Hurling Club chairperson Seamus Kelly tells Eoghan Cormican that Fitzgibbon hurling is the only way forward forthe college’s beleaguered stickmen.
In the chronicles of DCU hurling, the past 12 months must surely rank among the worst. An Annus horribilis without question.
All five league games ended in defeat, ensuring relegation to the Ryan Cup and Division 2 of the league. This disappointment was compounded by two spankings in both Fitzgibbon outings by an average margin of 22 points. Seven goals were shipped at the Mardyke, while GMIT found the target 25 times in a hugely com- fortable fifteen-point win.
DCU have spent two seasons in top flight hurling barely threading water, let alone being com- petitive. Put simply, they were out of their depth.
So, when Croke Park retained DCU’s Fitzgibbon status last March, there was many an eye- brow raised. What was to be gained from weekly hammerings at the hands of UCD, UCC et al? DCU hurlers were far better served plying their trade at a level in which they could compete. Recent league results against DIT (4-16 to 0-10) and UCD (6-13 to 2-9) supported this argument.
Hurling club chairperson, Sea- mus Kelly, however, steadfastly disagrees. The Engineering student played at corner back on last year’s team and while admitting that the results of the 2011-12 campaign speak for themselves, believes that in the grander scheme of things, this is a smart move for DCU hurling.
“Every year is different. Every year there are new guys coming in. Last year, we had some fan- tastic guys coming through. It’s not like a club team where you can see down the road as clubs breed their own players on their own ground. DCU hurling do not breed players so you can’t plan ahead and say that Division 2 is where we need to be at.”
Calling a spade a spade, when it comes to GAA, DCU is a Gaelic football college. Proof positive of this is the deluge of success enjoyed over the past 12 months. The Sigerson and O’Byrne Cups were annexed once again, con- trasted with the fortunes of the hurling club, where another barren year in terms of silverware materialised. It is at this stage, elementary, where immediate sur- gery is required. Kelly believes this could be remedied by the ap- pointment of a hurling develop- ment officer.
“The football club is a massive club with three Freshers’ teams, Junior, Intermediate and Siger- son. It’s an inter-county standard of club-running. The GAA is football, hurling, camogie, la- dies football and handball and one man cannot look after that. I think the calling of a hurling de- velopment officer is needed.
“You have one for rugby who focuses on rugby and one for soc- cer who focuses on soccer. We are at the level where we need one and this can also work for camogie. With someone focused on one goal, I think it can do a lot for the club and it is the next step in bringing the club to the next level.”
All hope, however, is not lost; Paul O’Brien’s charges did reach the semi-final stage of the Kehoe Cup last year and this is a compe- tition where Kelly believes silver- ware is a realistic target.
“Before I finish up I would love to see the senior team win the Kehoe Cup. Moving out of the competition would boost hurling further and would improve our game. We’ve let the Kehoe Cup slip over the years but if we want it, I believe it’s there for the taking.”
Have DCU the talent at their disposal to be as competitive as the Chairperson would like? Galway’s Padraig Breheny, in a recent interview with College
View Sport, suggested otherwise. Again, Kelly strongly disagrees.
“DCU have the people and they have the players also. In my time coaching here, I have worked with close to 72 people. In 2009- 10, the Freshers team reached an All-Ireland semi-final. A lot of that team had inter-county expe- rience and players such as Aidan Moran, Willie Eviston and JJ Len- non have contributed massively to the Fitzgibbon squad.
Recent results suggest another difficult year lies ahead, but with Kelly at the helm, you get the feeling anything is possible.
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