Ian offers Kerry team words of inspiration: ‘Just beat the Dubs’
INSPIRATIONAL Killarney teenager Ian O’Connell captured the hearts of the nation this week with his Late Late Show appearance and rubbing shoulders with UFC icon Conor McGregor.
But the Spa man also left his mark on the Kerry team recently when he visited a training session. Ian had one simple piece of advice: ‘Beat the Dubs in 2018’.
“I was invited to a training session last week and they are a great bunch of lads,” Ian said. “My message to them was a straight up: ‘beat the Dubs’.
“It’s great to be back home again as a day out of Kerry is a day wasted. I’m getting physio every day and just settling back into home life again and meeting up with friends,” Ian added.
Ian’s dad, Mike, is extremely proud of his son’s positivity which has resonated with the entire country. “He’s just an amazing young man and you couldn’t help but be inspired by him,” said Mike.
IT’S not often a UFC star lets their guard down but that’s exactly what Conor McGregor did at the Three Arena last Saturday night where the world famous fighter was blown away by the inspirational attitude of Ian O’Connell.
Just 24 hours earlier the 16-yearold Spa man halted the attention of a nation on The Late Late Show with his defiant and eager attitude in the face of his accident in August 2017 that left him paralysed.
“It was some weekend and a different experience to say the least,” Ian told The Kerryman.
“I wasn’t in the slightest bit nervous about going on TV. I just said ‘how bad can it be’. But I was speechless when Conor [McGregor] came over to me. He said he had noticed me from The Late Late Show and I just burst into tears straight away,” he added.
Ian and his family have endured a tough time of it lately with Ian undergoing treatment at the Mater Hospital in Dublin and at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire. But Ian has met every stage of his recovery with the kind of positivity that’s impossible for many people to comprehend. Ian also gained a huge amount of inspiration and determination learning of how the folks back home in Kerry and Cork - especially the Spa GAA Club had rallied to help him.
“I was very aware of what was going on at home as my dad was keeping me updated. The level of work people did was crazy when you think about it and what people were doing really helped motivate me. It gave me a 100 percent lift. Look, the way I see it is there’s no point in crying over it as it’s not going to change anything,” he said.
Ian was recently invited to attend a Kerry team training session in Killarney and here too he left his mark on the players. Darran O’Sullivan tweeted after the Late Late appearance: ‘an inspirational young man’, while Bryan Sheahan tweeted ‘what an amazing attitude’.
“I was invited to a training session last week and they are a great bunch of lads. My message to them was a straight up: ‘beat the Dubs’. It’s great to be back home again as a day out of Kerry is a day wasted. I’m getting physio every day and just settling back into home life again and meeting up with friends.”
Ian’s dad, Mike, is extremely proud of how Ian’s story has resonated with the public and he admits it was a hectic weekend in the capital.
“I’m very proud of Ian. He’s just an amazing young man and you
couldn’t help but be inspired by him,” he said.
“Being on The Late Late Show and meeting Conor McGregor on Saturday night was the icing on the cake. McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, is good friends with Ian who he got to know when he was in hospital in Dun Laoghaire. He promised he’d get him tickets and you can just see from the picture how emotional Ian was meeting Conor.”
LOOK, THE WAY I SEE IT IS THERE’S NO POINT IN CRYING OVER IT AS IT’S NOT GOING TO CHANGE ANYTHING.
Special guest Ian O’Connell with Principal Sean Coffey and Kieran Herlihy team Manager at the presentation of Frewen and Dunloe Cup medals in The Brehon, Killarney on Thursday.
‘A dream come true’ as Ian meets his hero Conor McGregor .