Meet Tiernan from Clifden.
Tiernan's whole life seemed to be geared to one as a professional sports person. The son of an GAA All-Ireland Senior Football winner, Tiernan spent his childhood with a sports ball in his hand. When he picked a Rugby ball at the age of 8 he knew it was not going to be a phase. By the age of 12 he was happy to leave home and become a boarder, Monday to Friday, at the famous Garbally school in Ballinasloe. From the minute he woke, until the bell rang for class or curfew for bed was announced, he was playing soccer, Gaelic or rugby. He played Rugby for the school team and had started working his way up the county level ranks with Galway Gaelic. Just before he sat his Junior Certificate news came that the boarding side of the school was to close. Tiernan decided to complete his senior cycle at Cistercian College in Roscrea. His career in rugby began.
Before Tiernan had sat his Leaving Certificate he was signed up to the Connacht Rugby Academy. However, due to a successful end of season with school team and the Ireland Under 20's team, he was put straight into the senior squad when he joined. As a self described "skinny 18 year old" straight from life as a boarder, the adjustment was a challenge. Socially, trying to manage his new found freedom and balance the urge to go out with his friends who had just started university was not easy. Physically, he didn't have adequate strength and conditioning to play against the tough senior teams. But as he made his debut against Olympus Madrid he knew he was doing the right thing. He scored a try on his debut.
With the Connacht team Tiernan has gone from strength to strength, and last season (2015/2016) he helped his team to secure the title of PRO12 champions. In the same year he received his first full International Cap against South Africa. Training with the Irish squad brings a fresh enthusiasm and motivation and Tiernan was delighted to be part of this year's Six Nations Irish squad. Tiernan loves sport and with the short career life associated with playing professional sport he is already taking steps to ensure his future will remain in sport. Next September he will commence a degree in Sports Science at GMIT. We are sure that he will approach this next challenge with the same level of diligence as he brings to Rugby. For now though we look forward to watching Tiernan in either of the two beloved green jerseys.