Eddie Goggin swapped Schull for Melbourne the day after Gabriel Rangers lost the 2019 Cork IFC final last November. KIERAN McCARTHY touched base to see how Eddie is settling in Oz
KIERAN McCARTHY (KMC): Let’s go back to your decision to swap Schull for Melbourne late last year – was it a hard or easy move to make?
Eddie Goggin (EG): To be honest, it was a hard decision because I’m such a home bird. I wasn't really sure if I wanted to move or not but it was now or never because I do intend on settling down in Ireland in the future. Because I’m in my mid-20s now, I said I’d bite the bullet and go for it because it’s good to see another part of the world. I decided on Melbourne because I know a good few people there including my sister Nicki and one of my best friends and fellow club-mate, Stephen O'Mahony, who both had nothing but good things to say about. The main thing they said about Melbourne that made me decide to go for it was that it's full of Irish people and it’s like a home away from home.
KMC: How important was it for you to line out for Gabriel Rangers in the county intermediate final (Knocknagree won 2-10 to 1-11) before you left?
EG: I left the morning after the county final. I originally had the flights booked for the month before but rescheduled them so I could be play in the final because I knew I’d regret it if I wasn't there for it.
KMC: There’s a strong West Cork contingent in Melbourne who play for Garryowen GAA Club, so I’m presuming that made it easier to slot in there?
EG: I got involved straightaway. I started playing with Garryowen as I was told it's a very Cork-based club and I knew a good few lads including Mark O’Driscoll, Mark Quinn and Conor Dorman, so it was ideal really. I'm glad I joined Garryowen because it's more than just football, there's a great social side to it and I’m lucky to have met the people that I have. They always go above and beyond to help you find jobs, accommodation, etc. GAA is a big part of my life at home so it’s great to have it out here too.
KMC: And even though you’re on the other side of the world, that West Cork connection played a part in setting you up with a job in Melbourne.
EG: I qualified as a carpenter back in 2018 so that was the line of work I was looking to do. Alan Sheehan from Dunmanway has a company, Suas Civil, in Melbourne and I was fortunate enough that he gave me a job with them. At the moment I’m down in a regional area in Victoria called Maffra completing my three months of regional work to earn a second year visa even though I’m not 100 percent sure yet do I want to stay a second year or not – but I can use it at a later stage if I don’t now. I thought it was a good time to get it done really because there’s not a lot going on anywhere with all the Covid-19 restrictions in place. I’m working down in a milking farm but look forward to getting back to Melbourne again.
KMC: Before you headed off to Maffra, fill us in on the success you enjoyed with Garryowen GAA earlier in the year.
EG: I was lucky enough to play in a big GAA competition in February where teams from all over Australia travelled down to Melbourne for the weekend. Garryowen won the Sevens and the Nines competitions, I was lucky enough to play a part in the Sevens as I have an ongoing injury since last year. There are a good few competitions here, including the sevens and the nines, and within Melbourne there’s a league and championship between the Melbourne-based teams.
KMC: The way this year is panning out it looks like you won’t miss any championship games for Gabriels back here at home – but how hard was it to leave them?
EG: I miss it massively, there is always a good buzz at training amongst the selectors and the players. It was very hard leaving Gabriels and all the lads, especially after the county final and getting promoted to premier intermediate football. It’s the highest Gabriel Rangers men’s club has ever been so I found it even harder that I’d be missing the first time playing in that competition.
KMC: You’re not the only Gabriels’ man Down Under, have you had the chance yet to meet up with some of the other lads?
EG: My best adventure in Oz to date was probably going to Sydney for a weekend to visit my best friends, Sean Kelleher and Diarmaid O’Callaghan, and Sean’s girlfriend, Niamh Whooley. It was nice to see Sydney, it’s a really nice city. I was tempted to stay there but Melbourne just about betters it for me.
KMC: Given that Australia are easing Covid-19 restrictions, what’s the plan once you’re finished your regional work?
EG: There were a lot of restrictions in place here too, trying to slow the spread of the virus. The construction industry is staying going throughout, which was good for me. The restrictions started being relaxed last week and there are plans to reduce them further in the coming weeks if everything goes to plan. I haven’t had a chance to travel much here yet but I’ve a long list of places to visit once this pandemic has passed. Australia is a beautiful country, and with its easy-going lifestyle, good work/life balance and amazing scenery you’d never be bored here. But home is always home and there’s no replacing that.