Aisake Ó hAilpín reveals the moment he was done with playing hurling for Cork

The former AFL player linked up with the hurlers after returning to Ireland in 2009

Aisake Ó hAilpín reveals the moment he was done with playing hurling for Cork

©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Aisake Ó hAilpín has revealed how his brother getting cut from the Cork hurling panel prompted him to walk away from inter-county hurling.

In a wide-ranging interview with Vincent Hogan of the Irish Independent, Ó hAilpín discusses his return to Ireland after his AFL dream with Carlton ended in 2008, his thoughts on Cork's rivalry with Tipperary, and how his time with the Cork hurlers came to an end after just two years with the panel.

He had originally come home to link up with the Cork football team in 2009, but after being invited in for a trial with the hurlers, Ó hAilpín was keen to avail of the opportunity of playing alongside his older brother Seán Óg.

It took him a while to feel like he had earned his place in the dressing-room, and the energy he expended in trying to match the pace of his teammates, resulted in him suffering occasional migraines. 

He felt more comfortable going into the 2010 season and played a vital role in a crucial Munster championship win over Tipperary en route to the final where they were defeated by Waterford.

Cork were eventually dumped out of the All-Ireland championship by Kilkenny at the semi-final stage. Ó hAilpín was taken off at half-time that day as his side trailed by 13 points.

Speaking to Hogan, Ó hAilpín recalls how he was informed of the decision and its impact on him:

"I went in at half-time and it wasn't even the coach (Denis Walsh) who told me I was coming off. It was one of the selectors. That tells me I don't really know who was calling the shots that day. It was as if the coach was half-afraid to tell me I was being taken off.

"I'll never forget the bus back and the younger lads laughing and joking. And I'm sitting there, thinking, 'F***ing hell, we just got embarrassed out there...' It nearly drove me crazy looking at them. I didn't say anything but in my head was, 'f**k this, I'm never going to let this happen again. Getting taken off. Losing by that much. No, never again."

After that season ended, Ó hAilpín was torn over whether to return to college in Cork, or accept a job offer in Australia. When he heard the news that his brother had been cut from the panel, he decided to take the job in Australia and close the book on his inter-county hurling career.

"And as soon as I heard Seán Óg had been told he was out of Cork's plans, that was it. I couldn't believe it. It just did not make sense to me. I felt he was very hard done by. And I just decided, 'You know what? I'm not going to give my life to these people when they're basically just after shafting my brother!"

The full interview is only available in the Irish Independent newspaper.