IRISH rugby star Jonathan Sexton has revealed his plans for life after rugby - he will go back to college before entering the cut-and-thrust world of business.
The golden boy of Irish rugby was honoured by his old alma mater, UCD, at a special ceremony in Dublin last night.
The 29-year-old is the youngest ever recipient of the college’s Foundation Day Medal, in recognition of his outstanding sporting achievements, at both provincial and national level.
Recalling his “fond memories” of his three years at the college, he revealed he still has a yearning to further his education when he hangs up his boots.
Sexton spent last season in the French league with Racing Metro, however, this season will be his final year with the Parisian club, before he comes back home to Leinster.
But his time in Paris has given him a new found appreciation for the French language, he said.
“I studied engineering for one year, and then moved over to commerce and did a degree in that,” he said, recalling his UCD days.
“I hope to use it in some shape or form when my rugby career ends. I might actually come back here and try and do something else involving the French language.”
“A lot of the boys still study. I might try to get the French in there somewhere - seen as I’ve spent two years involved with the language,” he quipped.
Before attending last night’s event, he sought advice from former Ireland and Leinster teammate Brian O’Driscoll, who received the award in 2009, on how to deliver his five-minute acceptance speech.
“I spoke to him today and asked him for advice on the speech - and we ended up just chatting away about different things,” he told Independent.ie.
“Brian has awards coming out his ears at this stage, but this is the first of a kind for me. He congratulated me. It’s very humbling experience.”
The medal is given out each year to a graduate of national or international distinction who has excelled in their chosen field.
“To be acknowledged by the college is such a huge honour for me, given the list of great winners who have gone before,”he said.
“There’s the likes of Micheal O’Muircheartaigh from the sporting world and many others.”
And another ‘Old Boy’ of the college, broadcaster Pat Kenny, was master of ceremonies for the evening, as some of its high profile graduates, took part in these inaugural Alumni Awards.
Other recipients of the Alumni Awards for 2014 included MEP Mairead McGuinness for her work in agricultural science, well known actress Rosaleen Linehan for her contribution to the arts, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy for her efforts over the years to alleviate poverty, and weather forecaster Evelyn Cusack.
Awards were also made to David McNulty for his contribution to architecture, to businessman Gary McGann, and to Donal O’Riain for his achievements in carbon-neutral construction
Also honoured were Maeve O’Rourke, daughter of RTE presenter Sean, for her work with the victims of the Magdalene Laundries, Dr Patricia Scanlan for her involvement in paediatric cancer treatment, and Siobhan O’Halloran, for her commitment to nursing and the health services.