If ever someone was destined for big things, it’s Wexford teenager Rory O’Connor, writes Stephen Barry.
He’s from a hurling dynasty: his father John and uncle George were on the famous 1996 All-Ireland winning team, while his grandfather Paddy played junior for Wexford in the 1940s.
He was top-scorer in the All-Ireland Minor Championship last year despite playing only four games. Then, having just completed his Leaving Cert, the 18-year-old made his senior debut as a late starter in the All-Ireland quarter-final against Waterford and played the full 70 minutes.
His brother Jack also played that day, and said: “I don’t say it to him but I’d say it to others, he’s nearly the best of all of us.”
Yesterday evening he was alongside his other brother Harry and cousins Barry and Joe on the St Martin’s team in the Wexford U21 final.
Rory had scored a goal moments earlier before he pinged in this perfectly-placed top-corner screamer from 30 metres out.
His parents weren’t there to see it, according to the club’s Twitter account, as they attended Jack’s graduation, but at least the Wexford GAA cameras were there to record it.
Rory O'Connor hits the opening point, no parents here as at Jack's grad!!! 0-1 to 0-0— St Martins GAA Club (@StMartinsGAA) September 4, 2017
They brought home the silverware too, with a comprehensive 4-27 to 2-14 win over Naomh Éanna, as Rory scored 2-5.
It was a performance made all the better by Michael Dwyer's commentary and the club’s Twitter updates:
0-14 to 0-5, Rory points from an angle so acute mathematicians can't describe it!— St Martins GAA Club (@StMartinsGAA) September 4, 2017
Rory wide from 45 metres, typical.— St Martins GAA Club (@StMartinsGAA) September 4, 2017
Gooooallll!!! 2-20 to 0-7, Rory finishes with ice in his veins from fine Ben Maddock pass.— St Martins GAA Club (@StMartinsGAA) September 4, 2017
Again! Top corner screamer by Rory makes it 3-20 to 0-8.— St Martins GAA Club (@StMartinsGAA) September 4, 2017
Cannot emphasise enough how blistering a finish Rory's goal was. Thirty metres out, one for the Sunday Game.— St Martins GAA Club (@StMartinsGAA) September 4, 2017
You'd do well to find a better u21 hurling team, not only in Ireland but the whole universe!!!! https://t.co/XXEn30isFy— Adrian Flynn™ (@Panthero84) September 4, 2017
“Beat the holy man!”
Thanks to the volunteers in Wexford GAA, including Lar Sutton and Finbar Flanagan, for the clip. You can check out more of their excellent videos on their Facebook page.