Colm Kinsella talks to Cathal Garvey, the former UL Bohs player, who is now part of Michael Cheika’s backroom team with Australia.
LIMERICKMAN Cathal Garvey found himself in an unusual position at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday night as Ireland locked horns with Australia in their autumn international clash.
Former UL-Bohemian player Garvey, from Corbally, works as the rugby analyst with the Wallabies.
“Saturday was a little bit strange – an away match against Ireland in Dublin,” he said. “My whole family were in the crowd - wearing some green and some gold I must add - so it was great to see them before kick-off.
“It was an exciting Test match and one that could have gone either way, but Ireland shut our boys down in the second half and deserved the win.
“We are in London now for an important Test against England to finish the season at Twickenham on Saturday.”
Growing up in the Hermitage, in the shadow of St Munchin’s College where he won a Munster Schools Junior Cup medal in 1998, Garvey was smitten by the rugby bug from an early age.
His love of the game was nurtured by the fact that former Munster centre Barry Murphy was his neighbour, and remains his best friend.
Barry’s father Mick took Cathal along to Annacotty to play for UL-Bohs from the age of eight.
A talented utility back, Garvey played with the Munster U-20s for two years and lined out for an exciting UL-Bohemian side at senior level for five seasons from 2002.
The holder of a degree in Computer Engineering from UL worked in Limerick for a time before moving to Dublin in 2007.
While playing with Wanderers in 2008, Cathal suffered a serious injury which forced him to give up playing rugby.
Three years later, in 2011, he moved to Australia having spent time travelling in South America.
Soon after arriving in Australia he got a job working as a business analyst with the ARU (Australian Rugby Union).
“Initially, I was a business analyst, working in various business departments. I got great exposure on how sports business operates,” he explained.
“I had been working in the office beside the former Wallaby coaches, Ewen McKenzie and the high performance unit and built up a rapport through discussions on the game.
“Just after the June series, Ewen gave me a call and asked me if I would be interested in the position of analyst for the team.
“I started it in early July. I had a month and a half to prep for the first Bledisloe Cup game (v New Zealand) in mid-August.
“You really see the game in a new light when you get into the fine detail of it. There is so much analysed. There are a lot of different aspects to my role - anything from recording, cutting and studying training to test match previews and reviews, both team and individual focused.
“You are setting up a mobile office every week on tour. There is also opposition analysis which I have been doing a lot of on this tour. It is full-on, but it is a fantastic experience.
“Michael Cheika has been great to work with. You learn a lot from each coach you work under, and Michael’s passion and enthusiasm has been infectious.
“The week in Dublin has been a pleasure. I haven’t been back for 18 months. We have gone through Wales, France and England. It has been brilliant.”