The Sevens rugby player is following a strict training programme at home.
“I’ve been training very hard because there’s obviously not much else to do,” says the 25-year-old Limerick native.
“There are not really any injuries happening with [the team] at the moment because obviously we’re not contact training with each other. We all seem to be getting in very good shape which is hilarious — we’ve probably never been so fit, which is a good thing.”
Though he’s months away from his next competitive match — it could be as late as January 2021 — he has not lost sight of his goal: to reach the Olympics next year. “That’s running everything,” he says.
As a professional player, he knows it takes commitment and sustained effort to get a result. He also believes in working hard off the pitch. He’s a trained Pilates instructor, has a law degree from UL and is currently studying for an entrance exam to train as a solicitor. For him, it’s a simple formula: what you put into life, is what you get out out it.
And so when he won the reality TV series last year, after being parachuted in on day 43, he felt deeply uncomfortable with the avalanche of media and social media attention.
“I felt I didn’t earn anything. I didn’t work for it. I didn’t get all the following because of talent — I did it because I went on a show. I really struggled to feel like I was worthy of that following.”
Despite his initial reluctance, he decided to follow the advice he got at the time: Winning the competition was “an opportunity to be taken by two hands” because it doesn’t last forever.
He has since gone on to be a guest presenter with Doireann Garrihy on 2fm’s breakfast show and co-hosted the sporting seriesMuireann O’Connell on Virgin Media Two earlier in the year.
“I’m very conscious of showing this is just my real life and I’m not trying to be something I’m not, “ he says.
“I’m obviously not getting the big money over in the UK but I’m happy to be here in my little Ireland.”
n Greg O’Shea is an ambassador for Irish Dairy Council’s ‘Everything starts with milk’ initiative.
We’re still on a full training programme. We get sent out two- or three-week blocks of training which have four running sessions a week and four gyms a week. It definitely keeps us busy but it’s great to have the structure.
We get sent out little GPS units which basically track everything you do, down to how fast you’re moving — it’s like having a coach watching you.
The only thing we’re missing is the camaraderie of being with the lads. Otherwise, everything is still tracked and we’re still training as hard as possible.
We have a nutritionist with our Irish Sevens team so he stays on top of us and makes sure we’re all eating properly. Nutrition isn’t a crazy thing it’s very simple. You just make sure you get all your macronutrients in - your carbohydrates, your proteins and your fats. Then make sure you’re not eating snacks and junk. It’s really that easy.
I’d be a big man for putting everything into a smoothie in the morning — I’d have loads of frozen fruits and I’d have protein in there, I’d mix it with some milk, I’d put chia seeds and flax seeds in there - superfoods to cover all your calcium — it sets you up for the morning.
Pizza — I like Dominos. Something simple like a pepperoni pizza hits the spot. But you can’t be having that all the time, you have to earn it.
I tend to be a decent sleeper. If I have a big tournament coming up in the next couple of days I usually become quite restless and nervous coming into that - otherwise, I tend to sleep well because I try to have a sleeping habit whereby I go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time.
During lockdown, I’m going to bed about half ten and getting up at eight. But when it’s training time I could be going to bed at half nine and up at six.
I’m a big fan of just going for coffee with my mates. Obviously, at the moment it has to be socially distanced, so it’s a takeaway coffee and sitting outside two metres away from each other. It’s a relief — just sitting down chatting, it makes you forget what’s happening in the world.
A big inspiration for me is Katie Taylor. I think she’s unappreciated as well. She’s arguably the best athlete Ireland has ever had and people don’t give her the title. She’s the best female boxer ever in the world. She’s just incredible.
I’d be a big fan of freshly cut grass. It’s usually always summertime and you’re out and about, enjoying the weather. It’s a social smell, a happy smell.
My broken nose and my forehead which is dented. [It’s the result of] a tackle last year. I was kneed in the head, cracked my skull and broke my nose, so I have to get surgery to fix that when I stop playing rugby.
The other thing is that my front tooth got knocked out in rugby and I have a fake front tooth but you wouldn’t notice that. I’m put together by tape.
Probably when we buried my grandmother in March before lockdown. We had only buried my mum’s mother when I was in Love Island - I came out of [the show] to bury her and then went back in.
I really dislike bad manners when people don’t say please or thank you — that really boils my blood.
I find it very hard to relax. I’d like to be able to shut down more and enjoy my time off rather than feel I have to do something all the time.
I wouldn’t sit at the side of my bed and put my hands together and say prayers every evening. But I would occasionally say a prayer to myself if something bad is happening in the world, if one of my relatives is sick, or with Covid going on.
Probably seeing my mates and having time with them. I love to go for a sea swim with them and have coffee or, if we’re allowed, to go for a pint after.
The quote tattooed on my ribs - it says: ‘If you want something, go get it, period’.
Basically, if you have a big goal in life stop making excuses. If you want it bad enough — you’ll get it, just work for it. It’s in Cantonese because my mother’s father is from Hong Kong.
Whistler in Canada — there’s skiing in the winter and mountain biking in the summer. We’ve relatives in Canada and I have really fond memories of there.
I’m technically single because I’ve been in lockdown for so long. I was going on a few dates before lockdown, we’ll see what happens.