great to see

Munster hurling title now the priority for ex-Brighton player who took Connolly under his wing

Dessie Hutchinson played alongside the Ireland star at Brighton before making his return to GAA.

BALLYGUNNER STAR DESSIE Hutchinson says he’s not surprised to see Ireland underage sensation Aaron Connolly making the breakthrough at Brighton & Hove Albion.

brighton-and-hove-albion-v-tottenham-hotspur-premier-league-amex-stadium Aaron Connolly is in superb form at Brighton. Gareth Fuller Gareth Fuller

The pair were team-mates at the Premier League side prior to Hutchinson’s return to Waterford last year, with Connolly previously mentioning that Hutchinson helped him settle in at the club.

Their paths in sport have diverged somewhat in recent times.

The 19-year-old Connolly bagged two goals on his first Premier League start at the beginning of October, while Hutchinson hit 1-3 from play to help the Ballygunner hurlers pick up their sixth consecutive county title later in the month.

“Not really to be honest, he is an unbelievable player,” says Hutchinson when asked if he was shocked at how well the Ireland striker has progressed.

He just needed that chance to flourish. Thankfully he has done that, it has been a great couple of weeks for him. Hopefully he will stay level-headed, keep his hard work going. If he does that he will have no problems.

“He came a couple of years after me [at Brighton], but I took him in under my wing a small bit over there. Obviously he came from a GAA family himself so it was nice. We had another lad from Waterford, Jayson Molumby, his brother has played a lot of hurling. So there was a few of us.

“The first family I stayed with when I moved over, he moved in with them. We would always go for dinner. I helped him a bit when he came over, every young lad needs it. When I was going over I went with a lad from Bray, Dylan Barnett, he is playing with them now.

aib-gaa-club-championships-launch Dessie Hutchinson helped the Ballygunner hurlers complete a Waterford six-in-a-row this year. Sam Barnes / SPORTSFILE Sam Barnes / SPORTSFILE / SPORTSFILE

“So I was lucky I had him. For someone like Aaron, who was coming on his own, he needed to be looked after a bit. It is great, hopefully he is doing that with some of the young lads coming over now.”

Hutchinson, who was released by Brighton in 2018, added that he hopes the Galway youngster stays grounded as his stock continues to rise in football.

“I hope so because it is hard when you are over there. The Premier League is the biggest league in the world, all eyes are on you so you need to stay grounded.

“Hopefully he will do that because if not, bad press will come, the whole lot will come for him. So he just needs to stay grounded, keep learning, and he will be fine.”

In an interview with The42 earlier this year, Hutchinson said that during the time when he was focused on his football career, he wanted “to go back and play GAA again.”

He took his first steps towards that transition in May when he lined out for the Waterford footballers in their Munster SFC quarter-final against Clare.

Playing for the Waterford hurlers is also an ambition for him but Ballygunner is his priority for now.

Having secured another county crown, they will now prepare to defend their Munster SHC title when they face Clare champions Sixmilebridge in their provincial opener on Sunday, 3 November.

ballygunner-players-celebrate-after-the-game The successful Ballygunner team after their win over De La Salle in the Waterford SHC final. Ken Sutton / INPHO Ken Sutton / INPHO / INPHO

“We won it last year but there’s been no talk of retaining the title,” says Hutchinson.

“It’s just about Sixmilebridge. We know it’s going to be a tough battle going down there, especially in their own club ground, I think it is.

“You see the experience they have, they have All-Ireland winners. They have Davy Fitz as a selector. There’s huge experience down there.”

Hutchinson believes that his time in soccer is “pretty much done” and has no immediate plans to relaunch his career.

He seems to have found his fit in GAA since returning home to Waterford. It was always on his mind during his time in England and he found solace in pucking the sliotar around whenever he could. 

“I always had it [a hurl] with me,” Hutchinson recalls.

And any time I came home it was the first thing I’d go to. All the time over there we’d have a tap around now and again.”

Ballygunner hurler Dessie Hutchinson was at the launch of the AIB Camogie and Club Championships today. This is AIB’s 29th year sponsoring the AIB GAA Football, Hurling and their 7th year sponsoring the Camogie Club Championships.

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel