Powter ready to make his mark – and find his roots – down un­der

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS - SEÁN MO­RAN

The twists and turns and co­in­ci­dences of Seán Powter’s life at the mo­ment could have been taken from the pages of a 19th-cen­tury melo­drama. His fam­ily back­ground has al­ready at­tracted in­ter­est from the lo­cal broad­cast­ers.

It wasn’t quite stum­bling on long-lost rel­a­tives, but it was true that he hadn’t seen his grand­par­ents in a long time.

It’s known at this stage but, to re­cap, his fa­ther David is from Parkes in New South Wales and a for­mer ju­nior hockey in­ter­na­tional. He met his wife-to-be in Greece. She turned out to be an O’Dono­van from Sk­ib­bereen and, through that, 20 years or so later, their son is now back in Aus­tralia, rep­re­sent­ing his mother’s coun­try against his fa­ther’s.

He bolted through the year and, with the as­sis­tance of a cou­ple of late with­drawals, found him him­self leap­ing aboard as Joe Ker­nan filled the fi­nal va­can­cies.

There was even drama in the fi­nal hours be­fore de­par­ture as he played an out­stand­ing role in Dou­glas’s first un­der-21 county cham­pi­onship win be­fore hav­ing to pack his bags and head to the other side of the world.

It was a mem­o­rable sea­son in that even if Cork had an­other poor year, Powter’s emer­gence as an ex­cit­ing and en­er­getic tal­ent ver­sa­tile enough to play in ei­ther half line – an adapt­abil­ity re­ferred to by Ker­nan when he listed the at­tributes for good in­ter­change play­ers – cul­mi­nated in a nom­i­na­tion as Young Foot­baller of the Year.

In the heat of St Mary’s Park, Ade­laide, he re­flected on the dif­fer­ence from an un­sea­son­ably cold Mel­bourne ear­lier in the week, let alone back home.

‘Hot­ter out there’

“It’s a lot hot­ter out there. Out there we were all strug­gling. We took five or six wa­ter breaks. In Ire­land it’s six de­grees now. It’s crazy to think within a few hours’ – well, a lot of hours – trav­el­ling, it’s 25 de­grees.”

He hasn’t been here in quite a while.

“When I was younger I went a lot but I haven’t been in about 10 years. So I got to see my grand­par­ents and my aun­tie yes­ter­day for the first time in 10 years. It was un­be­liev­able. I’m go­ing to see them again af­ter this.

“They’ve trav­elled 12 hours to get here, driv­ing. That just shows how big Aus­tralia is. They’re go­ing to go to the game on Sun­day.”

His fa­ther is un­able to join them in the Ade­laide Oval, hav­ing been taken by sur­prise by his son’s late co-op­tion.

“Yeah. It was late no­tice, he was tempted to come but he al­ready had booked for Christ­mas and couldn’t re­ally change with work.”

He’s well catered for in the Cork depart­ment by fel­low pan­el­list Eoin Cado­gan, a fel­low club­man from Dou­glas, who was singing his young room-mate’s praises ear­lier in the week.

“Ah, it’s bril­liant. Seánie Powter epit­o­mises the type of en­ergy that a young guy brings to a panel. He’s ballsy, he goes for ev­ery­thing and that’s re­flected this year in his per­for­mances for Cork. He was like a guy with no shack­les on, he just went for ev­ery­thing. Joe and the lads have been re­ally im­pressed with him. It’s bril­liant to have two guys from the same club on it. I’m even stuck room­ing with him, I’m not sure who’s mind­ing who. It’s bril­liant.”

Heav­ier bur­den

With the un­cer­tainty cre­ated by the stom­ach bug which threat­ens to re­move three play­ers from full match in­volve­ment, a heav­ier bur­den will fall on ev­ery­one else. He’s be­ing pre­pared for a sig­nif­i­cant role but also get­ting his cards marked on the re­al­i­ties of the in­ter­na­tional game for a rel­a­tively slight speed­ster.

“Joe’s warned me not to bring the ball into con­tact, just avoid it. It’s some­thing dif­fer­ent. We know the Aussies are go­ing to be ag­gres­sive. That’s all they’re say­ing is ag­gres­sion, ag­gres­sion. We saw what your man said about us, call­ing us am­a­teurs and say­ing they have higher fit­ness lev­els. That’ll just drive us on.”

There has al­ready been spec­u­la­tion that he’s cut out for the task of mark­ing one of the AFL’s most men­ac­ing for­wards, Ed­die Betts, who also has a fine track record in the in­ter­na­tional se­ries.

“Joe hasn’t said any­thing yet but I want the chal­lenge of mark­ing the best. I want to mark Ed­die, I know he’s some­thing spe­cial.”

Seán Powter: his fa­ther David is from Parkes in New South Wales

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