Irish hockey star Conor Harte from Ballinspittle will miss two things from 2016 – competing in the Olympic Games in Rio and the original Toblerone bar before they made it smaller …
Q. If you could relive one sporting moment from the past year, what would it be and why?
It was the moment the first whistle blew in our opening game of the Olympic Games against India. The 110-year wait was over, Hockey Ireland had an Olympic team again and we were officially all Olympians. It was an incredible feeling.
Q. Picture this: Olympic silver medallists Gary and Paul O’Donovan are in a 100m sprint on land – who wins and why? Gary – because Paul is too busy trying to go backwards!
Q. What will you miss most about 2016?
Not having the Olympic Games in Rio to look forward to; it was the first thought in the morning and the last one at night. I’ll also miss the original Toblerone that they are now changing the shape of; I just can’t get my head around it!
Q. Describe Conor McGregor in one word: Irish.
Q. Outside of your sport, what sporting moment from 2016 captured your imagination?
Unfortunately it isn’t a very happy one, but I was in the boxing arena when Katie Taylor lost her fight in the Olympic Games on a split decision. I’ll never forget, from a distance, seeing her trying to compose herself before having to give one of her most difficult interviews of her career to RTÉ moments after her fight. Her post-fight interview really struck a chord with me.
Q. If you could go for New Year’s Eve drinks with three sports people – local, national or international – who would you pick? Conor McGregor (for many reasons), Gearoid Condon (a fantastic former Kinsale GAA footballer turned coach as I really like the level of detail he pays attention to in sport mentally and physically) and Joe Schmidt (to discuss THAT win against the All Blacks).
Q. What local sports star should we keep an eye on next year? He is already grabbing headlines for all the right reasons – Conor Hourihane. Having been at Bandon Grammar school with him you knew he was going to make it. And from what I remember it wasn’t just his talent but it was his attitude; he was a real down-to-earth nice guy. It is also worth while keeping an eye on Julian Dale from Riverstick, also an ex-BGS student. He made a very difficult decision to move from his childhood club (also my first club) Cork Harlequins to play his hockey with C of I in Rochestown. And two to three years later his hard work has earned him a call-up to the Ireland senior men’s squad for 2017.
Q. Any advice to get over the January blues?
Go on a holiday! Set yourself small attainable goals also, be it work-related or sports-related, etc. There’s nothing better than distracting yourself to get through a long January!
Q. Finish the sentence: In 2017 I want to ….
see Barack Obama as American president again! Oh, and qualify for the Hockey World Cup in 2018!!