Sunday 17 December 2017

O'Driscoll happy to put in hard yards all for love of the game

Player focus

Name: Andrew O'Driscoll

Position: Hooker

Club: Cork Constitution

Age: 25

Height: 6'0"

Weight: 100kg

Place of birth: Bandon

Profession: Architectural technologist

Education: St Brogan's College, Bandon/ Presentation Brothers College, Cork

Third-level education: Cork Institute of Technology

Honours: Munster Youths, Irish Youths, Munster U-19s, Irish U-19s, Munster U-20s

Club honours: ODM Financial Munster Senior Cup and Bateman Cup , 2012/13

Born in Bandon, Andrew O'Driscoll was introduced to rugby by his late father and former Munster Rugby president Niall.

He began his playing career at local club Bandon and has many fond memories of his early days.

"Dan Murphy and Ricky O'Sullivan were the underage coaches that I had all the way up at Bandon. We were a great side," O'Driscoll recalls.

"From U-12s up we won every trophy that could be won and it was from that era that I developed my love for the game."

O'Driscoll went on to play for Presentation Brothers College, Cork – in 2006, his side were narrowly beaten in the Munster Schools Senior Cup final by St Munchin's College.

His rugby career continued at Dolphin RFC for seven seasons and he is now in his second season with Cork Constitution, where he looks forward to defending his ODM Financial Munster Senior Cup and All-Ireland Bateman Cup titles.

"The season has been brilliant for us so far. There is a great new set-up at the club with lots of changes and new faces in terms of both management and players," he says.

"We lost about 11 players from last season but we've recruited equally talented players, giving us strength throughout the squad.

"This season Tom Mulcahy has taken over the reins as head coach, with former Munster second-row Mick O'Driscoll coaching the forwards and Terry Dillon in charge of the backs.

"I guess techniques are a bit different from last year, especially with Micko on board. He puts a professional outlook on drills from his many years with Munster, which is giving our pack great confidence."

Cork Con recently booked a place in the ODM Financial Munster Senior Cup semi-final against UCC on Saturday, November 16, and O'Driscoll says they are eager to defend their title.

"It's one of the oldest competitions in the country and I'm delighted it's still going strong. It's a trophy that all the Munster senior clubs want to win," he stresses.

Commenting on the semi-final, O'Driscoll insisted his side has huge respect for their opposition and is confident they will be well prepared for the fixture.

"Every UCC team is similar year in year out. They throw the ball around a lot and are a very dangerous side," he says.

"I worked under their coaches Peter Scott and Dave O'Mahony when I was with Dolphin for the first few years, so I know they will be a well-drilled side and very well organised."

Speaking about the difficulties in balancing work and club rugby commitments, O'Driscoll adds: "It can get very challenging at times.

"Sometimes you can't get out of work early enough to make training and if you are going to the gym you might have to go back to work afterwards to meet deadlines.

"I get a lot of support from the office for which I am very grateful, but at the end of the day work has to come first – unless you're a professional rugby player.

"I'd be really interested in going into coaching. At the moment I do a good bit of coaching in Bandon. I've been involved with the underage teams for the last few seasons and this year I did a bit of forwards coaching with the Bandon seniors.

"I really enjoy it and hope to continue in my spare time when my playing days finish."

Irish Independent

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