REPUBLIC of Ireland soccer manager Martin O'Neill has revealed how he once contemplated hanging up his football boots and returning to college during the darker moments of his early professional career.
In an inspirational speech at the University of Limerick, the soccer legend urged students receiving third-level scholarship awards to always pursue their goals and not let the vicissitudes of life damage their self belief.
Reminiscing on his brief college experience, the 62-year-old recalled how his mother didn't agree with his decision to drop out of Queen's University in Belfast where he studied law.
"I had a pushy mother who sent me in the educational direction... I had an opportunity when I was at Queen's to go and become a professional footballer at that stage and my mother wanted me to continue with education.
"After a very decent start in the game and then a stodgy time I think that perhaps the night that I held the European Cup aloft in Madrid in 1980 I might have said to my mother then, I wonder who was right? But overall she had a point," he accepted.
When asked if he ever thought about returning to university the former Nottingham Forest player and later Celtic manager replied: "In many a dark moment in my first couple of years I thought about it but it didn't transpire for one reason or another."