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Tuesday 23 October 2018

Chin a full-time hurler who is happy to 'focus on the game'

FULL-TIMER: Wexford’s Lee Chin at yesterday’s the launch of the 2018 Beko Club Bua award scheme
FULL-TIMER: Wexford’s Lee Chin at yesterday’s the launch of the 2018 Beko Club Bua award scheme

Lee Chin doesn't shy away from the fact that he is, essentially, a full-time hurler.

The most marketable face of Wexford hurling has commercial tie-ups with a number of sponsors but he hasn't worked full-time for maybe three years, since he quit his job as a barber.

For Chin it works, helping him to be the best hurler he can be.

But he's not alone in a world where that long-cherished amateur ethos and professional-level commitment can make for strange bedfellows.

"I'm still just focusing on the game myself," the 25-year-old confirms. "I do an awful lot of work with my sponsors."

He name-checks three main sponsors - Fulfil Nutrition, O'Neills Sportswear and hydration drink iPro Sport.

"I am on a retainer with them. It's not something that I like talking about in terms of it's going to make a living for me. What they do for my service is what they feel I'm worth," he explains. "I enjoy working with the brands."

Long-term ambitions to perhaps open his own business can wait. "I'd obviously be looking at doing something down the line, I just don't know what that is yet," he says. "I don't want to get into something that ... I feel that when I get into something I'm going to be doing it for the long haul instead of for a year or two."

Chin is one of a growing inter-county cohort who make career choices predicated on their sport, first and foremost.

"For me anyway, I think it would be hard to do," he says on the subject of mixing a day-job with chasing his Wexford dream.

"I see a lot of the lads in with the panel at the moment, a lot of them are not really affected by work that much. A lot of them have jobs that they've chosen, the careers that they have ... it almost suits hurling as such. I think a lot of people are taking those career paths," he adds.

"A lot of people are taking the teaching route and a lot of people are taking other routes but I think the jobs that they essentially end up with, they understand that it's not going to have too much of an effect on them physically or mentally.

"I think they just do it, take those kind of jobs, to accommodate their hurling.

"I don't think there's any lad within our panel that works on a construction site that's a seven to four or five job in the day, of hard labour, and still performs at the end of the day."

Pressure

Chin still occasionally helps out with the family business (the Chin Can Cook restaurant) but there's "not a great deal of pressure there", he adds.

On the subject of the recent leaked GAA report, 'Towards 2034', and its proposal to pay an allowance to inter-county players, Chin remarks: "I don't think it's a bad idea. I'd imagine if any of ye were asked if ye wanted a pay rise in your jobs, you'd say yes. This is not our job, it's our hobby and we love it.

"The GAA was never built on the fact that players get paid and everyone that goes into the game understands that and knows that.

"In the future, if there were players to be compensated for their efforts, I don't think any player would object to it," concludes Chin.

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