Friday 20 September 2019

My Money: 'You can't put a value on playing for your club'


Turlough O'Brien
Turlough O'Brien

Turlough O'Brien is the manager of the Carlow senior football team.

He is also a keen cyclist - and author of 'Cycling South Leinster - Great Road Routes', which was published earlier this year. The book is available in all good bookshops and online from

What's the most important lesson about money which your career in sport has taught you?

I see my involvement in sport more as a vocation than a career. I hope the GAA will always be an amateur sport. You can't put a value on representing your club or county.

What's the most expensive country you ever visited?

In 2010, I cycled from Canterbury to Rome with my youngest son Ronan. Switzerland was by far the most expensive country we passed through. The cost of accommodation and eating out meant that we crossed it as quickly as possible before heading up the St Bernard Pass to Italy.

What's your favourite Irish coin?

I loved the old 50p coin. It was very unusual and had seven sides. One of the downsides of the euro is we lost our own unique coins and notes.

What's your favourite Irish saying about money?

It has to be 'a fool and his money are easily parted'. It's the first lesson our young people should learn before heading out in adulthood.

Apart from property, what's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

A Nissan X-Trail - it cost far too much and the running costs were crazy. Beautiful to drive but at a ridiculous price.

What was your worst job?

Picking strawberries every summer during my school holidays. I remember being herded into cattle trucks at 6am and off to the fruit farm where we were paid by the amount of fruit picked. Those summers always seemed to be heat waves and the days were long! Yet getting that pay packet at the end of every week made it all worthwhile.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

Ignoring my bank manager's advice and investing in a business which I knew little about - and was too far removed from to run properly. I got badly burnt. Haven't repeated that mistake!

What was your best financial killing?

Lady Luck shone on me in 1989 just before I got married to my wife Mary. I won top prize, a Peugeot 405, in the Tipperary County Board draw. I took a smaller car instead and £4,000 cash to bring my good wife to Cuba on our honeymoon. That was a time when nobody from these parts travelled to Cuba.

We picked up an Aeroflot flight at Shannon and landed in Havana during a tropical storm. Great memories.

Are you better off than your parents?

I think most of my generation probably are in financial terms - but maybe not so when it comes to quality of life.

Android or iPhone?

I'm an Apple fan and the iPhone is just so compatible with all things Apple.

If you won the Euromillions, what would you do with the money?

It would have to be family first, some great bike adventures, and I would also like to do something for Carlow.

What's the most expensive bicycle which you have bought?

A Kona Sutra steel-framed touring bike. Great bike.

iTunes or Spotify?

With my love of Apple, it has to be iTunes.

What was the last thing you bought online?

A book called The Amazing Story of the Man who Cycled from India to Europe for Love by Per J Andersson. A true story and beautifully written.

Sunday Indo Business

Also in Business