Malloys on the mat
Connor and Gaelan’s relationship has not always been brotherly love
When it came to interviewing Connor and Gaelan Malloy for this article, each interview was conducted separately, by phone. Who knows how two of the University of Regina Cougars top wrestlers – who also happen to be brothers – would react in a tandem interview when asked hypothetical questions like, “If push comes to the shove, who’s got whose number in a Malloy-brother wrestling match?”
Generally, those involved in wrestling are amongst the most competitive and confident people on the planet. To add more fuel to a potential fire, just make two of them siblings.
Connor, the older Malloy, started wrestling at age nine and has since established himself as one of the nation’s preeminent collegiate grapplers – claiming bronze and silver medals at the CIS championships in 2008 and 2009, respectively, en route to claiming the top spot at the same event last season.
Gaelan, who moonlights as a member of the popular local group Descalso, began wrestling after Connor took to the mats. Despite a number of impressive campaigns as an amateur grappler, Gaelan, in what he jokingly refers to as “a long time coming”, was recently named to Canada’s national wrestling squad for the first time in his career and is slated to travel to Brazil to compete in the Pan Am games in the coming weeks.
Within a few minutes of speaking with Gaelan, the decision to keep the Malloy brothers’ interviews separate seemed smart.
“Growing up, we were friends, but we used to fight a lot, too,” he said.
However, it didn’t take long to realize that the Malloys’ relationship – which both brothers describe as healthy – has only been beneficial to their passion for wrestling.
“It was good when Gaelan started wrestling,” said Connor. “My brother and I were really competitive when we were growing up and it’s really been great for us to be able to train with each other. My brother and I have a really good relationship, so it’s good to have him around all the time.”
Gaelan sees Connor as a role model on the mat.
“It’s good to be able to watch what he does and then follow through,” said Gaelan. “He motivates me to train hard. We work out a lot together and we train a lot together. We’re pretty close.”
Although Gaelan insists he doesn’t need the competition with his brother to aspire to victory, it also hasn’t seemed to hurt.
“I expect to win, it would give me more credibility on the national stage. My brother has won nationals a bunch of times and I’ve always been in his shadow, but I think a win at the Pan Ams would put me beside him – instead of just being Connor’s brother,” said Gaelan. “I just like winning as it is, but that’s always nice too. He’s always given me a good standard to go by. I see him doing great things and think why can’t I do that?”
Although Connor, who Gaelan credits for spurring his initial interest in the sport, is hesitant to reveal how much of an impact he feels he has had on his brother’s wrestling career, Gaelan claims that he wouldn’t have wrestled had Connor not been involved in the sport.
“I don’t really know how much of an influence I’ve had on Gaelan’s wrestling,” said Connor. “That’s probably a better question to ask him. I think we have both made it a lot more enjoyable for each other. He’s a driven person and he’s a really good athlete, so I think he would have had similar success in anything he went into.”
As it turns out, the Malloy boys, who are both set to return to tournament action within the month, don’t mind hypothetical questions after all.
“He’s a weight-class bigger than me, but I think I could probably take him. I think I’d beat him in a fist-fight, for sure,” said Gaelan with a laugh. “It would be a good wrestling match, but I would beat him in a fist-fight. That’s what really matters (laughs).”
“Gaelan watches [mixed martial arts], so he knows quite a bit about that. I think he’s got a bit of a head’s-up on me,” joked Connor.
Despite Connor’s concession, it was probably still a good idea to speak to each individually.