Paddy O'Rourke Q&A
Who is the part-time model of the group and who likes the media attention? Paddy O'Rourke pulls back the veil on the Meath panel.
Who has been your toughest opponent and why?
I’d say Conor McManus. We’ve played a good bit of football against him in league down through the years, and any time he’s obviously the sharpshooter. Jamie Clarke as well from Armagh, tough. McManus would be the standout.
Team you most like to beat?
It doesn't happen too often but everyone wants to beat Dublin.
I was fierce proud to play in the Ireland v Australia game in Perth. People don’t see the International Rules as being very important but it was a standout day. Winning the county championship in 2010 with Skryne was special.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Probably family. Or the Monk from ‘Mean Machine’, he’s just such a mad goalie.
From any era, if you could transfer any one player to your county — who and why?
Michael Murphy, he just seems to have that aura about him that he’s the general. Everyone chips in behind him. His leadership qualities were on show when we played together in the International Rules and playing against him in the inter-provincials and Donegal. He seems to be the man, and you’d love to see him more often in a dressing-room to see what he’s really like.
Have you seen any tactical developments in recent seasons — what's caught your eye?
Everybody's gone on short kickouts now, that’s across the board now. It makes an awful lot of sense but it’s mad how every team now puts so much reliance on getting possession early. With the amount of improvements in squad fitness now, you’re backing everyone if you get possession to keep it work it up the field.
What has been your biggest disappointment of your career?
The lack of medals or trophies for the amount that you’ve put in since 2008. I don’t have anything really to show for it.
Which player has impressed you this year so far, from any team?
There’s two young lads. The left-footed midfielder for Kerry, Jack Barry, and Donegal’s Ciaran Thompson. They’re new lads holding their own straight away.
Who has given your team the most memorable motivational speech ever — from inside or outside the camp?
When we were in secondary school, (my uncle) Colm O'Rourke was principal of the team and manager of the school and we were going out to play the Hogan Cup final on a bank holiday Monday. He pulled us all in on the Friday evening before we broke for the weekend. That one stands out and, any time you’re in the dressing-room with him, he speaks… he’s one of them people who, when he speaks in a dressing-room about football, everyone seems to shut up and listen. We got beaten after extra time.
What's the toughest training camp you have ever done?
Any year between league and championship, it’s just pure slog. Hill of Tara is the one, it would put you off going there. There’s just one hill out the back of it and it’s probably about 300 metres from bottom to top, and you do interval runs. We didn't measure it out. Some runs could be 100 metres and some could be 200, it was pretty horrific, that was last year under Mick O’Dowd.
Who is the joker on the panel?
Sean Tobin. He gets a lot of pleasure out of slagging James Toher who was recently dropped off the hurlers.
Who is the best trainer?
Who is the best dressed?
Who is a slick dresser? I’m panicking here. I’ll go with Seamus Lavin, he’s done a bit of modelling in the past. He’s a part-time model.
Who is the worst dressed?
There’d be a few lads with the bootcut jeans and a pair of boots, Padraic Harnan.
Which player loves the media attention?
James Toher (bursts out laughing)!
Who is the ladies' man of the panel?
I’d say Mr Tinder, Joey Wallace.
What player from another sport do you most admire?
I always loved Ronan O’Gara growing up. Always delivered for Munster and, from where he came from with the Heineken Cup against Leinster when they were beaten 9-8, and the kicks... But for club and country throughout his career, he was phenomenal.
What manager from another sport do you admire?
I wouldn’t mind working under Joe Schmidt.