our town | 

New fly-on-the-wall RTE show reveals the struggles of young people in Bray keeping their careers alive

Our Town

Our Town

Eugene Masterson

A NEW fly-on-the wall series set in Bray Co Wicklow and featuring young people in the seaside town is set to become a summer hit for RTE.

Viewers will get to see a variety of young people struggling to keep their careers, sporting activities and talent such as music alive.

A darker side which will be highlighted is -mum-of-two Gabi (22), who reveals in the three-part series Our Town that she was raped when she was a teenager.

“I was on a date aged 17 and my drink was spiked,” recalls the health care assistant. “I woke up with liquid all over me. I was a virgin at the time.”

Gabi is also doing a degree in Trinity college and admits it took her a long time to get over her sexual assault.

Others to feature in the opening episode include a hip hop duo called Bray Side Boyz, originally from Malawi, CJ and Sammy.

Also taking part is Dylan Barnett (24), the footballer who, at 16, jumped at the chance to pursue his boyhood dream and play for Brighton and other clubs in England.

But it wasn’t all that he had hoped for and before too long, he faced his own demons. Dylan returned to his beloved hometown and local club, Bray Wanderers, where he continues to experience the challenging reality of life as a young footballer.

Dylan was playing for the Under 23s in Brighton when he was told he was no longer being kept by the club, who ironically like Bray Wanderers have ‘Seagulls’ as their nickname.

“I was only a kid going over and it was always going to be difficult but luckily I went over with a boy from Waterford, Dessie Hutchinson,” Dylan tells the Sunday World.

“So at least I had someone to pal around with who was in a similar situation as me, even though we didn’t know each other but were kind of in the same boat.”

As a teenager he was well looked after by management.

When I was over there at first Oscar Garcia was the manager, he managed a few La Liga teams,” he explains.

“ He was quite fond of me and if he had stayed on as manager things might have been different.

“Chris Hughton was there for the last few years. He is a terribly nice man. He was primarily with the first team. When I was released, he called the boys into his office and had a little chat and asked how we were and said not to give up and had some advice for us, which he didn’t have to do at all.”

He and Dessie also got to meet other Irish players.

“Me and my mate Dessie kind of put our arms around the young Irish lads that came over on trial or were signed,” he recalls.

“I was over with Aaron Connolly and Jayson Molumby, who are now both with the senior Irish squad.”

When Dylan left Brighton he was taken on by Dagenham and Redbridge in the Conference league.

“For the last year I wasn’t enjoying myself and I was missing home a lot. I wasn’t enjoying it as much and where I lived, I didn’t want to live there. I then decided to come home,

“When I went to England, I was kind of chasing the dream, leaving school like that, so it was a big risk. I wouldn’t be who I am today or where I am today without going through it all.”

Another young sportsman taking part in the new series is Regan Buckley.

He will be shown winning a bronze medal for Ireland at the European boxing championships.

But viewers will also get to see Dylan striving but failing to make the Irish Olympics team and he has now decided to give up boxing as he did not get a grant and could not survive financially.

“When I finished, I was ranked number seven in the world and three in Europe,” Regan (24) tells the Sunday World.

“There was no incentive to carry on other than competing

“It’s kind of got to the stage where you were in there five days a week and there was no income from work, even at the weekends

“There’s now way of balancing it at that level. At lower level there is but at that level there isn’t, and it was a case I had to survive on it growing up.”

He adds: “I was 22 years of age and it got to the stage where there were bills to pay when you’re an adult and you kind of have to pay your way.”

Regan admits it’s difficult watching other lads he’s fought with make it to Tokyo.

“I’m looking at lads now and lads I’ve sparred with and I’ve qualified for the Olympics for Tokyo,” he reflects.

“It is a tough pill to swallow. But at the same time, I’m happy the way I am now and wouldn’t change a thing.”

Katie Taylor is from Bray and Regan knows her well.”

“I used to train with Katie when I was younger and when I was professionally boxing, I used to spar with Katie before her first world title fight,” he reveals.

“I used to train under Pete (Katie’s dad) when I was younger down in Bray boxing club when I was younger.”

Regan’s dad opened his own boxing club, St Teresa’s, in 2014 and luckily, he had left Bray gym before the notorious shooting there.

“I’m a personal trainer now and I’m currently in the process of looking to open up my own gym,” he notes.

“The way I was I have been boxing since I was 11 years of age. It been a long process.

“I won’t be able to go back to boxing. Just as I stopped, I was diagnosed with type one diabetes. So, I wouldn’t be allowed back even if I wanted

“But I’m content with what I’ve done and I’m hoping do more things in the future.”

He also hopes the new series portrays Bray in a good light.

“Bray is a beautiful town, and everyone is close knit and knows each other,” he stresses. “You’d have a lot of friends if you grew up in Bray.”

Our Town is on RTE2, Thursday 9.30pm

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