Padraig O'Neill, an electrician, has been involved in football from an early age and represented Kildare all the way up, at Under 14, Under 16, Minor and Under 21 as well as at senior level.
What was it like growing up in Kildare?
It was good, I used to follow the Kildare football team all around the country with my mother and father going to league and championship matches, that had a big influence on me as I was around football from an early age.
What famous Kildare players inspired you?
I suppose it would have been the likes of Glenn Ryan and Martin Lynch would have been the players I looked up to.
What was it like balancing training for the county with work and life?
When you are playing with Kildare, you have to work your life around it. For work, some days I might have to come in a bit earlier to get off a bit earlier for training. I was lucky that I was able to get off early.
I was lucky that Edel (Padraig’s wife) is into the football as well, because there were a lot of weekends where I was away, but you do enjoy it. It was easier for me as well that I was working in Kildare and I didn’t have to keep travelling to Dublin and back.
What are your proudest achievements for club and county?
For club it was winning the championship in 2009 (with St. Laurences), you’d have to nearly look back at the video to remember it, it was so long ago, but that was my proudest club achievement.
For county, probably the All-Ireland Semi-Final in 2010 against Down. I know we lost but it was probably the biggest game of my career. Another would probably be when I made my debut in 2005 against Wicklow in Croke Park.
What do you miss about County Football?
This year the biggest thing I miss is Leinster Final day, with the crowd of sixty-five, seventy thousand. It’s a strange feeling being on the other side of the fence as a fan watching Kildare.
You are hoping and praying that they’ll win, but you have no control over it, it will probably take a bit of time and next year will probably be easier, but it’s a different feeling as a fan. You don’t miss the training, especially in the winter months with the muck and the slog, but you miss the big days in Croke Park.
What is your best Croke Park memory?
Beating Meath in 2010 in the Quarter-Final was a good memory. Probably winning the league, Division Two, in 2012 after beating Tyrone was another good memory at Croke Park.
Who was the best player or players you ever played against?
From a Kildare point of view, it was probably Johnny Doyle and Dermot Earley they were great players. Outside of that, Michael Murphy from Donegal was a good player as well.
Will you ever consider going into Management?
I probably will down the line. I am actually over the Under 15s down in Laurence’s. We got beaten over the weekend but I’m enjoying it, they are a good group of lads. But, yeah down the line I could see myself doing a bit and I’d say it would be enjoyable.
Do you have any hobbies outside of football?
I like going to the gym, even when I’m not playing football and keeping up my general fitness. I also do a bit of farming, I don't know if that's a hobby or not, but it keeps me busy.