team who would go on to win that year’s All-Ireland was a special day as a young supporter. As a player moments such as winning a Leinster title with my club and appearing in the All-Ireland club final in Croke Park along with numerous Leinster and All-Ireland successes in Good Counsel College were apart of many memorable moments as a player.
3. What athlete do you admire in another sport outside the GAA and why?
Cristiano Ronaldo. Outside of his ridiculous abilities as a player I admire his attitude and determination to be the best in the world, still at 35, constantly striving to improve daily and that is something that everyone can learn from. How his performances improved every season of his career is a testament to his attitude and that can be achieved with a strong mentality and belief.
4. What are the basic skills that young players should focus on?
I feel that being able to kick off both left and right foot and being able to hand pass with both hands are essential skills in order to improve. It makes life a lot easier to be comfortable on both sides in pressure scenarios that happen during games. Catching or ‘Fielding’ is another skill that isn’t seen enough in the game today, an ability to catch a high ball cleanly is such an advantage for a team that can gain primary possession which is crucial in the game.
5. Best advice for young Football players?
I would advise young players to go to training sessions open-minded, ready to listen and engage with the session taking learning points from them. Set targets on different aspects of the game that you may want to improve such as your weaker foot etc. To engage with extra practice, set yourself a high standard while doing this practice and not just to go through the motions. Perfect practice makes perfect!
6. What advice would you give to parents of young Football players?
Just to encourage their kids to have a good time. The GAA is all about having fun and enjoyment. Memories and friends for life are made during experiences of playing GAA and it’s why we all love it. Positive encouragement from parents is a great boost for a young player while also reminding them that there is more to life than football and young players should focus on enjoying playing football as much as they can.
7. Tell us about your senior debut for Wexford?
My debut came in 2018 as a substitute against Laois. We got off to a great start that day and led at half time with a strong wind at our backs. I came on mid-way during the second half as Laois had gathered momentum and the first thing I did was give the ball straight to a Laois man, luckily he put it wide but we ended up losing the game after extra time which was heart breaking to say the least. What made it worse was the fact a few of us had to go back up to Dublin to finish exams but it was a very proud day for me to make my debut for Wexford despite the result.
8. What is your most memorable game for your club?
The year gone by has brought up many memorable games for the club. We won the Junior Leinster club championship final against Na Gael of Meath in Navan in January. The journey brought us all the way to Croke Park for the All-Ireland cub final, although we got hammered it was a momentous day for our club and the journey that we went on was phenomenal.
9. How do you balance your GAA and Work/Study commitments?
It’s difficult to balance everything but I feel it’s about trying to organise yourself as early as possible in terms of college work, getting your gear bag ready and pre-planning meals to have in a lunchbox that you can have on the go. I found the commitment to training was made easier by the fact that there was a few of us travelling from Dublin together over the years in college such as Matt Doyle, James Stafford and Oisin Foley, and this made the journey something to look forward to and not a chore.
10. What is the most prized jersey in your collection?
The jersey from my debut is at home which was the jersey worn to commemorate Wexford’s four in a row All-Ireland wins is one of my favourites, I have two jerseys from my days in Good Counsel College that were given to us and they are ones I cherish dearly as they bring back great memories.
11. What is the first Wexford Championship match you remember attending?
I couldn’t tell you my first championship match I went to, I always remember heading to Wexford Park with my cousins and always getting a packet of polo mints out of the shop.
12. Who is the biggest influence on your career and why?
I would have to say my father John Michael. He was my manager all the way up through the age groups and still is involved with the adult team at the moment, I don’t think I’ll ever get away from him! In fairness he has driven me all around the country to play games across all codes and is great for giving advice on where to improve my game, even though I might not want to hear about it, his guidance has helped me massively.
13. Who is your unsung hero in the GAA?
I only realised during our last club campaign about the number of unsung heroes who are present in a GAA club. As players we have the handy part of turning up for games and playing, we take for granted that people have organised pitches, volunteered to act as a linesman, selling raffle tickets etc. and they are the backbone of the GAA. Both club and inter county players would not be able to train and play without these unsung heroes. It’s hard to give one name there are so many in Rathgarogue-Cushinstown and involved with our inter county set up I’d be here all day listing people!
14. What book would you recommend reading?
“The Last Dance” that is trending at the moment about the behind the scenes of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls is a must watch. I would recommend Jim McGuiness’ book “Until Victory Always” also, how he transformed the mind set of his Donegal side from seemingly nowhere to winning an All-Ireland in 2012 underlines how through positive thinking and self-belief a team can reach heights they previously never envisaged.
15. When preparing for a game, what is your healthy breakfast choice?
I would usually go for three Weetabix with hot milk, banana, mixed berries and a drizzle of honey with some juice and a cup of coffee, it’s a safe but enjoyable choice.