Paul Hackett had been a long-serving player of Galwegians. We sat down with him recently to hear him reflect and take a brief look back on his rugby career to date.

One day when Paul was nine years old, a group of Galwegians players came back from playing a rugby tournament in London and visited his primary school. Seeing them with glittering silverware and medals around their necks inspired Paul and inspired him to get involved in the world of rugby.

“I thought it was amazing that they were coming back from playing rugby in London. That gave me the bug to take up rugby”.

Paul followed his friends and started playing underage rugby for Galwegians. He used his skillset from GAA to transition to rugby and felt that the oval ball sport “came more naturally to me”. He just fell in love with the sport and the rest has been history.

Paul has achieved no small amount of success in his time during his time with Galwegians. The first major success was the U17 All Ireland Final on the back of an undefeated streak. “I look back at that year fondly. You have so many friends that you grew up with. Tt was a moment when boys became men”.

Another achievement for Paul was being a part of the Galwegians side that made it all the way to AIL Division 1A and the top tier of Irish club rugby. “It was a huge honour to be part of that team. It will always stay in the back of my mind”.

Paul rates his team mates through the years as a constant source of inspiration and motivation to improve as a player and reach the next level himself.

“You get inspired by your friends and the players around you. How much hard work they are putting in, and what they are achieving in life. You take all these little things about what they are doing. That’s what you get your inspiration from”.

Paul is currently in Dublin and, despite being retired from rugby, Paul admits he still has the urge to come back and put on his boots to get back in action. He is contemplating getting his coaching badges, but would like to get some more games under his belt before pursuing coaching.

“I ended up buying a new pair of boots a while back so I might have to start playing a small bit of rugby here in Dublin, I’m getting itchy feet. I don’t know how the people in Galway would feel about that, but I might do a small bit of playing before going back to coaching!”.

Paul has some experience coaching in Galwegians, after mentoring the U20s two years ago to get a feel of it.

Having progressed through the youth ranks to senior rugby, he knows that these young players are the next generation of Wegians and wants to give his expertise with an emphasis on “hard work and learning from your mistakes”.

“I wanted to give back to the club, and the way you do that is coaching and helping the younger players. Giving the knowledge you learnt back to them is extremely rewarding. There were volunteers that helped me along the way along with thousands of other players. So I want to help. It’s such a small yet rewarding thing to do. I was happy to do it.”

Paul is confident that Galwegians can go the way this season. The Sky Blues might be 100 years old but they aren’t going to be slowing down any time soon. He wishes the club all the best for the season ahead.