Rising Star Profile: Antoin Fox excelling in GAA Sporting arena with Loughmacrory & Tyrone…

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The inter-county football championship got underway for Tyrone GAA today as the O’Neill County competed in a historic first ever Ulster Under 17 Championship tie at Healy Park, Omagh.

Following the GAA’s decision to scrap the minor grade at Under 18 level from 2018 and replace it with an Under 17 competition, it means that both grades will run parallel to each other in 2017. While the Minors (U18s) take on Derry in the championship on 28th May at Celtic Park, the Under 17 squad began their challenge for provincial honours at Healy Park with a hard-fought win against a typically well organised Donegal side.

There are actually six players within the Under 17 camp, which recently won the Ulster Under 17 league title, beating Donegal in the final, who also won the recent Ulster Minor Football League (U18) title with Tyrone and are actually involved in both panels.

One of the those players is Loughmacrory’s Antoin Fox, who is indeed the youngest player in the entire two squads and is just overage for Under 16 football in 2017. In a period of just over twelve months he has won almost all before him on the national and international stage of GAA Handball with Irish and US National 15 & Under titles in 2016 and has now collected provincial minor league honours with the Tyrone U17 and U18 squads.

Having received the Teamtalkmag Special Achievement Award, jointly with his sister Mairead, the Ulster GAA Writers Handball Award for 2016, and the Fermanagh & Omagh Sports Forum Young Sportstar Award of 2016, the Lough teenager has been well and truly making his mark on the sporting front in recent times.

Tyrone Life caught up with Antoin Fox, as he continues his hectic sporting schedule as well as studying for his GCSE’s, for the latest in our young “Rising Star” Profiles and we will be extending this sequence of profile features in the exciting sporting summer months ahead.

Rising Star Profile:
Antoin Fox, Loughmacrory & Tyrone

GAA Handball and Football…

Achievements to date in…

  • GAA Handball – County, Ulster, All-Ireland, USA and World handball gold and silver medals
  • GAA Football – Dalton Cup, Tyrone GAA Club Under 14 Grade 2 championship and league, Ulster GAA Minor Football league with Tyrone 2017

Celebrating Ulster U17 League success with the Tyrone Under 17 team in April 2017

Memories…

Best memories with Loughmacrory underage football teams…

Playing in Healy Park before the Tyrone County Senior Championship Final, in the under 16 grade 1 Championship final.

Best memories in Handball from underage up to present day…

Getting regular coaching by the late ‘Ducksy Walsh’ who was the best in the history of handball.

(The below TV series on TG4 from 2011, ‘The GAA Handball Show”, includes a special in-depth feature with Michael Ducksy Walsh)

Best and worst Sporting memories overall…

Best – Getting to play at Croke Park after winning the Gaelic skills award.
Worst – losing in te replay of the Under 16 grade 1 club championship final against Dromore

You have reached the age of 75, are sitting in a ‘rocking chair’ and looking back at your life… What things would you be hoping to look back on positively that you have done in…

Sport: “win the O’Neill Cup with Loughmacrory”

Business/Career: “Successful”

Travel to: “all over the World”

Something extraordinary you have done: “Skydiving”

Something you did in your Community: “Give a hand in coaching the youth both handball and football”

You achieved this one big ambition? What is it? “Become a millionaire”

Antoin Fox has celebrated considerable success with Loughmacrory Club. Some of these include (from top left clockwise) – World Championship Medals in 2015 in Canada (with his sisters Dearbhail and Mairead), All Ireland Division 2 Feile title in 2014 plus All Ireland Division 1 Skills Feile Gold medal (with boys and girls team taking gold), Winning All Irelan Uner 15 singles championship title in 2015 (with his club colleagues Ronan Curran and Shane Grimes winning the doubles All Ireland in the same grade and Dara curran winning Ulster in U14 doubles and winning World Championship 11& Under Gold medal in doubles alongside Dara Curran at the Citywest in Dublin in 2012.

GAA Handball. Tell us about…

– best thing about the sport?

I have made friends all over Ireland, America and Canada playing handball

– best event you’ve been to?

USHA National Championships in Minnesota, USA

– best game you’ve played in?

winning the All-Ireland under 16 60×30 final in Loughmacrory last year.

Pictured with GAA Handball legend, Ducksy Walsh, along with Noel Fox and Gavin Buggy at the 2016 US Nationals in Minnesotta, USA

– best player and match you have seen?

Ducksy Walsh, winning the senior 60×30 Irish nationals title last year, a week before he died

– best quote you ever heard at a handball game?

Keep it on the wall

– biggest shock you’ve seen in handball?

Getting beat 21-20 after leading 20-12 in the GAA Handball All Ireland U16 40×20 Singles Championship final last year

– one thing which needs improved?

More publicity

Antoin Fox in action for Loughmacrory in both football and handball in 2016

Football… Tell us about…

Tyrone Academy…

Great set up for any lad. You get the best training and advice from the top players and coaches in the county

Best 3 players you played with – what’s their best trait?

  • Cathaoir Gallagher – quality forward
  • Peadar Mullan – good man marker
  • Shane Grimes – workhorse

Antoin Fox is one of five members of the Loughmacrory Club who tasted success with the Tyrone minors in the Ulster Minor FL in 2017, from Left to Right: Aodhan Donaghy, Conall Grimes, Cathaoir Gallagher, Antoin Fox and Arnoldas Macidulskaz

Best 3 players you played against?

  • Daragh Canavan
  • Oran Sludden
  • Daniel Millar

3 things about Loughmacrory Club?

  • Class facilities
  • Loyal supporters
  • Amazing work being done with the under age teams

Best match you’ve been involved in?

Playing full back against Derry in the Ulster inter-county county minor league final

Celebrating Ulster MFL (U18) title win (the last in the age-group) in April 2017

Best football match you’ve seen?

Tyrone v Donegal in the Ulster Senior Football final in Clones, last year

Tyrone GAA Academy – best points about it, how you’ve improved?

Everyone is given a chance.
I have to train and keep pushing myself as everyone is fighting for a position

One thing you think will change in Gaelic football in next 10 years?

It will become Professional

Currently or possibly to be introduced, your thoughts on these points – Yes (good) or No (Bad) answer….

  • Black Card – No
  • The mark – No
  • U17 instead of u18 next year – No
  • 13 aside in football – No
  • Goal counting as 2 points – No

Other sports/hobbies-what you like most about it?

Crossfit – I like that it helps to improve my overall strength for football and handball

Winning the Irish Nationals 15 & Under title in Galway in 2016 an celebrating with his father, Noel.

For fun…

3 Funniest handballers & footballers you know:

  • Handballers – Shane O’Neill, Gavin Buggy, Conor McElduff
  • Football – James Morgan, Conal Grimes, Ronan Cassidy

One Word Answer: Use one word you think best describes the 3 players you named above:

  • Shane O’Neil – keen
    Gavin Buggy – OCD
    Conor McElduff – lunatic
    James Morgan – unique
    Conal Grimes – hardy
    Ronan Cassidy – thug

The Loughmacrory Minor football team in 2017

Put a name of someone you know to the characteristic below:

  • Confident: Aodhan Donaghy
  • Great craic: Diarmaid Gallagher
  • One liners: Shane Grimes
  • Scary: Ryan Keenan
  • Tough: Connor McAleer
  • Fast: Arny
  • Skillfull (sport): Cathaoir Gallagher
  • Genius: Dara Curran
  • Trendsetter: Ross Slevin

My favourites…

Gaelic Footballers: Peter Canavan, Colm Cooper

GAA Handballers: Shane O’Neill, Kenny Curran

Players from Loughmacrory: Ronan Ward, Mark Mc Cullagh

Players to play for Tyrone: Mark Bradley, Tiarnan Mc Cann, Sean Cavanagh

Sports: football, handball, crossfit, UFC

Antoin (front 2nd from left) with the Loughmacrory U10 team in 2006

Sportstars: Ronaldo, Conor McGregor, Dybala

Celebrities: Gerry Adams, Ant and Dec, Rory McElroy

Band/Singer: Bon Jovi

TV Show: The Sunday Game, Prison Break, Match of the Day

Movie: Fast and Furious

Food: Chicken, Pizza

Place (for a night out): Cookstown

Place (apart from home): America

Sports Venue: Croke Park and Kingscourt, Cavan

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter? Why? like them all

Best thing on the internet? Youtube

Inspirational Quote you like?
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard

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