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Joe O'Connor pictured at the Divil's Brew coffee stall in Wexford.
Joe O'Connor pictured at the Divil's Brew coffee stall in Wexford.

O'Connor relishing new coffee business project

By Cian O'Connell

"The whole way up I would have farmed, the two uncles would be farmers and I just don't really like sitting still," Wexford hurler Joe O'Connor laughs when asked about what why he opted to open up the Divil's Brew coffee business.

A post primary school teacher at Ballymakenny College in Drogheda, O'Connor decided the time was right to set up a business.

O’Connor availed of support from the GPA’s Player Development Programme and is delighted with how the project is working now.

"Back in March and April, I was doing contact tracing up in UCD, i just didn't really want to sit still when we weren't in school.

"We had thought about it last November and then when it came up again then it was the perfect opportunity for us.

"We put it on the back foot for ages, Covid happened then, so we were sort of not twiddling our thumbs, but teaching obviously took a back step. I was doing it with a friend of mine and a coffee van came up so it was perfect for it."

So how is the venture rolled out throughout the week? "The original plan was probably for events and day to day in different places," O'Connor replies.

"We ended up setting up in a really popular spot. We never thought we'd have to get a stage about opening it during the week or getting somebody else to open it, but it has completely taken off.

"Rory O'Connor, my cousin, is actually working in it during the week. So we do Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday too."

Cousins Jack and Rory O'Connor celebrating following Wexford's 2019 Leinster SHC Final win at Croke Park.
Cousins Jack and Rory O'Connor celebrating following Wexford's 2019 Leinster SHC Final win at Croke Park.

It has provided an interesting insight for O'Connor into how to operate a small company. "I would potentially look into getting something bigger then as well and more permanent, but I'd say that would be a good bit down the line but from running a business point of view, this is perfect," O'Connor admits.

"Very little overheads once it was all bought. Being with a business I'm actually getting the coffee off Ken and Eoin McGrath with Mean Bean from Waterford, even dealing with little things like that and having to order coffee from week to week or two weeks, it was the perfect place to start off and learn how to run a business."

With the vast majority of the Wexford panel now based within the county, O'Connor has noticed significant differences in recent weeks.

"The travelling is grand a lot of the time," O'Connor says. “At the moment it’s tough, traveling up and down by yourself, and coming back up the road at half 11, because I’m the only one up in Dublin with the club team and with Wexford. Matt O'Hanlon, Liam Og McGovern, they are all still working from home."

An intriguing Leinster Championship tussle with Galway is now only a month away. O'Connor is relishing being involved in the Wexford full back line, acknowledging it is somewhere he hopes to remain.

"Yeah, it probably is," O'Connor remarks. "As you said, the last few years I’d been moving around the place a good bit and was predominantly out the field, but I suppose I went back to full-back with the club two years ago, and then we won a county final and ended up playing Ballyhale in the Leinster semi-final.

"It didn’t go our way, but that was November and in December then we were back training. In January then, you are playing Walsh Cup so the years sort of linked into one which suited me, because I could follow on.

"I didn’t have a break and then I obviously went back into the full-back line and it was a pity this year from a personal point of view that the year had to finish up, because I was happy with how I was going and would have liked to continue that.

"So I suppose it is a completely new year now when we go back, so hopefully I’ll be able to pick up where I left off. "