Q&A with Matthew Fitzpatrick: Winning Sigerson, forgetting my boots for Croke Park and Gulag

Former Antrim ace Matthew Fitzpatrick is still hoping to make a splash in local soccer Picture by Cliff Donaldson.
Former Antrim ace Matthew Fitzpatrick is still hoping to make a splash in local soccer Picture by Cliff Donaldson.

Name: Matthew Fitzpatrick

County: Antrim

Club: St John's

What was your lockdown routine: Did some online teaching through google classroom. Used the afternoon to get some training done and then play the PlayStation all night. My girlfriend likes to remind me everyday that most 25-year-olds don’t spend their day shouting at a computer but she’s never been sent to the Gulag

What was the best thing about lockdown: We bought my daddy a dog for retiring so he’s been good for breaking the monotony

What was the worst thing about the lockdown: I know in the grand scheme of things it’s trivial but I was worried for players that a year of our careers would be wasted

Favourite training drill: Can’t beat 9-v-9 or 11-v-11 games

Least favourite training drill: Bleep test - I've yet to see anyone picked or dropped from a team for their bleep test score

If you didn’t play Gaelic football which sport would you be playing: I’m still trying to chance my arm at soccer

Five dinner guests and reasons why you’d invite them: Eddie Hearn - I think he’s the funniest man alive; Ray Parlour - Looks like he’d be great craic; Paul Merson - Loves it; Pat Hughes - He was good company on all the trips to Croke; Frank Fitzsimons - One of the best fellas you’ll ever meet

Best sporting memory: Winning the Sigerson Cup with St Mary's. It wasn’t even the competition win that was so special, it was the fact that such a close group of players and mentors like Paddy Tally got what they deserved

Worst sporting memory: Plenty of those but I’d say the time Pat Hughes got me suspended for 48 weeks

Best sick-note excuse: Frank Fitzsimons once asked me how many grannies I had so I’ll let you assume the rest

Favourite film: Not a big fan of films but I loved the Michael Jordan documentary - The Last Dance

Tell us something we don’t know about you: For Antrim, we played Louth in the League final at Croke in 2015. I remember we had made plans to go out afterwards so I had my clothes packed in my bag. As soon as we got into the changing rooms I took my polo shirt out so that it wouldn’t get wrinkled. Checked my bag after that and realised I forgot my boots. I didn’t want to tell Gearoid Adams (the manager) because he’d kill me, so I got a lend of a pair off another boy. Ended up playing well but until now I still don’t think Gearoid knows about that. Priorities!

Toughest opponent: Kevin Feeley from Kildare

Fastest team-mate: At Coleraine, it was say Jamie Glackin and with St John's Paddy McBride

Favourite player: Easy - Stephen McAlorum

Guilty pleasure: I try and eat at least two pizzas a week

Best pitch you played on: I love Corrigan Park

Ideal day off: Go to 'Hatch' on the Falls Road for lunch and watch sport or hack my way round a golf course

Any match-day superstitions: None but music at football stays the same. Few Fleetwood Mac and Elton John specials

Most annoying team-mate: Aaron Traynor - I deserved a carer's allowance for travelling to Coleraine with him three times a week