As Paul Boyle looks set to make his Connacht senior debut he
finally sees his Leinster dropping as “a blessing in disguise.”
Boyle, who captained both Leinster and Ireland from youths
to u20s level was let go by the club after his underage contract had run out.
This came as a surprise to most of the followers of underage rugby in Ireland
after the back rower picked up a spot in the u20’s world cup team of the
Boyle himself however, admitted that he wasn’t all too
“When I was asked to captain the 20s and after I had a good
world cup I thought there was a chance that he would be drafted into the
Leinster academy but realistically I always knew I wouldn’t make it.
Leinster’s backrow is ridiculous, and they had already brought Deego Max
Deegan in the year before.”
Though Boyle expected his exclusion from the Leinster set
up, his speculation didn’t soften the blow of losing out on a place. “I don’t
cry. I never have in my memory but that day, when I found out, I was very
close”, he said.
In contrast to an earlier encounter with Boyle, his tone
when speaking about not making it in the Leinster academy was this time much
more content. The reason for this was made obvious when Boyle continued.
“Look, I got a call last week to join the Connacht senior
squad, and only for a stupid toe injury I would have been in the matchday
squad. I can guarantee you that I wouldn’t have gotten that call off Leinster
for at least two or three years if I was still with them”, he said.
Being selected for the Connacht seniors matchday squad is an
accolade that would benefit Boyle, not only in his pursuance of a professional
career but also on a financial scale. The wage for an academy player is
relatively low at “four figures” but making appearances for the senior team
drastically changes this.
“We don’t make a whole lot of money in the academy and l
really need to change my car at the moment, so it would be nice to get a few
caps for that too. I can’t tell you exactly what the match fee is in Connacht
but considering I’m on four figures, it is considerable.”
Just as the Gorey man’s career looks set to take off, he
recalled fondly days when his current situation looked extremely unlikely.
“I remember we were outside ‘Fatcats’, (Boyle’s
local chipper) I was in terrible shape at the time. I was tucking into my two ‘buy
one get one free’ meals. We had this before every rugby training for about two
years”, he began.
that though, he continued with a smile, “my friend asked me what I wanted to do
when I was finished school. I told him I wanted to be a professional rugby
player. I remember him laughing at me before realizing I wasn’t messing. I
remember him saying something like “be realistic, that won’t happen”, or something
This for Boyle
was the moment he realised that he needed to do more work to acieve his goal. “I
was annoyed at that comment and it made me want it more. I stayed after
training that night for something stupid like two hours running laps. I had
grit in my teeth. And even though it put unneciasary strain on my body, it did
give me good habits.”
The hard work
paid off for Boole however. “I would probably do up to four fitness or speed
sets a week as well as a load of gym work and I genuinely think that that is
why I am where I am today”, he said.
Boyle could laugh at his young “fat” self, so too could he recall his school’s
rugby playing days joyfully.
all about friends and family for me. I went to Blackrock in first year and I
wasn’t getting on great with the rugby because I just didn’t enjoy it as much
there but when I came home and started playing with all of my friends with my
family all involved too, that’s when I really fell in love with the sport”, he
“All of my
best memories are of playing rugby as a young lad and all of my best friends
are the ones I played with.”
years old, he is on track to reaching the pinicle of his dream, to play for
Ireland. Having already captained Leinster u20s side to an interprovisial championship
win and Irish u20s side to the world cup, Boyle started off his AIL campaign
with Buccaneers with a man-of-the-match performance.
successes thus far haven’t been without sacrifice however. When questioned
about his life, Boyle, for the first time in the conversation spoke about rugby
with an air of dissatisfaction in his voice.
“Yeah I miss
out on an awful lot. I can’t go on holidays with my friends and didn’t get to go
to my debs”, he explained. “Every weekend I see photos of everyone heading out
and I do get jealous, but I remind myself that it’ll be well worth it in the
end if all goes well, and rugby has made me experience a lot of new thing and
plenty of new places.”
It is clear
from talking to Boyle however that, though humble in his responses, he is proud
of his achievements and the end justifies the means for him. The Bucks man has
big dreams and achieving these dreams will be the maximum reward for his hard
really want to play rugby professionally. There was a time there that I really
didn’t know if I’d get a contract. I had an agent on the job and he was looking
all over England and France and eventually he was in talks with Pau. That fell
through but luckily Connacht wanted me after the world cup.”
few weeks where I was out of contract I was in a bad state but if all goes well
everything I’ve done and everything I haven’t been able to do because of rugby
will be well worth it.”
conversation drew to a close Boyle’s character, which won him a ‘Citizens of
Wexford’ award, was evident. Though successful and impressive in his field, he
has remained humble and courteous. The extent of his drive was also evident and
from listening to him I understand where his titanic performances on the pitch
over the last two years have come from.
unlucky to lose out on the 2023 world cup but with Boyles form and his
motivation I would be surprised if he missed out too. It is clear that the
future is incredibly bright for him. He knows his fate.
“I want to
be there Rugby World Cup in 2023 and I know that given my age I’m good
enough. I won’t stop until I’m on that plane so count me in.”