As published in InTouch Magazine (IRUPA), November edition.
When you were in school, did you have any idea what you hoped to do career wise?
Rugby was all I ever wanted to do and being a pro player was the goal even from a young age. Did I ever think it was going to happen??? I wasn’t sure but I did everything I possibly could to give myself the chance.
How did you embark on your rugby career?
I came through the age grade system in Munster the same way that the kids do now but there were no provincial academies in my day. There was just the one – the National Academy. I was disappointed not to have made it at the time but it never got in my way of reaching my goal. I played with the Irish 20s for two seasons, captaining them in my second year. I was offered a development contract with Munster after that and the rugby road really began.
Did you consider rugby to be a viable career option?
Yes, because at the time it was my only option.
What third level education did you undertake and how did you balance study commitments with your training and playing schedule?
I never studied before turning professional which was a massive mistake on my behalf. I went into the game early and I never fully prepared myself for the aftermath. I eventually got sense in my later years and started to study while still playing. The balance is all about time management and it can all be done if you can organise your life properly. There is so much help available now through IRUPA to help players balance their commitments. There are no excuses anymore.
How did your rugby career progress?
I played with Munster from 2000-2009. I also spent a season with London Wasps but had to finish my career that year through injury. Rugby gave me my best years of my life but it was a mental battle rather than a physical one!
Do you think playing rugby has helped your off field career?
Very much so! If nothing else rugby gives you discipline, teaches you how to manage your time, and to have the utmost respect for your colleagues, friends and family. These are all traits that employers look for in an individual.
How was your retirement experience?
It was something that I was dreading because I loved the game so much. Jokingly, I had always said that I would play some sort of rugby until I was 40. But, when the time came I was ready. I was in a good place physically (sort of) but mentally I just had enough. I had already delved into the coaching world so I was ready for the next step.
Looking back what did you most enjoy about playing rugby and what do you miss most?
I suppose the biggest thing I missed was the lads. You spend so much time with them every day both on and off the pitch that they really become an extension of your family. When it’s all over they are suddenly cut from your life. Yes, you have made friends forever and don’t get me wrong, it’s not like you will never see them again but that day to day connection, that suiting up on a Saturday together, that joy of victory together is gone.
What piece of advice would you give young players starting out today?
Get an education – Have RESPECT for all – Hard Work pays off!
Finally Mossy, what are you doing currently?
I am working for Connacht Rugby as an EPDO. My day to day duties are coaching the Academy and TIP groups around the regions. I am also Head Coach of the Connacht Eagles. Rugby has giving me everything past and present!