Ingredients for success: Repeating the Leaving taught me to work hard
A successful Galway entrepreneur has said that having to repeat his Leaving Certificate was the best thing that could have happened to him.
Eugene Greaney, who runs The Dough Bros pizzeria with his brother Ronan, failed his maths exam 16 years ago and missed out on a place at NUIG, forcing him to repeat the exams.
This year, the Galway man had a "pinch me" moment when the pizzeria was featured on the higher level business paper under a question about entrepreneurship.
"I remember distinctly getting the results paper and going away from everybody down the side alley of the school and straight away the first thing I saw was an E in maths," he said.
"I didn't even see the other ones. I just knew instantly that it was over."
Eugene went on to repeat his Leaving Certificate and took up a place at the University of Limerick to study business.
"Looking back, I'd never really applied myself. My brother had done very well and so had my sister. I thought I had a divine right to just show up and do well and it taught me a harsh lesson.
"As soon as I got my head around repeating, I just knuckled down and stayed focused. That was the hardest I had worked until setting up the business.
"When I failed, it was how I bounced back that stood to me and taught me so much: that I can do it, I am capable but I need to work hard, I need to sacrifice."
After earning his degree, Eugene spent two years travelling before returning home to a sales job, but suffered another setback when he was laid off from the company.
Eugene and Ronan decided it was now or never, and after extensive research the pair found a gap in the market for authentic wood-fired pizza.
"You can sit there feeling sorry for yourself or you can take what's happened and use it to make you stronger," Eugene said.
"Myself and Ronan were never the smartest people in the classroom, we never did anything to suggest we were going to be successful but if you work hard and you sacrifice, it's amazing what you can achieve."