In Pursuit of Glory

In Pursuit of Glory

In anticipation of today’s Fitzgibbon

and Sigerson Cup draws, The College View 

Sport talks to the various GAA managers

about their ambitions for the season ahead

by Paul O’ Brien 

Although his teams may have been relegated, DCU Senior hurling manager Paul O’ Brien is confident his side can be competitive in next year’s Fitzgibbon Cup. He is not only determined to a take a run at the Fitzgibbon Cup, but to restore the college’s reputation after a disappointing campaign.

“Our expectations for Fitzgibbon are to be competitive and gain respect for DCU hurling club. There is a lot of dented confidence from the league and particularly last year’s two Fitz games.”

O’Brien believes the league campaign has been a learning experience for his squad, and that they have already moved on after narrowly losing the relegation final to GMIT. He is certain they will be an altogether different animal come the championship.

“It took time but we have finally gelled and have become a far stronger unit. The lads have knuckled down and turned their attention to the Keogh Cup and Fitzgibbon. The character of the players leaves me in no doubt that our aims will be met and we will get rewards in the coming months for our efforts.”

Tommy Conroy (Intermediate football)

Following on from their league triumph, Sigerson Development manager Tommy Conroy is hopeful that his players will build on that early season success. “I would hope to build on our success in the league. It was nice to win the league, but championship will be completely different. We will have to up the effort and the level of performance, but I look forward to the championship preparations.”

“I would be expecting huge competition for places and that the lads as a team will embrace the challenges that lie ahead over the next few months. I would also hope the players would have serious ambitions about playing Sigerson football and making that step-up. With the O’Byrne Cup coming up it is a chance for the Sigerson Development squad players to throw the gauntlet as to their credentials.”

James Donnelly (freshers hurling)

Although the Freshers hurling side only had a reasonable showing in this season’s league campaign, manager James Donnelly believes they can reach the final stages in next year’s championship.

“You would hope to avoid a UCC or LIT, who have been around the block. If we got past the first round it would give us a lot more confidence and belief, this team is only going to get better. We have ambitions to reach the quarter or semi-finals.”

He also recognises the importance of this season for his player’s progression to senior level.  “We are blooding players so that they will hopefully add to the senior team next year. We want to bring players on so they will slot into a Fitzgibbon team and enhance it.”

Ross Munnelly (freshers football)

“I feel the role of managing the DCU Freshers team to be centered on player development. The true meaning of success within a group of players is more so about them developing their skills, experiencing intervarsity competition and learning from those playing at Sigerson level. With that in mind the past three months have been fruitful for DCU as a new squad of freshers have been engrained into the GAA Club and adopted a hard working attitude.”

“The starting date for the championship normally coincides with the conclusion of the semester one examinations, therefore the priority for the month of January must be study focused. This examination period takes its toll on players and ensures the opening championship game is 50/50 no matter who you draw. Last year we were big favourites at home to UL in the opening game. We only closed out the game in the last few minutes; you can take nothing for granted at Freshers level.”

Niall Williams (Camogie)

Having lost last year’s Purcell Cup final and missed out on promotion due to a restructuring of championship format, DCU’s Camogie team will look to go the distance this time round.

The ladies know this won’t be an easy task after landing in a tough group including Cork IT and Queens College. With only two teams progressing from the group, the DCU Ladies will need to give their all.

“The Purcell Cup, which is division 2, is really competitive – maybe even more than Ashbourne. There are six teams all on the same level. We’ve got a tough group with Queens, who beat us in the final last year, and Cork IT, who were relegated from Ashbourne. It’ll come down to performances on the day.”

“We’ve a hard-working, balanced team and we’ve been blessed with talented freshers this year who are adding competition for places.”

Peter Clarke (Ladies football)

DCU lades will look to add a fourth consecutive All-Ireland to their cabinet this season, but know it won’t be easy given the ever-changing nature of college sports team personnel.

“It’s a rebuilding process,” Clarke said, “We’ve only got three O’Connor Cup winners left in the squad.”

Despite losing some experienced 3rd Years, they’ve unearthed several talented freshers including top scorer Caitriona Foley and Monaghan midfield dynamo Laura McEnaney, daughter of Meath boss Seamus McEnaney. Lyndsay Peat, who also stars for DCU Mercy basketball, has added some grit in the centre of the park.

New Year’s resolution – tighten up at the back, fend off northern raiders and keep the O’Connor Cup in DCU for another year.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.