Mick Konstantin hopes to hit a high note with Celbridge
By John Harrington
Playing in a Kildare County Senior Football for the first time this Sunday with Celbridge is unlikely to unnerve Mick Konstantin all that much.
After the roller-coaster month of August he experienced, there’s probably very little that could faze the 24-year-old schoolteacher at this stage.
Back then, he suddenly found himself thrust front and centre for arguably the most publicised event in sporting history – Conor McGregor’s professional boxing bout against Floyd Mayweather.
It was Konstantin who supplied the soundtrack to the frenzied fight build-up with his catchy song, ‘There’s Only One Conor McGregor’, which went viral almost immediately and earned him an all-expenses paid invite to the fight from McGregor himself.
Even now, a couple of months later, Konstantin talks about the whole experience with the giddiness of someone who still can’t quite believe it all really happened.
“When I wrote it, I was taking the piss saying to my friends, 'ah yeah, you'll see me being flown over for the fight, no bother at all'”, recalls Konstantin with a chuckle.
“Sure, I never actually thought it was going to happen and then I threw up the song (on Facebook).
“I thought it would do well because the lads said it was a good song but over the course of two or three days it went absolutely mental.
“I literally put it up on the Wednesday, went football training, came back from training and it nearly a million hits already and some of his (McGregor’s) team were playing it over in Vegas while they were driving through the city.
“Two evenings after that I got the e-mail telling me that they were going to fly me over.”
Konstantin had already made a name for himself as a performer when he penned and performed the song 'Taking Over France' for the Euro 2016 Finals, but his McGregor ditty brought his profile to a whole new level.
'There's Only One Conor McGregor' soared in the download charts, and his decision to donate all iTunes sales of it in the run-up to the fight to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin only added to the feel-good factor.
For the next couple of weeks every media outlet in the country and many more beyond these shores wanted a piece of piece of Konstantin, and when he travelled to Vegas for the fight things only got more surreal.
“I had a good two weeks to look forward to it and in those two weeks every day I was doing different interviews and going on different radio stations and TV and all of this stuff, it was fairly mental two weeks,” says Konstantin.
“There were people getting on to me from South Africa and Australia for radio station interviews. It was just ridiculous how world-wide it went.
“I did a good few things then when I got over to America with the likes of Sports Illustrated, Fox, and all of them.
“It took a while for it all to sink in. Me and my friend, just the two of us, we went over and when we got to the airport there was a lad in a Merc waiting for us to take us straight to the hotel. We didn't even know where we were staying.
“On to the hotel (The 5 Star Wynn Casino & Resort) and it was ridiculous.
“All of Conor’s friends and family were staying there. This fantastic room and everything there was given to us for free. We were just living like kings for the weekend.
“It was good timing in fairness because we had just played our second-round Championship game with Celbridge and it was the weekend after that and there was a good four week break between that and our next game.
“I missed the odd bit of training but not too much. Thank God it didn't fall the weekend of a game because I don't know how I would have explained that, ‘ah, actually, I can't go!’
The trip to Vegas certainly didn’t seem to have a negative impact on Konstantin’s football because the former Kildare U-21 star has been rock-solid in the Celbridge defence throughout a campaign that has brought them to Sunday’s County Final against Moorefield.
Konstantin likes a laugh, but he’s deadly serious about his football, and he believes it’s time he and his team-mates delivered on their potential by winning what would be the club’s only second ever county senior title.
“We won an U-21 and even all the way through underage we were always competitive,” he says.
“My first year senior we got to a semi-final and after that you were thinking, 'ah yeah, we'll get to a final in the next year or two and win it, no bother'.
“But as you go on you realise that they're tough things to win! I wouldn't consider myself old or anything but I'm getting on a small bit, I'm in my mid-twenties now, and the fact that this is the first year we've gotten to a final shows just how tough it is to win one.
“Celbridge is a decent-size club and we should be getting a bit more success that we have over the last number of years, especially considering how well we've done underage.
“It is time that we pushed on and achieved what we should be achieving.”
Konstantin is so focused on the task at hand that he’s put his budding music career on the back-burner for as long as Celbridge are still playing football this year.
“I have a (music) manager now, but I'm putting the football first for as long as we can keep it going, please God,” he says.
“He's fairly understanding about the football, he knows at this time of the year it's fairly hectic and it's going to come first.
“When the football comes to an end I'll go flat out into the music again because I'm after getting more of a fan-base after all of this. There's every crowd asking me for songs now!”
He’ll surely produce the ukulele on Sunday night if Celbridge are crowned county champions, though he swears he’s nothing already penned for such a possibility.
“A few lads are asking me have I written a song about winning the championship, but sure you can't be doing that when we've won nothing yet!" he says.
“It would be more of a private one that a public one if I ever did get the chance. You'd have to be getting all the characters in the club into it and few private jokes too, something like that.
“The main thing is to win the thing first and then we'll worry about that if it gets to it.”