TADHG Mac Carthaigh footballer Mark O’Driscoll recently helped Garryowen GAC win the prestigious senior men’s seven-a-side tournament held in Melbourne, Australia.
The Corkman played a key role in helping his newly-adopted side capture the much-coveted senior championship title.
Mark was delighted to play his part in their great success.
“It was a great win and a great day overall for the Garryowen club. We also won the Intermediate football championship title and the senior hurling title.
“The sevens tournament are an annual tournament run by the Padraig Pearses club on an annual basis in Melbourne and it’s open to teams across Australia. 50 teams took part on the day.
“It was a great achievement to win the title,” declared the talented footballer.
Mark and his jubilant team-mates enjoyed great celebrations following their title success.
The forward admits it was difficult adjusting to the very warm conditions in Melbourne which almost ensured he was nostalgic for the inclement weather conditions back home.
“The celebrations went down very well. We had our annual informal bank holiday. Conditions were difficult as it was 32 degrees Celsius on the day.
“It is a bit different to playing in February in Aughaville. It is nice to be playing in nice weather, but it can be hard going flat out in that heat all day.”
Mark moved to Australia at the start of last year. He immediately joined the Garryowen GAC on the advice of fellow Cork football exiles and Dohenys quartet Alan Sheehan, Tom Collins, David Collins, and Mark Quinn.
Mark loves representing his new club in Melbourne.
“Garryowen are a great club to play for. We have the perfect blend of training hard, playing hard and partying even harder.
“It’s hard to see when you’re in a bubble training and playing so hard at home the positive impact that making things a bit more enjoyable can have.
“I knew a few of the Dohenys lads before I came over, so I don’t think it was ever really a question who I was going to play for.
“They recommended Garryowen and I was happy to join them. Playing GAA abroad is a great way to make friends, you might travel out here on your own, but come down to one training session and you’ve instantly made 40 friends so it’s good that way.
“It is also a nice slice of home to keep you from getting homesick.”
The Cork contingent within the Melbourne-based club continues to grow on an annual basis.
Former Cork senior footballer Conor Dorman and Cork junior footballer Eddie Goggin were also members of the successful seven-a-side football team.
Mark is delighted to join forces with so many Rebel footballers.
“We have a huge Cork and particularly west Cork contingent playing for Garryowen.
“It’s a strange feeling playing with lads you’re used to playing against back home. Eddie Goggin from Gabriel Rangers would be a prime example.
“We have played against each other since day one and we have had so many battles against each other from U10 to junior championship matches. Winning a tournament on the same team was nice.”
Mark and his fiancee Amy moved to Australia following the completion of his academic studies in UCC; Mark is working as a nurse in Melbourne.
His parents recently visited the newly engaged couple who are loving life in Australia.
“Working conditions as a whole are that bit better here, which does make it hard to part with. Melbourne is a great spot.
“Lovely city. It’s a far better lifestyle. It is much better than we would ever have at home unfortunately.
“It was nice to have my parents over for a while.
“It was a once in a lifetime experience for them. Until next year at least!
“My mother probably would hope differently, but I would imagine we will be spending another while here in Australia.
“It’s hard to leave. Work is more enjoyable, football is more enjoyable and the lifestyle as a whole is more enjoyable.”
Attention for Mark and his Garryowen colleagues will now turn to playing league and championship matches in the next few weeks if the current restrictions for Covid-19 are lifted.
Mark is hopeful they will enjoy a successful season.
“The season is only starting here. A fortnight ago we had a nine-a-side tournament hosted by Garryowen.
“We will be sending a team to Sydney in a few weeks for the annual Gosford tournament if possible. We will also have league and championship starting in the upcoming weeks which we will train hard for.
“The standard here is very good, much more so than I ever expected. Having only six or seven teams in Melbourne with such a high volume of lads constantly coming over makes for a great standard.”
Mark keeps abreast of all club developments within his beloved Tadhg MacCarthaigh GAA club through his family and friends.
Mark is looking forward to one day wearing the iconic Tadhg MacCarthaigh colours once again.
“It’s hard not to miss playing for my own club, but for now it’s a nice experience to play out here with other boys from across the country.
“Hopefully. I’ll play at home again at some stage. I do keep up to speed with everything happening at home.
“All the lads keep me up to date with what’s going on. Hopefully, when the season resumes, both Tadhg MacCarthaigh and Garryowen will enjoy successful seasons.”