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Paul Hoban of NUIG poses for a portrait during the Electric Ireland Higher Education GAA Championships Launch and Draw at DCU, Dublin.
Paul Hoban of NUIG poses for a portrait during the Electric Ireland Higher Education GAA Championships Launch and Draw at DCU, Dublin.

Hoban hoping for Galway call-up


By John Harrington

Paul Hoban is hoping that if he impresses for NUIG in the Fitzgibbon Cup he will earn a chance to prove himself with the Galway senior hurlers again.

Hoban last played for the Tribesmen in 2016 before moving to England for work where he hurled with Warwickshire and won a Lory Meagher Cup in 2017.

He’s back home now and studying a Masters in NUIG and still feels like he has a lot to offer a Galway hurling team under new management in the shape of Shane O’Neill.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, I'd feel like I'm definitely good enough,” Hoban told GAA.ie “But, sure, you have to get the call. Once you're in you're in. I'll stay working hard in the background and I'll stay doing my gym-work and that, so that if the call comes I'll be ready.

“I want to put in a few good performances in the Fitz. We're playing against the best hurlers in the country so it'll be a good test.

“Hopefully the new management will be watching some of these Fitzgibbon games and I might get called in.”

But for an ill-timed injury, Hoban believes his first stint as a Galway hurler might have been a more fruitful one.

“Back in 2016, being honest with you, I was buzzing,” he says. “I probably felt I was playing the best I was every playing but then picked up a bad knock against Waterford in the last League game. Played the next game against Cork but got injured and went off and that was it, really.

“I might get back in there again yet, you never know. I played fairly well with Loughrea the last two years, but it's just about getting the break now.”

Paul Hoban in action for Galway against Kilkenny's Conor Fogarty in the 2016 Allianz Hurling League. 
Paul Hoban in action for Galway against Kilkenny's Conor Fogarty in the 2016 Allianz Hurling League. 

Hoban comes from a very sporting family in Loughrea – his brother Patrick Hoban is a prolific striker in the Airtricity League for Dundalk, scoring 42 goals in his last 70 games.

“He's flying it for them,” says Hoban. “He got a new contract with them last year. If he does well again next year I'd love to see him get maybe at least one cap for Ireland, I think he deserves it. Hopefully it comes.

“I've another brother Thomas as well. He's 29, Patrick is 28, and I'm 27. We were a bit bonkers growing up together! I think between the three of us we were always competitive and that made us be all interested in sport.

“Up the age of 15, 16 we would have been skelping each other! But as we got older we calmed down a bit and started looking after each other.

“We grew up in an estate in Loughrea town with around 20 other kids and there was a green that we'd always be playing sport on.

“We all pushed each other and we played everything. We played tennis, football, rugby, hurling. Anything that was going, we played it.”

NUIG have been drawn with defending champions UCC and Cork IT in a very competitive looking Group C of the Fitzgibbon Cup.

The Galway college reached last year’s semi-final and Hoban is hopeful their very unified team can have a big say in the destination of the cup this time around too.

“13 out of 15 starting last year were from Galway,” he says. “You won't get that in too many Colleges. We actually have even more lads from Galway this year.

“I know we've lost the likes of Conor Whelan, but we've picked up a few others. We'd be hopeful enough.

“Last year I felt we were very unlucky not to beat Mary I in the semi-final. We missed one or two chances at the end. Looking back at it, I felt we could have beat them.

“So we’d believe we’ll be there or thereabouts.”

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