Feature Profile on
Paul Boyle of Leinster u20s (700 words)
Every breath Paul
Boyle took spewed an icy mist through the winter air. His friend’s words rung
in his ears driving him on. Harder with each run, quicker through each speed ladder,
more explosive with every bar he lifted. “you obviously won’t be a professional
Leinster u20’s number 8, had always dreamed of playing rugby professionally. His
dream, however, which is almost at touching distance, was not always so.
“I remember we
were outside ‘Fatcats’, (local fish and chips shop) Paul wasn’t in the best
shape at the time and had just finished two battered sausages, a bag of chip
and a can. We had this twice a week for around two years.” Darragh Bellanova a
close friend and childhood team mate of Paul’s remembered.
“Anyway”, he continued “I asked Paul what he
wanted to do when he was older to which he replied, I want to be a professional
rugby player. I remember laughing at him before realizing he was serious. I
told him that he obviously wouldn’t be a professional rugby player.”
Boyle recalls this
as the moment he decided that he was going to go work towards his dream. “I had
always thought about doing extra work by myself but never bothered. That night
I was hurt and had grit in my teeth. I stayed for two hours by myself after
training running laps.”
“In hindsight this
didn’t do much for me except ware out my body, but it got me into a habit. I’d
go out probably 3 or 4 times a week by myself doing fitness or strength or
It’s this hard
work and motivation that Boyle attributes his current position within Leinster
“I lost a heap of
weight and started to get strong. I suppose it was those rainy days by myself
that propelled me to play for Leinster and Ireland”.
Boyle’s work ethic
hasn’t waned, according to his strength and conditioning coach Dave Fagan. “you
see him in the gym and he works harder than anyone I’ve seen. You can tell that
he wants it and he’s doing everything in his power to get it”, he said.
Twenty years old,
Boyle is on track to achieving his goals. Having already captained Leinster u19s
and received caps for an Irish u19s side, Paul is now a member of an
interprovincial championship winning Leinster 20s team and is in his first
season with Lansdowne senior squad.
His successes thus
far haven’t been without sacrifice.
“yeah I miss out
on an awful lot. I can’t go on holidays with my friends and didn’t get to go to
my debs”, he explained. “every weekend I see photos of everyone heading out and
I do get jealous but I remind myself that it’ll be well worth it in the end if
all goes well, and rugby has made me experience a lot of new thing and plenty
of new places.”
Boyle is one of
the youngest players on the Lansdowne senior team but received great praise
from Stephen Gardiner a teammate of the youngster. “he’s only new to the squad
but has already shown the talent that he is. He really showed the older guys up
last week, I can see a very bright future for him”, he said.
relative success Boyle is firmly focused on the future.
“ah you can’t sit
there thinking you’re great”, he said “what I’ve achieved is a means to an end.
You just have to take it one step at a time and hope that at the end you are
where you want to be in your career”.
With the Ireland
u20s 6 nations squad to be decided on in the coming weeks and the u20s world
cup looming soon after, the next few months are huge in Boyle’s career.
“the next year,
especially up until the world cup are massive for me. I’ll know very soon if
I’ve made it or not”, he said.
Within the next
year, Boyle will know if he is to be offered a professional contract. By then
he’ll know if his dream did, after all come through and if the hard work and
sacrifices have paid off.