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Cork Con lock Mintern determined to test himself in professional rugby

The former Ireland U20 will complete his studies at CIT next year and then see how far rugby can take him.

Mintern celebrates after last season's AIL final victory.
Mintern celebrates after last season's AIL final victory.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

CORK CON LOCK Evan Mintern has three overriding objectives for the coming season: win every trophy available, secure a degree and earn a crack at professional rugby.

The powerful 23-year-old second row progressed as far as Munster’s A team last year. But was unable to force a breakthrough into Johann van Graan’s side.  

A product of the Temple Hill club and CBC, he is currently studying nutrition and health science in Cork IT. His eyes light up at the mention of playing rugby at any level, however, and once he completes his third level education next year he is intent on testing his limits and find out how far he can go in the game.

“At the moment, I’m just focusing on Con,” says Mintern after carrying the trophy on the champions’ behalf as the new Energia AIL season was launched in Dublin yesterday.

“Playing as well as I can, doing as much as I can for the club. In the back of mind, I’m thinking ‘I would like to just over and see what it’s like’.

“Take a chance, go over for a few years. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. If it does, it does.”

Nothing ventured, nothing gained after all.

“If I got old and I didn’t even try it, it’s something that would really annoy me.

“Whereas if you try and fail, what’s the big deal? At least you tried.

“But I feel there is more in me and I could move on and give it a crack. Because there’s nothing to lose really. As long as I’ve a college degree to fall back on, you may as well.”

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The former U20 international is far from done with domestic competition, of course. His personal ambitions will come into view after the team goals. The reigning All-Ireland League champions go into a new season with Jonny Holland installed as backs coach and will hope to go one better than their treble trophy haul last term.

“We have the Charity Cup, Munster Senior Cup and the League,” Mintern says after a journalist tries to account for their haul of silverware, “but we don’t have the Bateman Cup… no matter the amount of silverware we have, we still want to get more.

“That’s the good thing about the club, everyone is hungry. Everyone wants to do better. Winning the League is perfect, it’s great craic, but there’s still that thing of, ‘we won the league… but we lost a game against Garryowen that didn’t put us in contention for the Bateman Cup.

“It niggles at you, thinking ‘are we really?’ You really want to nail the point home that you are the best.”

He adds: “I love playing with Con. It’s not that I want to get out of there or anything, but I’m 23. Obviously that’s not old, but for pro clubs looking at you, they want to get bang for their buck. You have to young, so they can get five, six years out of you.”

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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