John took up archery at the relatively late age of 17, after too many injuries playing rugby meant he had to find a less-exertive sport. Introduced to it by a friend, he took to it with his customary all-o-nothing commitment, shooting anything up to 350/400 arrows a day in training at his peak.
There is a certain irony in the fact that archery is now taking a back seat to his career when it was his prowess at archery that saw him through his building services degree in DIT, right up to his Masters, on a sports scholarship. Apart from the high of once being ranked among the top 100 archers worldwide, John has had some notable achievements over the last few years.
On the home front he is still the current national record holder for Full Fita (1380) and Double Fita (2746); for the 90mts (336/360); and the 50-metre, 15-arrow match play (146/150); he was Outdoor National Champion in 2012; Silver National Champion in 2013; and 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Irish Open and Irish Series in 2015.
There are also indoor tournaments and here again John performed with distinction. His successes include ISAA National Champion 2010-2015; ISSA Indoor National League 2011-2015; and 80/240 European Archery Festival 2014.
His international honours include coming 8th and 6th respectively in the Senior Euronations in 2010 and 2011; winning silver in both the mixed team and mens’ team events at the European Grand Prix in Bulgaria in 2012; 9th in the World University Archery Championship in 2012 in Spain; and 17th in the Individual World University Games in Korea in 2015.
John has also coached and has acted as Junior Irish Compound Coach to Irish teams participating in various world championships and cups. In 2015 Lauren Gaynor won the Junior Ladies Compound World Cup Stage in Marakesh under his tutelage.
John says that archery is 10% physical and 90% mental. It is all about staying calm, keeping you breathing relaxed and your heart beat low. Not so easy when representing you country on the world stage, but its what has to be done as the slightest movement can have a major impact on success or otherwise.
As this illustrates, archery is a very technical sport and not at all like the romanticised, gung-ho adventure exemplified by innumerable Robin Hood movies. That said, John did have his own Robin Hood moment during a world qualification round in Poland when he perfectly speared an arrow already in the target as per the grand finale in many of these movies.