AUTHOR: Kieran Burke – @Kieran_B_Sport
One player whose performances have certainly gone under the radar so far this season are those of Drogheda United defender Daniel O’Reilly. With most eyes understandably being drawn towards his new defensive partner, the five-time league winner Dane Massey, ex-Longford Town, Finn Harps, and Shelbourne star O’Reilly has been able to settle into his new surroundings at Head In The Game Park with relative ease as the County Louth outfit find themselves sitting inside the top four of the Premier Division following the clubs First Division success of last year. And despite Dundalk legend Dane Massey possessing untold levels of League of Ireland experience, O’Reilly admits he has played a big role in helping thirty-three-year-old Massey settle into his newfound position of centre-back after years of charging up and down the Oriel Park touchline as a full-back.
“Yeah, it’s been good (playing alongside Massey), Dane is a good lad with loads of experience obviously but he’s been really easy to play with even though he’s not a centre-half by trade so at the start he was like talk me through this talk me through that” which O’Reilly admits he found a strange but welcome experience as it proved in his eyes that despite all the league medals and success obtained by the Drogs marquee signing that Massey was still willing to learn even off a player who had suffered relegation with Shelbourne in November of last year.
“Over the last few weeks he just looks like a centre-back so I think that willingness to learn & adapt as opposed to thinking he could just walk in there and do whatever I think it shows the kind of player he is and the quality he has and also that experience of why he’s been around for so long at the top level” remarked O’Reilly as he paid further tribute to the professional nature shown by Massey since his arrival at the other club in County Louth.
With a trip to Finn Harps on Friday night being followed by games against Longford Town and Derry City before the mid-season break this looks like a big period in Drogheda United’s season with European football next season already being muttered by some with the Drogs showing an ability to mix it with even the very best during the opening series of games. However, O’Reilly is not getting carried away by such talk with the clear focus on the team’s trip to Donegal this weekend.
“Three games in a week, it’s going to be tough on the body but every game is tough and there hasn’t really been much in any of the games so far. We’ve Harps tomorrow so we just want to focus on that but hopefully, we get a good result up there, and then we can focus onto Monday but we won’t be looking ahead to Monday and then Friday or in that mindset where you say we’ll take x amount of points because then you lose focus on the game you’re about to play and if you lose then your plans are out the window.”
“I think now having played everyone you know what to expect, I think we’ve competed in every game so we think going into every game we can get a result regardless of who we are playing so it will be the same mindset for the next three games, we just want to keep up the good performances,” said O’Reilly.
Not only is O’Reilly about to embark on a busy fixture schedule with Drogheda United but the twenty-six-year-old Dubliner is also set to launch his own online business called US2UFITNESS. Already working part-time in a gym alongside his football commitments O’Reilly admits he was forced to move his classes online which brought about the ambition to form his own online fitness hub filled with reasonably priced programmes, nutritional plans, and his own range of merchandise including fitness bands.
With a new modern website set to launch tomorrow, O’Reilly admits he has already had strong support from within the League of Ireland with many players signing up for classes during the most recent lockdown and this is a target market he hopes to expand business in once the new site launches on Friday.
“I have a good few lads in the league (signed up), especially during the off-season I’ve had loads of lads doing programmes with me. Obviously, I’d like people to buy bands but I’m not the kind of person to push them on people but if they want to buy it to use it themselves or gift it to someone or just buy it to support me then I welcome it all, but sports athletes would certainly be my niche and even the likes of Leinster Senior League players and lads coming back from England I’d love to be doing programmes with them with whatever equipment they have at home because it relates to football so it’s not boring for them or anything. Obviously, you’ll still have generic people looking to lose weight and the likes but my main target market would be sports dominant related training”, explained the former Fulham youngster.
“Football is always my main priority so I just need to manage the load in teems of how many people I take on and what I do but I’d always rather have the option to scale down than not work at all but at the moment I’ve got a nice balance between the football and the business so I want to keep it that way so I can have a bit of a personal life as well”, explained the Drogheda defender.
With United one of just four part-time teams operating in the Premier Division, we often hear how the greatest disadvantage players of these sides face compared to their full-time counterparts is the lack of rest and recovery between game days due to these players having day jobs, study commitments and so on.
However, with O’Reilly’s business being centered around fitness he admits he is much luckier than other players in the league who face into more vigorous lines of work on a Monday morning.
“Obviously the knowledge I’ve gained from working in the industry I’m in kind of helps me and I’ve kind of got times to do other things as well so thankfully it’s not really an issue for me (rest & recovery).”
“There are people who are out pulling pallets early in the morning and are out on building sites and personally I wouldn’t be able to do it because the lads who do that might not get home until five or six o’clock in the evening and are straight out the door for training whereas in the gym I can be home by two o’clock in the afternoon and have a sleep and then go to training. It’s not easy either obviously but it’s not as hard as other people have it in terms of workload”, commented O’Reilly.
For more information on US2USFITNESS visit their new website launching on Friday us2ufitness.com or follow them on Instagram @us2ufitness.