Sport Rugby

Thursday 22 February 2018

where are they now?

EOGHAN HICKEY

(Former Munster player)

It was when he watched the 1991 Rugby World Cup that Eoghan Hickey realised he wanted to play at the top level of the sport. There was no professional game at the time but the Dublin native still wanted to emulate his heroes.

Hickey was five when he started playing rugby. He joined his older brother at De La Salle Palmerston and although he was a few years younger than the other boys, he took to it straight away.

"I was pretty quick when I was a kid," explains Hickey. "So even though I was scared when I started playing initially because the other boys were bigger I quickly realised that I could outrun most of them."

He attended De La Salle Churchtown, a predominantly rugby-playing school, but during Hickey's time there they didn't experience much success. However, the outhalf's talents didn't go unnoticed and he was selected for the Leinster and Ireland schools teams at all grades.

After second-level school, he took up a sports scholarship in UCD, and his days were spent studying science and playing rugby. While there he was exposed to a whole new training and coaching environment.

Some of the top young players in the game were in the college and his own game improved dramatically. So much so that he made the Ireland under 21 team for the World Cup in South Africa. However, soon after he suffered a serious back injury that kept him out of the game for 15 months..

"By this time I was in the IRFU Academy which made my rehab more seamless. I eventually recovered from my injury and I got back playing for UCD. I had a good run with them and in 2005 Michael Cheika offered me a contract with Leinster."

From there his professional career took off and he spent time playing with Munster, London Irish and London Wasps. He is currently living in France and playing full-time with Massy in the third tier of French rugby.

He has always combined his sporting career with studying and is back at university completing his third degree, an MBA at HEC Paris, one of the top business schools in Europe.

He will be watching his former team take on Toulon today in the Heineken Cup semi-final and although the French side are favourites, Hickey feels that Munster could be the team to turn them over in their own back yard.

Sunday Indo Sport

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