A Cork man on an American football scholarship at a top US university has returned to home to wow crowds in the Croke Park Classic on Saturday.
The game will see the University of Central Florida take on Penn State University in the season-opener of the NCAA Football championship – essentially the American equivalent of the Sigerson Cup.
Sean Galvin (24) left Ireland when he was 15, and took up the sport in high-school where he excelled as a kicker, his impressive performances bringing him to UCF, where he is now a senior.
Originally from Bandon, Co. Cork, Galvin was a talented Gaelic footballer and hurler – he had early ambitions of playing at GAA headquarters.
“Growing up as a kid in Cork – that’s your dream. No matter what sport you play, you want to play in Croke Park," he said at his team’s training camp in Carton House.
“Now, coming back and being able to look at my family up in the stands, it’s going to be amazing."
Saturday’s match gives family members other than his parents their first opportunity to see him play.
“Only my mom and dad have seen me play in America, but I’ve cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents coming to the game now on Saturday," he added.
“It will be really awesome to see them in the stands. I’ll be looking for them,” he said, his accent halfway between Cork and Florida.
Galvin’s place of birth has seen considerable focus placed on him by US media covering his team’s tour, unusual for a kick-off specialist:
“I mean it’s nice. I’m a kicker so we don’t see much attention in American football. It’s a good old laugh and I get to come home, so I’m enjoying it,” he laughed.