Sinead Farrelly (Campus.ie)
On the 15th April 2010, then 17 year old George Dockrell made his One Day International (ODI) cricketing debut for Ireland against the West Indies, a month later he was back in Dublin sitting his Leaving Certificate.
Being a professional athlete is something that many students wish they were doing instead of studying, however, cricketer Dockrell is managing to do both. The 21 year old is currently after deferring his second year of general science in Trinity after finishing first year over two years as a part time student.
George currently plays county cricket in England for Somerset and therefore lives in Taunton for much of the year when he is not playing with Ireland. When speaking about first year he said that his exams were one of the biggest obstacles he faced when trying to combine both cricket and studying.
“In first year there were a lot of assessments but unfortunately I couldn’t do the exams because of cricket, but when I came back from the tour I was able to do them in February.” He said. “I think that there is a possibility for me to be able to sit my exams over there , but I was in Ireland at the time so it was fine and I was able to sit them in Trinity in the end. They were very, very helpful; they moved all of my exams to February for me which was great because we had a long period off cricket.”
While completing his first year George played with the Irish squad which included tours to Kenya, the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka. He admits that it was difficult to try and study in the evenings after cricket while on tour with the rest of the Irish team.
“We went on a tour to Kenya and I had to bring my notes and my science books with me and I had to go through things there. Sometimes it’s very hard when you are on tour with the guys because none of them study and when you have finished a hard day’s training and the other guys are just chilling out, taking it easy it can very tricky to get down to some work. Therefore whenever I was back in Dublin and had some free time I tried to get as much work done as I could because I knew it was so tough when I was away.” George says that his long term goal is to finish his degree, however he does not know yet when that will be;
“My long term goal is definitely to get my degree, if I can get it while playing cricket, if I can finish my career and have a science degree to fall back on that would be great. I’m just going to take it year by year and see what the fixtures are like for us.”
“The year that I did complete we had five month gaps off, whereas this year we had a very hectic winter with trips back to back and very little time off. I think I’ll just be playing it by ear and next year I’ll see what the fixtures are like and see if I can get any work done.”
Completing his first year at Trinity was not George’s first time having to juggle studying and cricket. When he debuted in April 2010, he was less than two months away from sitting his Leaving Certificate exams. Ireland hosted an RSA one day international match against Australia that June in Clontarf cricket ground, however, George had to miss that game as it clashed with one of his exams. When speaking about the exams, George said that the hardest part was trying to get back into the routine of studying after being away in the Caribbean.
“Yeah it was tough to be honest because I was away in The West Indies for a month and then I had a month when we got back from the world cup to prepare for the Leaving Cert, which I didn’t do very well! It’s very tough to try and get back into things once you’ve had a while off and I found it very hard to go from playing cricket and studying into just studying.”
“But I managed to get a good month under my belt and it turned out okay for me. With cricket obviously there is a lot of playing during the day but then in the evening you’ll be able to do some work on top of that if you’re driven and motivated enough.”
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