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Friday 15 with Kevin Foley

Name: Kevin Foley
Age: 25
Club: Rapparees
Primary School: Davidstown NS

1. Who was your Hurling hero growing up? 

Adrian Fenlon and Declan Ruth were always two heroes of mine growing up. They were great players for both Wexford and the Rapperees. As a young lad I would have spent most evenings in Bellfield and I just remember watching how they trained and the dedication that they gave to the game. Both would have given a lot back to our own club and managed various underage teams too. Luckily enough I got to play with the two lads at adult grade and I suppose it was something I will always remember. I think the GAA is great for that reason alone. One minute you can be watching players represent their county in Croke Park or Thurles and the next you see them face to face in the local pitch or town

2. What is your most memorable sporting moment as a player or supporter?
Without doubt it has to be the Leinster final last year. It was a special moment for the group to finally bridge that gap of winning a Leinster title since 2004. I remember being at the game in 2004 and dreaming of days like that. The memories from the final whistle blowing to the celebrations back in Wexford park will always be special

3. What athlete do you admire in another sport outside the GAA and why?
Richie McCaw, former All Black captain. I have to admit I enjoy watching rugby in my spare time and I was always a huge fan of his. I admired the way he played the game, perfected the basic skills, and led by example. A true leader who gave 100% every day.

4. What are the basic skills that young players should focus on?

I do a bit of coaching with the juvenile hurlers in St. Marys CBS Enniscorthy and I try to make sure that we master the basic skills of the game first and then progress into other areas of play. First touch is a favourite of mine, get to a wall and work away for any length of time. It can improve striking off both sides, catching, hand-eye coordination, first touch, speed, movement etc.. You can see how a great first touch will always get you out of trouble or give you an extra second or two on the ball.

5. Best advice for young Hurling players?
First of all to enjoy what you’re doing and try to play with a smile. Have a positive attitude and work hard. Get involved in your club, help out and practice as often as possible. Some of my closest friends are those who I started playing hurling with when we were 5/6.

6. What advice would you give to parents of young Hurling players?
To be patient and remember that its not all about winning. Sport can teach us great lessons for life. I believe parents are a huge part of the GAA community and I really love to see them getting involved with coaching teams or helping out in the running of the club. Going to an underage game and hearing parents encourage from the sideline is great to see.

7. Tell us about your senior debut for Wexford?
I made my senior debut in 2015 against Westmeath in Cusack Park. I came on as a second half substitute. It was a special moment that I dreamt for years and years. As a young lad my ambition was to play senior hurling for Wexford and crossing the line that day to represent my county meant a great deal to me and my family. I have to thank Liam Dunne for giving me my first start and believing in me. I made my first start a couple of weeks later against Cork in Wexford park. I was a bit nervous at the time, I just remember how quick the pace was to the game and the physicality to it.

8. What is your most memorable game for your club?
A couple of games come to mind. We were lucky to be very successful at underage levels growing up. Ill never forget going to the Feile 3 times as an U14, they were great competitions and brilliant memories. Winning 3 minor titles in a row was a special, playing with some of my best friends, relations, and the lads who I would have went to school with for 5/6 years. I am going to pick winning the 2017 football final with the Starlights, it was the first time we had won a senior medal in the club since 2004 and it brought a lot of us together as senior players. It meant an awful lot to the club as well winning in its centenary year.

9. How do you balance your GAA and Work/Study commitments?

I am currently teaching Business and religion in St.Marys CBS Enniscorthy. Sport and education teach us a lot about being prepared, having a positive attitude and good work ethos. I really enjoy teaching in my hometown and the connection between the school and community is very strong. I like to make sure that I have my own plans worked out each week and focus on what needs to be improved whether it be work or sport. I like to make sure and get the basics right like nutrition, hydration, sleep and so on. I find these all-important parts to maintaining that balance. I need to be fuelled and energised to concentrate and focus in the classroom and on the pitch.

10. What is the most prized jersey in your collection?
It has to be last years Leinster final winning jersey. A lot of hard work and dedication has gone in to achieving success like that so Im going to stick with that one.

11. What is the first Wexford Championship match you remember attending?
The 2003 all Ireland semi-final drawn game. It is probably the clearest in my memory. What a game and what a day for supporters. I can still remember Rory Mc scoring that late goal and Padge “Skinner” Walsh throwing me up and down on his shoulders in the stand.

12. Who is the biggest influence on your career and why?
My family. I suppose one thing that our whole family has in common is the GAA. A hurl or ball would have been put in our hand as soon as we were able to walk. We would often spend hours and hours discussing the game at home. We would have travelled to hurling matches all around the county and country from an early age. My late father Michael would have been the biggest influence on my career, I would have gone to see him train and play every evening as long as the homework was finished first. He gave a lot to the club and enjoyed being an active member in as many ways as possible. My mother and sisters have always been great support both on and off the field. Seeing them all immediately after the Leinster final win last year was a special experience. I have to credit them for helping me throughout my career. Even though a few windows would have been broke at home it was always ok if it was a ball.

13. Who is your unsung hero in the GAA?
I think its very hard to name one, but I firmly believe that the GAA would struggle without the unsung heroes. I have to hand it to the members of each club who volunteer to help out, the coaches and trainers, the parents who travel to games and give up their own time to help out, the ground staff, the referees, those who wash the jerseys, organise fundraisers and so on. We are very fortunate to have these people involved in our clubs. Just remember that we can all give something back to our clubs to help future generations.

14. What book would you recommend reading?
I have just finished Sam Warburtons book ”Open Side” and I am currently watching “The Last Dance” on Netflix. Both are a great insight into other sports and the mindset of extremely professional athletes.

15. When preparing for a game, what is your healthy breakfast choice?
It is important to fuel up before a game so I usually like getting up early on game day. I might have porridge early in the morning and then have some scrambled egg, turkey burger and brown bread shortly after. Mark Fanning has me on the coffee buzz now too.

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