GAA: CLEVER TREVOR READY FOR TEST; CONNACHT FOOTBALL FINAL: Galway V Mayo, Pearse Stadium, Sun 2.10 Mortimer Prepared as He Faces Harsh Exam

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Byline: By PAUL KEANE

TREVOR Mortimer is done with England, university life and the whole damn thing. The smile across his face tells you exactly how he feels about that.

The Mayo star was based in Leeds for the majority of this year studying for a degree in quarry management, the family business back home.

If he's honest, it was a low time in his life, a real chore and an even bigger pain in the neck.

Take training for instance. After appearing in an All-Ireland final the previous September, Mortimer was keen to remain at his physical peak for as long as possible.

But, based miles away from the nearest football pitch at his student residence, he had to resort to a unique brand of inter-county training throughout the winter and spring.

"What I had to work with was a park with a stairway in it and I'd basically run up and down the stairs to keep fit," reflected Mortimer.

"I had no access to a pitch in Leeds. The nearest one was a bus journey away and, with study and all the rest of it, I just didn't have the time.

"I said to myself 'you have to do what you have to do'. It was difficult and not exactly the best preparation but I made the best of it."

Thankfully, Mayo boss John Maughan lent an approachable ear and Mortimer was only brought home when it was absolutely necessary during the league campaign.

Like, say, their proposed league semi-final clash with Armagh at Hyde Park in April.

"Ah, don't mention that disaster," smiled Mortimer.

"I travelled all the way home and the game was rained out.

"Still, it could have been worse. I could have been in James Nallen's boots. He had to come back from somewhere like the caribbean and get a helicopter some of the way only for the game to be called off!"

Even that painful anecdote didn't do much to ease Mortimer's situation though.

A trip home for any of the league game was a painstaking ordeal.

"I had to taxi it to the train station and get a train then to Manchester airport," said Mortimer.

"Then I'd fly from there to Galway and get a lift home.

"I'd play the game on the Sunday and do the whole thing in reverse to be back to college for Monday afternoon."

The final few weeks dragged and dragged as the countdown to the Championship kicked in for Mortimer.

But it was all worth it in the end, the necessary results were achieved to gain that vital degree freeing him to head home for good.

But what of his other career, on the football field with Mayo?

"To be honest, I'd say all the travel added to the injuries with me over the spring and approaching the summer," he admitted.

"I had no time to myself and I was always on the move and I kept picking up knocks like dead legs and strains. …