(We couldn’t take a pen pic of Ruairi as he is currently in Berlin, so we thought we’d use several photos of him looking away during team photos, a strange habit he has maintained throughout his long and illustrious career)
Today on ‘A Minute With’, it’s club captain Ruairi O’Neill. Like a fine, red (headed) wine, he’s matured over the years into the leader he is now. Though not completely, as you’ll see below…
1. Name? Ruaidhrí ‘Red Jesus’ O’Neill
2. Age? 31
3. Playing position/role in club? Chief Dancer / Captain / Coach / All Round Role Model / Messiah
4. Favourite film? The Invincibles – A Duncan Macausland recommendation, he himself has become invincible to the club having taken up a career of playing golf each weekend telling everyone who will listen he once played a round with Rory.
5. Favourite song? Lady Lumps by the black eye peas. I don’t know what it means, but it’s provocative.
6. Favourite food/meal? Brunch – it’s not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don’t completely get what you would at breakfast but you get a good meal
7. Favourite holiday destination? Dead Mans Alley.
8. Favourite pitch to play on? The Taylor’s Back garden when I got the invite. Always in pristine condition.
9. Favourite club memory? Decky Ohagan missing a 10m shot against Creggan with last kick of game, miracuously shutting him up for about a month – Ricky Smith made sure of it.
10. Unsung club hero? James ‘Locky’ Loughrey. Stalwart. Has given his all to the cause. Sacrifice personified.
11. Best player played with? St. Brigids Parishioner Kevin Niblock. Most professional mindset I have ever came across. Foregos playing with his mates just to win.
12. Best match you were involved in? Gortnamonagate circa 2007. Paul Finnegan was running around like John Barnes in his heyday. MOTM and got us across the line in a big one.
13. Favourite quote? ‘I’m going to work up a number 6’ – Paul Finnegan
14. Best advice ever received? ‘(Silently) Ruairi, Sweeney can’t actually kick the ball, just use him as a decoy. (Louder) That’s it Mark son, you look fantastic out there, just keep making that run and we’ll give it to you’ (turns back to me and winks) – Joe Brolly
15. What other club do you like to see do well other than St Brigid’s? Rain. RIP.
16. Favourite player growing up? Aquinas’ Andy Magill. Never meet your hero kids.
17. Best trainer on the team? Ronan McGrady. That’s obviously a lie, but I’m just running out of questions and I haven’t mentioned that during our team talks Ronan lies on the floor with his eyes closed and no one has ever brought it up.
18. Worst trainer on the team? Timmy McCrudden or Princess as I’m calling him these days. Tried to invoice me his physio bill after I gave him a shoulder in pre season. His oldest brother Pauls career was like a a bright flame that burned out too quickly, Timmys light continues to flicker and we haven’t figured out to extinguish it yet.
19. Up and coming player to watch? Kevin McGovern, by my calculations he is about a third of the age of John Mackle when he was in his prime. Pity his waist size is about six times as big as Johns. Hoping he breaks through in the coming years and fits into the sub goal keeper jersey.
20. Favourite thing about the GAA? The annual week off
21. Where would you like to see St Brigid’s in ten years time? A political group run by Seaic Ó Dúnlaing under the tutelage of Niall Donelley