One-to-One with DkIT GAA Manager, Oisin McConville07 February 2018
“Everything in gaelic football is going in one direction and that is upwards,” says Oisin McConville, manager of the DkIT gaelic team.
He has more than 50 players across all levels and, speaking before the college took on DCU in the Sigerson Cup, he said, “I have been asked what is the greatest thing we have going for us and it is that if I go through the college - and I could wish for anybody - all the players that I want are going to be there on the night.”
The team was able to hold its head up high despite being defeated in that match and Oisin said that playing for a college is different than club or county level.
“The guys are getting a chance to play with lads from different clubs and counties that they would never have had opportunity to play with before and we don’t put any undue pressure on them.”
“I think they see that we are not just trying to drag whatever we can out of them. It's more that we can help each other and help the college.”
“ The GAA club here is run by the students themselves and that gives them an ownership and the onus is on them to fulfil what they want to achieve.”
He is extremely proud that the college has won two Trench cups in a row and, “we have gone from a very low base to challenging at Sigerson level which is amazing and that is in the last 5-6 years.”
“It is testimony to the college and to the lads commitment to playing for the college. There has been a lot of very talented players who have gone through this college in the last 15-20 years but they just haven’t committed or played any role within the college.”
“Now they are committing and now they feel a part of it and when you feel a part of it it is easier to turn up on (training) nights, and now we try and make it as comfortable as possible for them. Everything in gaelic football is going in one direction that is upwards and one of the things is how you treat the players.”
He says that something as simple as providing food after training and supporting them around exam times all helps.
“At the end of the day they are here to achieve academically and for me that goes hand in hand with sport. If they use sport in the proper way and proper fashion they will get huge things out of it. Human beings being the way we are, unless we see something at the end of it we probably wont commit hugely to it so the fact we won a Trench cup 3 years ago, has given a huge push ‘cos people see we can achieve at the top level.”
Oisin said that some sports scholarship students will feel under pressure to play for the college as a result of the scholarship, “I don't abuse that privilege because as soon as the players see that they we are not abusing our privilege, then it's easier to get the best players.”
“The biggest challenge for any college is getting the best players in the college out to play and when I was asked what is the greatest thing we have going for us, I said it is that all the players that I want are going to be there on the night. I don't know if there's too many other colleges in the country would have that.”
Players on the panel are from Louth, Armagh, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Longford, Dublin, Antrim and Donegal and Oisin said, “the fact that we have such a wide base of players with different experiences and different ways of how to play football, different knowledge because of how they have been trained and coached up over the years, that to me is the beauty of scholarships.”
He paid tribute to the supportive role of Derek Crilly DkIT’s Sports and Societies Officer.
“If you are struggling academically or whatever, there is a sound base for you, there is the opportunity to go in there and get some sort of assistance with Derek. It sounds ‘airy fairy’ and people don’t want to hear it, but nowadays it is about treating a player holistically and not just as a player.”
“The proof is in the pudding, when you treat people properly and are not just trying to get out of them what you can, they respond. They are intelligent guys and once they see that you treat them properly, they buy into it and it means not only do you get the best out of them but after games, these are the same guys who go to get the jerseys back in, who are giving people a hand to get stuff on the bus and that is because they take ownership of this, this is their team and they take great pride.”
“The proof is in the pudding the last couple of years and makes you proud to be part of it.”
DkIT is now accepting applications to its 2018 Sports Scholarships. The scholarships includes extensive sport welfare support, including an intensive strength and conditioning programme, sports science training, fitness testing, nutrition advice, sports psychology and physiotherapy. Students also receive open access to the Institute’s new, state-of-the-art indoor sports facility, DkIT Sport.
Teams at DkIT can avail of the indoor training pitch, sessions take place on the strength and conditioning area and scholars can freely use leisure facilities to assist with recovery from training and matches. For more information on the scholarships, please visit:
For further information on Sports Scholarships please contact
Derek Crilly, Sports and Societies Officer, E. firstname.lastname@example.org