Exam diary: ‘Sport is on hold. Life is on hold. But not for long’

For Evan Murphy it has been tough hanging up his football boots to focus on exams

Evan Murphy of Coláiste Einde in Galway. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Evan Murphy of Coláiste Einde in Galway. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy


Soccer is on hold. GAA is on hold. Sport is on hold. Life is on hold. But not for long.

All through fifth year, it was the other way around: I trained every day and played matches at the weekend, for both Galway minors (GAA) and Galway United (soccer). About a week before the exams started, I stopped playing to focus on study.

Sport and study have sometimes conflicted. You can go home after training and plan to study, but you’re tired and it doesn’t happen.

On the other hand, the very act of playing sport can be good for your physical and mental health. Sometimes it helps you to study.

For the past few weeks I’ve been packing up my bags and heading to study at the reading room at NUI Galway.

As well as being a better study environment where I won’t lie down for a 20-minute nap and wake up two hours later, the campus is only about five minutes from my house and it feels familiar to me.

I’m hoping that, from next September, I’ll be a student there, doing a degree in global commerce.

I have to get through the exams first, of course. I risked it all on Eavan Boland coming up on the English exam and didn’t even study any other poets. And there she was, heroically saving me from myself.

What would I have done if she hadn’t appeared? Switched to honours Spanish and crossed my fingers.

Doing the maths

Paper 1 of higher-level maths was okay. The short questions were not the worst and I attempted them all, although the long questions were tricky, especially the financial maths. Even some of the maths whizzes in the class thought that was hard.

I have Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning off because I have an exemption from Irish on account of being born in the US. Yes, my classmates are jealous. I have an American passport as well as an Irish one and I was training in Florida last January. I’d like to move there at some point in the future.

That’s a while away. First, I have a match five days after my exams end. It’s a championship and it has to be a win.

Ultimately I would like to play professionally; Ireland international Daryl Horgan is a past pupil of this school, so who knows?

Right now I know I will have a summer of constant training.

Beyond that, we’ll see.