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'It's a funny aul path' - Karl O'Connell on making it with Monaghan after taking up football at 17

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Monaghan's Karl O'Connell. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Monaghan's Karl O'Connell. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Monaghan's Karl O'Connell. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Malcolm Gladwell reckons that mastery can only be achieved after 10,000 hours of practice but Monaghan star Karl O'Connell has continued to rip up that theory throughout his inter-county career having only taken up football aged 17.

As with most things in life, there are exceptions to every rule and O'Connell began to make his mark with the Farney men just six years after starting out with the Tyholland minors when he was coaxed away from athletics by his good friend Ronan McNally.

Playing for Monaghan was never his dream with Sonia O'Sullivan one of many athletic idols during his youth, while sprinters like Maurice Greene, Ato Boldon and Francis Obikwelu provided inspiration that he could represent his country one day at the 200m or the long jump.