If you hadn’t already heard, Dublin University Football Club’s own Billy O’Hora has been selected to represent the IRFU as an ambassador for the British & Irish Lions on their tour to New Zealand starting this week.
After completing a rigorous selection process that involved a weekend trip to London for interviews with Lions executives, Billy was chosen from a multitude of strong candidates as the IRFU’s representative ambassador.
Despite his busy schedule he made the time to sit down with DUFC’s Ronan Nelson for a quick interview to give some details on his upcoming trip.
Ronan Nelson (RN): Congratulations on being chosen as Irish Rugby’s representative for the British and Irish Lions Young Ambassadors. It’s great seeing one of our own with such a massive opportunity to make a difference.
Billy O’Hora (BH): Thanks Ronan, I’m really looking forward to the tour now it should be a great learning experience and hopefully I learn a few things I van bring back to Trinity Rugby.
RN: Can you describe for us the process that you went through to earn this ambassadorship?
BH: I had to submit a 2 minute entry video to YouTube outlining why it was important for people our age to be involved in rugby and what being a part of the Lions tour means to me. From there a shortlist was made of 5 applicants from each representative nation and we were interviewed by a selection committee in London that included John Spencer, the Lion’s Tour Manager himself.
— Billy O'Hora (@billyohora) May 4, 2017
RN: What was the selection meeting like in London? Were you nervous, anticipated, excited?
BH: Obviously I was a bit nervous but mainly excited, All the other applicants were friendly and before long I had completely forgot I was at an Interview. It was good fun.
RN: When you learned that you were chosen as the Irish ambassador representative how did you react? How did your family and friends react to the news?
BH: I was delighted, I was buzzing for days. My parents were over the moon. They are massive rugby fans and my biggest supporters and they really encouraged and helped me throughout the process. My friends were great too, a lot of them congratulated me but even more made jokes slagging me off. What do you expect, that’s what friends are for.
RN: What are your duties on this British and Irish Lions tour and will you be able to attend any of the matches?
BH: We are in NZ for over 2 weeks and every day we have something planned. We will be visiting schools and clubs, working at fan engagement activities, visiting the New Zealand Rugby headquarters and much more. After all that we will be presenting our findings to the British and Irish Lions Board on our final day. I’m very excited because we are also going to the Maori game and the First Test so they should be highlights of our trip.
RN: What are your goals for the tour and what do you want to get out of it the most?
BH: I Suppose just to learn as much as possible and really make the most of the opportunity, So I can take my learnings home and help grow the game in Ireland.
— British&Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) May 29, 2017
RN: What do you look forward to most on your time with the team?
BH: It’s hard to pin point one thing in particular because I’ve grown up hearing so much about Lions tours and everything about it sounds amazing. It would be great to meet some of the wingers and get some pointers to improve my own game.
RN: Who is the player you want to meet the most on the current Lions squad outside of the Irish representatives?
BH: George North, He is a hero, It would be unreal to meet him.
RN: Do you mind keeping some sort of correspondence on our Trinity Rugby social media outlets?
BH: I would love to, sounds good!
RN: If you can, quickly describe what this opportunity means to you.
BH: I Just feel privileged to be selected; the standard of entry was very high so I’m delighted to represent Ireland and The Lions in New Zealand.