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NCAA football player Sean Galvin from Bandon, County Cork Photo by: ucfsports.net

Former Cork GAA player with dreams of playing in the NFL

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NCAA football player Sean Galvin from Bandon, County Cork Photo by: ucfsports.net

Sean Galvin was born in Bandon, County Cork and grew up playing soccer, Gaelic football, hurling and rugby. But in 2004 Galvin's parents James and Deborah decided to sell the family pub Jimmy G’s and move to the States.

That meant trading Gaelic football for its American counterpart.

'I loved soccer so I took that up with Lemon Bay High School,' Galvin told the Journal. 'I was playing around one day with some friends when a loose American football came towards us and I kicked it back.'

According to TheScore.ie his obvious skill got him noticed. 'Pretty much straight away one of the American football coaches drove over in his golf cart and asked me would I like to kick for the team.'

Soon Galvin's talent trumped. 'I think playing Gaelic football definitely helped. You develop all the same leg muscles you need to be a good kicker.'

Soon after Galvin won a scholarship to the University of Central Florida (UCF) where he has become a kick-off specialist.

'In rugby, which I played and I respect all the kickers, you get up to a minute to kick a penalty or conversion,' Galvin said. 'In football, you get 1.5 seconds from the time the ball is snapped to the time you kick it. You just don’t have time to think about it, you just have to relax and kick; it’s more instinctive than anything else.'

Galvin also admitted his Irishness helps with his game.

'To be a kicker, you have to be kind of different to the rest of the guys. You have to be more laid back and relaxed and you can’t get tense or nervous or it might affect your kicks. Being Irish helps with that I think.'

With his new career in the US ahead of him Galvin admits his former dreams of lining out in Croke Park were over.

Until his college was picked to take part in the inaugural Croke Park Classic game that is, which will see UCF open the 2014 NCAA football season in Ireland against Penn State.

'It’s insane,' he says, 'I’ve a load of cousins in Bandon and around Cork who’ve never seen me play so to think they’ll get to see me in the home of the GAA, it’s just great.

'I mean, when I was growing up I’d often see Diarmuid O’Sullivan and I’d run up him and annoy him about how I was going to follow in his footsteps and line out for Cork in Croke Park.

'I always thought it would be playing hurling or Gaelic football, I never, ever, thought it would be playing American football.'

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