CORK GAA legend Sean Og O hAilpin has revealed his struggle to adapt to hurling after growing up in Australia and said he still harbours some resentment towards his father for pressuring him to master the sport.
“I grew up in Australian sport, like rugby league and Aussie Rules, and I’d be very passionate about those sports. When I came to Ireland I had a small bit of Gaelic football from Sydney but had never touched a hurley in my life
“There was only going to be one game for us in the family because Dad is a very proud Irish man, very nationalist man and loves Gaelic games and any notion of me playing rugby union or soccer or any other thing was just a no,” he revealed.
Despite later becoming hurling royalty, O’hAilpin said he struggled in the beginning to meet his father’s high expectations.
“I was asked to pick it up but not only that, Dad was expecting me to master it. Any hurling people know that it’s the most technical sport going.
“As I was trying to pick up the game and develop and move on, he gets frustrated and I get frustrated because I’m just not grasping the game. It’s a struggle and it’s a struggle to my mid-20s if truth be known. It wasn’t until I was 26 or 27 that I felt comfortable as a hurler.
“I don’t know how many times I heard ‘not good enough, not good enough’ and you hear that constantly and that brings pressure to deliver and then the next game you’d be bricking in your pants.”
When asked how the relationship was today, O’hAilpin said he still felt some resentment but said the relationship was good but could be better.
“He’d feel justified but I kind of feel that he lives my dream. His dream was to come back to Ireland and play Gaelic games. It wasn’t my choice and when I didn’t live up to that that’s where the anger came from and that’s why he drove us hard.
“Like all relationships it can be better. I do talk to him. Is there a bit of resentment there? Yes there is, of course there is. I thought there were ways he could have dealt with it better when you don’t play well.”