Rio Paralympics: 7-a-side Football, Cormac Birt (Team Ireland) and David Leavy (Team GB)
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Rio Paralympics: 7-a-side Football, Cormac Birt (Team Ireland) and David Leavy (Team GB)

January 24, 2020

It’s just very exciting at the minute now,
going to Rio for the Paralympic Games. It’s as good as it gets, you’re not going
to experience anything like it ever again in your sporting career, so it’s just about
making the most of it and enjoying the experience. Yeah, just really excited to be able to compete
at the highest level of disability sport. We play together for the Northern Ireland
team, and then what happens is, obviously Northern Ireland don’t have Olympic or Paralympic
teams, so you’re either chosen for Great Britain or Ireland, and Leavy’s going to
Britain, I’m going to Ireland. We’re playing together in a competition
for Northern Ireland next week, so we’ll be playing together and then, after that we’ll
be separated and probably won’t meet each other until the field in Rio. It’s very competitive between the two of
us, so nothing will change there. Queen’s have been very helpful with bursary
support to help me financially getting through the selection process in the run-up to Rio. They also supported me with my studies – without
that I don’t know if I would have been able to achieve the 2:1 that I got, so I’m really
pleased with that. Aye, it’s been tough now to be honest, balancing
both. I got called into the Ireland squad sort of in April, and that’s when the selection
process is happening, and you’ve got exams in May, and you’re up and down the road,
and it’s kind of hard. But it’s just about balancing it. You’re young, and you’ve
not real commitments other than football and study, so it’s grand. When I’m over in Rio with all the other
sports and the media, there’ll be a lot of distractions, so the only thing is to try
and ensure we’re still focussed throughout, and don’t let it distract or affect our
performances. So that’s the only thing, but apart from
that, just really excited to get out playing there.

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