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  • Northside East

Bright future beckons for squash stars

Sunday, 7th January, 2018 10:00am
Bright future beckons for squash stars

Sam Buckley (left) and Conor Moran are excelling in the sport of squash. PHOTO: ORLA O’DRISCOLL

Bright future beckons for squash stars

Sam Buckley (left) and Conor Moran are excelling in the sport of squash. PHOTO: ORLA O’DRISCOLL

Orla O’Driscoll

A POSITIVE ranking is a must for those who wish to pursue their sport in a professional capacity. 

For two Northside boys, taking number one and two in the latest world rankings for squash, shows they are on top of their game.   

Conor Moran and Sam Buckley – both 16 and from Sutton, are best friends who play competitive squash. 

Their sport is a fast-paced game, with a very clean image and a healthy profile. 

Forbes magazine called it ‘#1 sport for getting and staying fit with players burning about 750 calories per hour’.

Eoin Ryan, who trains the two boys at the Sutton Lawn Tennis Club, says: “A lot of younger people are coming to it now, but the Squash association needs to push the sport. 

“We go out to the schools and show the kids what it is, then we offer a free six-week trial to see if kids like it. If they don’t they just move on. However, the success rate is about 7/10 for those who try it and end up staying.”

Over 20 million squash players participate regularly worldwide in over 185 countries, and for Conor and Sam, it has been a road paved with determination and immense hard work. 

They attended their first overseas tournament in the UK aged only 10. However, this proved good grounding, as they have ranked one and two in Ireland from Under 11, 13, 15, and now number one and two in the world under 17.

The boys will complete their Leaving Cert in 2019, and they may be able to avail of a Squash scholarship to the USA.  

Ryan points out: “Their Squash rankings are the highest you can get, based on that they would be offered a place, but the academia has to be great grades too.”

More than 200 colleges and universities across America have courts, including the top 25 colleges.

Their parents foot the bill for travel expenditure and other requirements, but the boys know a sponsor would take a little pressure off to attend more tournaments.  

“I have total focus, for most of the year, but we take a bit of a break, maybe a month over the summer,” Conor says.

Their determination to succeed is evident, while their friendship remains vitally important. 

Sam says: “There is a lot of gym work and nutrition is very important, if you fuel your body you can get more out of it. It’s intense, when we play its competitive on court, but whoever wins, it’s taken as it is.” 

The Olympics has yet to recognise squash for its panel of sports. However, there is hope that this will happen for the 2024 Olympics. Squash players peak in their mid-20s. However, the typical age of retirement is mid-30s. This leaves the two boys plenty of room to get into the Olympics if it receives an inclusion status.

“Yeah – that would absolutely be the dream, but you have to wait and see,” they add.

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