Take it as Red

SINCE retiring from rugby last May, Munster and international player Alan Quinlan has been working in broadcasting and enjoying playing golf.

“Rugby gave me so much and I enjoyed the challenge of being out on the pitch. But I don’t miss the pressure week in, week out. When you’re playing at the top level, you’re in a pressure cooker where you’re constantly being analysed.”

The Tipperary-born sports star is fronting Tagged In Westport, the West of Ireland’s inaugural tag rugby festival on May 18 and 19. “Tag rugby’s fantastic fun, keeps the fitness levels up and you get to socialise and meet new people.”

Having battled depression himself, he’s glad some of the event proceeds are going to Aware, the charity that helps fight depression.

“When you’re at the bottom of the barrel, you don’t believe anyone cares, but they do. Men are inclined not to talk about problems. I was like that. Talking to family and friends and getting supported by them made a big difference to me.”

Alan, 37, is separated from model Ruth Griffin. He describes his son, AJ, three, as “the light of my life”.

Visit taggedinwestport.ie or follow Tagged In Westport on Facebook.

What shape are you in?

My muscles have definitely got a bit softer since retiring from rugby but I’m not in too bad shape.

I try to get to the gym twice a week, I play indoor soccer once a week and I go for a run. Exercise is good for the mind.

Do you have any health concerns?

I’ve been in hospital many times but always for rugby injuries. I’ve had knee reconstruction — I came out the other side of that pretty ok.

I’ve had a dislocated shoulder and I hurt both my elbows. These things do come back to haunt you — I’d have a few aches and pains.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I eat a lot of eggs during the week because they contain plenty of protein. I always try to have a good cereal, like porridge, every morning. I wouldn’t have a big lunch, just a sandwich, fruit and yoghurt. I snack a lot on fruit.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

My biggest weakness is having a couple of biscuits with a cup of tea.

Since retiring, if I go home to my mum and she’s got chips and a fry on, I might sample those.

What would keep you awake at night?

I mostly sleep well. It can take me a while to unwind at night so I read or watch a bit of TV. The what-ifs would keep me awake — worrying about the future, my family’s safety and the way the world is and the dangers that are out there.

How do you relax?

I enjoy golf — I try to get a game in each week. I’d have a few drinks on occasion. I enjoy going to the cinema and meeting friends back in Tipperary.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Barack Obama, Robert De Niro, Steven Gerrard — I’m a massive Liverpool fan, Ronan O’Gara and Paul O’Connell. I’d get great entertainment out of them.

What’s your favourite smell?

I often use scented candles — I love lavender.

What would you change about your appearance?

I frown all the time so I’ve got wrinkles on my forehead — I’d get rid of them.

When did you last cry?

I’ve probably cried a few times in private lately but I most recently cried in public when I finished my last game with Munster in Thomond Park. AJ was with me too — it was pretty emotional.

What trait do you least like in others?

Lack of loyalty. I love people whom you can trust and rely on.

What trait do you least like in yourself?

I wish I was more positive and I’d like to be more confident about my own ability. It’s an area I’m getting much better at but I still have to work on it.

Do you pray?

I try to say a few prayers pretty regularly.

What would cheer up your day?

Seeing my son’s face. He always makes me smile. And if he’s not with me, seeing his picture makes me happy.


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