Friday 23 March 2018

Watch out: Munster rugby star Tomás O'Leary launches timepiece company

John Fallon

Time may be running out on Tomas O'Leary's rugby career but the former Ireland international has his future planned like clockwork.

He returned to Munster during the summer after three seasons with London Irish and while he is contracted until June 2017, he has developed a business which he will pursue further when he retires.

O'Leary (32) set up a business designing watches when he was in London and they are now on sale under his own label, TOLD & Co (Tomas O'Leary Design), as the former Cork minor hurler joins the likes of Tommy Bowe in the entrepreneurial stakes.

"I've have had a bit of a fascination in watches since I was a young fella," he said. "My grandmother, May O'Leary, God rest her soul, used to always say you can tell a gentleman by his watch.

"I always liked watches and I said I'd give it a go. I have to start thinking about life after rugby. I'm not going to be around here forever unfortunately."

But his main priority now, especially with Conor Murray injured, is to get Munster back to winning ways and also bolster his chances not just with the Reds but also possibly adding to his 24 Irish caps - the last of which was won in against England in 2012.

"I'd love it (to play for Ireland again) but I guess my main job here is to put as much pressure on Conor as possible and if I can even make the coaches start thinking about who should they be selecting at nine here then I might get into the shake-up for the green jersey again.

"If I can express myself down here then you'd never know, they might end up picking two Munster scrum-halves at some stage.

"You look at Redser (Eoin Reddan) and Bossie (Isaac Boss) they're both 35 or something. I'm 32 so there's scope for a player of my vintage for a few more years."

O'Leary enjoyed his time in London but is delighted to be back home and playing for Munster again, ten years after making his debut for the province.

"I had a fantastic few years in London, just experienced a different lifestyle, something new. It gave me a chance to step back from the rugby. We struggled as a team over there. We were second, third last over the three seasons I was there so it gave me a different perspective.

"I was playing at a different level - I was used to playing with a Munster team that was contesting finals and semi-finals, and I went to a team that was struggling to win games so it gave me a different perspective, a different experience.

"Living in London too gave me a chance to express myself and explore other avenues too.

"I've really enjoyed being back with the lads and a new coaching set-up for me. I've played with all the coaches bar one.

A few of them were there when I left but there's a lot of new players there.

"I know there was a bit of a blip, to say the least, against Connacht at the weekend but we've started quite well," he added, ahead of Sunday's clash with the Dragons at Rodney Parade.

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