By Gavin Dalton
“I try my best to take my laptop with me when travelling to training in Waterford to get some study done in the car.”
Having won All Ireland finals with Waterford at minor and U21 level and with Waterford Colleges in college hurling, at the tender age of 22, Tom Devine has made quite a reputation for himself.
Coming from Modeligo, a small parish in the Déise, Devine has gone on to fulfil his renowned potential and has been a member of the Waterford Senior hurling panel for three years. However, life is not all hurling revolved for Tom as he is also a student of medicine in UCC, where he is studying in his 4th year at present. Studying medicine wasn’t exactly what Tom thought he would find himself doing having completed his six years of secondary school at St. Augustine’s College in Dungarvan. Tom admits choosing medicine was a bit of a last-minute decision.
“I’d always had my sights set on studying P.E. teaching in UL, until a meeting with a careers teacher around Halloween time of 6th year, when she suggested medicine. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to get the points to get into medicine so switched career choices just like that!”
Obviously, as a medicine student, the hours are quite demanding. Throw in the heavy training schedule of an intercounty team, along with playing hurling for UCC and a certain balance must be maintained. A typical sporting week for Tom consists of “two pitch sessions on a Tuesday and Friday, a match on Sunday and individual gym sessions on Monday and Wednesday”. Where does he find time to study?
On top of this demanding schedule, Devine is currently on hospital placement in the Mercy hospital in Cork city centre. At the moment he is working with the respiratory team, so a typical work day for him commences at 7:30am and finishes at 4pm. Devine admits in order to juggle both lifestyles, good time management is essential.
“I try my best to take my laptop with me when travelling to training in Waterford to get some study done in the car. I like to plan out my meals in advance and I also try to get at least eight hours sleep a night so I’m ready for placement the next day.”
With many coveted medals in his back pocket, one victory stands out for Tom as his favourite. Tom speaks of the famous win for his school hurling team as they claimed honours in the famed Dr. Harty Cup in 2012, captaining the team along the way. This was a special one for Tom as it was the first time it had been won in West Waterford and only the 4th time ever by a Waterford schools team. He added: “It came out of the blue. We weren’t expected to get out of our group, not to mind winning it out.”
Being such a successful athlete, it was interesting to hear Tom’s sporting idol is in fact his Waterford teammate Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh.
“His attitude and commitment are second to none. I grew up watching him play on the great Waterford teams of the naughties and it’s been an honour to be able to play alongside him since.”
In April 2017, rumours nationally were clarified when a statement was released by the Waterford County Board clarifying Tom Devine would be going travelling for the summer to Africa and the USA, in turn removing himself from the Waterford Senior hurling panel. Waterford went on to reach the All Ireland final in Croke Park in September. Given the success The Déise enjoyed in his absence, it was interesting to hear if the Modeligo native regretted his decision.
“I don’t regret it that much. I’d made my decision early in the year and had told myself at that stage, that whatever happened, happened, I’d just enjoy my Summer, which I did!
“Travelling was an eye-opening experience and I really made the best of it. I just got home in time for the All Ireland final.
“It was hard not to feel a twinge or two watching the match of wanting to be involved, but overall I’m happy with my decision to travel.”
However, with the UCC student back involved in the senior set up, here’s hoping the 6’2” goal-getter can help guide his county back to Croke Park this September.