A WEST Cork man who moved to America in the 80s is now president of the illustrious Olympic Club, an athletic and social club in San Fransisco.
Originally hailing from Drinagh, Paul O’Driscoll moved to the States in March 1985, joining his sister who had moved previously.
Speaking to The Olympian magazine, Paul said that since moving, he’s never looked back.
‘I had a sister living here, who was in nursing,’ Paul said. ‘There wasn’t much going on in West Cork in the early 80s and I was looking for a better life, because as a young man I was quite ambitious.’
A qualified carpenter, Paul worked in construction for a number of years before earning his contractors licence and starting his own company with business partner Patrick Coakley.
Since then he has gone from success to success. ‘I started at the very bottom as a construction apprentice getting my hands dirty,’ he said. ‘I’ve been lucky enough to live the American dream.’
Paul was always into sport, however before moving to the US his main interest lay in soccer. He was part of the founding team of Drinagh Rangers soccer club, and was their first ever club captain.
The small club has gone on to be a hugely successful part of the community, with teams at all ages for both men and women – and they even hosted a match against Liverpool legends in 2015 when former players such as Ronnie Whelan and Ray Houghton made the trip down to West Cork.
Paul’s interest in golf grew following a few visits to the Olympic Club to accompany a fellow Irishman, John Moylan. ‘He was a long-time member who was also involved in governance,’ he said.
‘He would take me out to golf, and he kept telling me that we need to get more Irish involved as members. So he started recruiting me back in the late 90s.’
Since then, Paul has become a crucial part of the club, having put an enormous amount of time into the various committees he has been on. Serving as the president takes up to 30 hours per week, and Paul says he owes his business partner Patrick Coakley a lot.
‘He encouraged me all the way. He said to go out and do it, to give up your time and I’ll pick up the slack for the company. I tip my hat to him for that.’ With a waiting list of about 600 people wanting to join the club, the future is set to remain busy for the man from Drinagh.