Members Monday – Sean Poland

Sean Poland is a 27 years old footballer from Tullamore Co. Offaly who has represented Ireland in B2/B3 visually impaired football. Sean has completed a Bachelor of Science in Health and Leisure with Adapted Physical Activity from Munster Technological University.

2. How did you first get involved sport?

My sporting life started at a very young age playing hurling with my dad in the garden, I progressed to playing both football and hurling for my school and club growing up, and being involved in Offaly underage hurling development squads. I began playing soccer after I was diagnosed with Stargardts macular degeneration at 16 years of age.

3. What is it that you enjoy most about sports and physical activity?

I love to be competitive, to strive to give your best and make continuous improvement, and I believe sport gives me this opportunity. It requires the best from yourself in order to succeed. There’s no better feeling than giving a goal all your energy and leaving everything on the field, especially when your team gets a win from your efforts.

4. Were you previously or are you still involved with any other sports?

Yes, previously from playing soccer I played a lot of both hurling and football. Hurling was my first love and I still miss playing the game. I am a massive hurling fan and still go to most Offaly games despite the difficulties seeing the game, I love the atmosphere and culture of the GAA.

5. What challenges and/or obstacles did you face, if any, getting involved in sport and leisure? (i.e. lack of awareness, volunteers, resources, choice of sport)

The main obstacle I have faced in getting involved in sport and leisure has always been transportation, living in rural Ireland has its challenges as a visually impaired athlete. Lack of public transport limits what activities you can take part in.

Despite this I am very lucky to have such a supportive social circle, family and friends have always been amazing to get me to training and offering lifts to social events.

6. What would you consider to be your biggest sporting achievement to date big or small?

I can’t decide on just one as I am extremely proud of two achievements.

The first was representing my country playing VI football and the second was representing my county playing underage hurling.

7. What piece of advice would you give to someone in the vision impaired community who would like to get involved in sports?

My advice to anybody wishing to get involved is to make that first step and ask questions. Sporting organisations are only delighted to welcome in new members and to make sure you get the opportunities you desire. You will never regret getting involved in a sporting or leisure community.

8. What athlete do you admire most and why?

In soccer my favourite athlete is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a larger than life character who has a no nonsense, get the job done attitude, a massively entertaining player who never fails to inspire a hard work ethic within his team.

Jason Smyth is my favourite Irish paralympic athlete, his precision training, ability to stay in a peak flow state and his clinical like race finishes are massively inspiring and as a young man diagnosed with Stargardts it meant a lot to see somebody else just like me who was successful at achieving his goals.

9. Outside of sport what do you so in your leisure time?

I love being in the outdoors, I lived in Kerry for nearly 6 years and I really enjoyed my time Hiking, surfing, kayaking and general walks with such amazing scenery. I also love the gym and working out and I run in my spare time.

10. What does sport mean to you?

To me sport means, Freedom, Expression, Friendships and Purpose.

On small screens this website needs to be viewed in portrait screen orietation.