In horse racing terms my page had little to suggest I would pursue a career in the racing industry. My family have no involvement in racing so I guess one could attribute my love for the game to being from Listowel. Racing is strong in the town and the weeklong harvest festival held every year was the highlight of the summer growing up - we waited all year for those trips to the island and would stand outside the weigh room asking jockeys for their goggles. In hindsight I'm not quite sure why we did that as neither I nor my friends had horses but it made perfect sense at the time and I still have a pair in the drawer at home that some sound jockey gave me years ago.
I began fostering my interest in Sports Journalism whilst in transition year at St Michaels College and quickly gravitated towards the subject of racing. I began interviewing jockeys and trainers as well as visiting racing yards in an attempt to broaden my knowledge. The willingness of those I approached to give freely of their time certainly had a positive and lasting effect. I'm quite sure had the responses been of a more negative variety I who have focused my attention on a career elsewhere.
Having completed my Leaving Cert, four years of studing Journalism and New Media and the University of Limerick ensured. A six month stint with the Kerryman newspaper in Tralee during that time gave me great insight into the journalism game but my heart was set on racing.
I had applied for a place on the HRI student internship programme on 2015 without success so it was nice to get the nod this time around.
I am now working as part of the HRI Communications team at Ballymany and my responsibilities include sending weekly news round ups to regional publications -.never before have I been so attuned to what yards and riders are in good form.
The Galway Festival brought with it some welcome variety and I was tasked with interviewing jockeys in the lead up to the weeklong bonanza.I interviewed six in total and learned much with regard to how best to ride the notorious unjulations of the Ballybrit track, among other things. To see the pieces published in the days before the festival was a nice buzz, of course and certainly gave me plenty of jockeys to follow during the week.
Aside from my responsibilities with the communications department I also work with members of the marketing department on a number of promotional campaigns. Such campaigns included a recent Bulmers Live event at Leopardstown for which a colleague and I generated competition ideas and a promotional video.
A day on social media duty at the Galway Racing Festival was also a welcome experience and quickly taught me there is far more to social media than I had previously thought.
In addition to our daily duties, we as interns have been afforded opportunities to learn more about the industry at large through visits to the the likes of Goffs and the aforementioned Galway Festival. Another highlight included a trip to Jim Bolger Racing for a morning ahead of Hurling for Cancer which takes place in Newbridge on August 14.
As I near the conclusion of my internship I suppose I am a bit like a young jockey at the start of an apprenticeship - I have learned loads but have plenty more to learn. My time here has not deterred me from pursuing a career in racing and hopefully it is just the start of a career in the industry