Newry Times meets: St Paul’s Captain Cairon O’Hanlon

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Monday, February 25th, 2013
Featured Story, Sport

Ciaron O’Hanlon is without doubt one of Armagh Gaelic football’s rising stars.

Ciaron shot to prominence after his school – St Paul’s Bessbrook – for the first time in the forty-six year history of the school, won the BT Colleges MacLarnon Cup after a thrilling victory over St Columb’s College, Derry on 19th March 2012.

Cairon in action

They then went on to create even more history as they defeated Ardscoil Rís, Dublin, in the Senior B Colleges All-Ireland Final. Ciaron was instrumental in this success and he has also put in outstanding performances for Killeavy and Armagh minors.

Ciaron was inspirational throughout that campaign and has continued in the rich vein of form as St Paul’s beat local rivals Abbey CBS Newry to reach the semi-final of the MacRory cup against St Macartan’s from Monaghan on Wednesday on 27th February in Armagh’s Athletic grounds.

In the quarter final against the Abbey Ciaron was a tour de force in the first half, registering all of St Paul’s scores with a tally of 1 goal and 3 points in a standout performance.

The young St Paul’s team captain took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to Seán Ó Sirideán about St Paul’s, Armagh and life.

Seán: How are you enjoying yet another successful year with St. Paul’s and are you looking forward to the 27th February?

Ciaron: Playing in the MacRory Cup is a massive achievement for the school and shows how much work has been done behind the scenes for me and fellow pupils to play at the highest level.

Each time we go out and play in the St Paul’s jersey, it is an important game for us and the 27th will be no different and it’s a semi final so of course we’re looking forward to it.

Seán: St Paul’s beat Abbey CBS of Newry in the quarter-finals of the MacRory Cup, this must have been a great feeling for the players as the Abbey have such a pedigree in this competition?

Ciaron: Definitely, it’s given our team a great confidence booster and we know where we want to go to but we’re going to take it one game at a time.

Seán: You scored 1-3 all of St Paul’s scores in the first half, you must have been inspired that night?

Ciaron: As captain it’s your role to lead from the front and that’s all I done, I wanted a reaction from the boys and we got that in the second half where we pushed on, especially in the last 10 minutes of the game.

Seán: St Paul’s have some serious strength and depth in the panel, every place must be up for grabs, and that can only be a good thing?

Ciaron: Every good team needs to have competition for places because if there’s not then other boys aren’t going to improve. Substitutes are the ones who are going to win you tough games; they’re ones with the fresh pair of legs to do the business when they get their chance.

Seán: What about your personal performances over the last couple of years? You have really kicked on, what would you put that down to?

Ciaron: Simple, hard work.

Seán: Were you surprised being named in the Armagh senior panel this year? It must have been a great honor for you at this early stage of your career?

Ciaron: Of course, at this young age to be brought into a senior set up at the highest level in the game is an absolute honour for me to be a part of.

Seán: You must be flat out training recently, how are you finding time to keep up your studies and training commitments, it must take a lot out of you?

Ciaron: You just need to find the right balance between both, after all football is not going to get you a job at the end of the day.

Seán: Are you finding it difficult to cope with the pressure and strain that comes with being an inter-county footballer and on top of that, playing in the semi-final of such a prestigious school’s competition?

Ciaron: With everything in life comes pressure and strain, it’s just being able to deal with it. It is hard to keep focused on various different teams but I know and my managers know where my priorities lie at the minute and that’s with St Paul’s.

Seán: You are a Killeavy club man, does your club mate Stevie McDonnell ever offer you a bit of advice and give you some useful tips, you surely have a huge head start if you can call on Stevie’s years of experience?

Ciaron: Of course yes, he is a well experienced man and is well known all over the country. He’s a great role model for me and I’m sure if I needed any advice he would be the first man I’d go to.

Just for fun….

Seán: If there was a penalty shoot out in GAA, would you step up?

Ciaron: Without question, yeah!

Seán: What other stadium outside the GAA would you want to play in?

Ciaron: Parkhead – Celtic! The atmosphere would be electric.

Seán: What is on your iPod at the minute?

Ciaron: Macklemore.

Seán: Facebook or twitter?

Ciaron: I like using both.

Ciaron O’Hanlon Factfile

Player Name: Ciaron O’Hanlon/Ciaron Ó hAnluain

Club: Killeavy

Position: Half Forward

Weight: 12ST 2

Height: 6ft

Age: 17

Honours: 

•             MacCormack cup winners School

•             All Ireland Colleges B winners Nunnan Cup School

•             Maclaron cup winners School

•             Hearld Cup Winners School

•             Treanor Cup winners School

•             Minor, u16, u14, intermediate championship winner Killeavy

•             Vocational schools u14 McDavit Cup winners School


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