As another year draws to a close, the DCU GAA community will look back on this season as one of the most successful in its history.
February finished with the DCU men securing Sigerson Cup glory in dramatic fashion, after a campaign which saw them dump out tournament favourites UUJ in the opening round.
Meanwhile, the ladies enjoyed their own success by capturing the Lynch Cup and the O’Connor Cup squad had to settle for the runners-up position.
There were more reasons to smile as the three DCU ladies were bestowed the honour of all-star in the O’Connor Cup competition.
Ailbhe Clancy, Sarah Rowe, Lorraine O’Shea and Laura McEnaney made up the DCU contingent of the All-Stars, and McEnaney reckons the plaudits were a fitting reflection.
“It’s nice to get some recognition at the end of the year and this year it was based on the entire campaign and not just the championship weekend.
“It’s a fair reflection on the effort that people put in throughout the year and throughout all the different games.
“But at the end of the day, it is a disappointment. I’d much rather have an O’Connor Cup than an All Star.”
Whatever about individual merits for players involved in higher education GAA, one thing is certain – the quality of gaelic games, in particular football, has grown enormously over the past three years.
“It’s amazing that we got four out of 15 All Stars in the O’Connor Cup, which is a good representation and yet we still lost an O’Connor Cup.
“I thought we were definitely going to get some All-Stars because we got to the final and we do have a good calibre of player throughout the team.
“This year I feel the quality of ladies football as a whole was on par with the men.
Earlier this year The College View reported that the GAA were by far the largest recipient of clubs in terms of funding and the academy have benefitted immeasurably because of it.
However, McEnaney believes that the academy has played a huge role in the GAAs success this year.
“The GAA academy were fantastic throughout the campaign, they left no stone unturned for us.
“They really supported us with everything we went to them with and they really got behind us. We were looked after, we stayed in a five star hotel down in Cork.
“Everything outside of the game was perfect, that includes management, nutrition and the backroom staff. It’s just unfortunate it didn’t go quite to plan on the pitch.
Despite the enormous success of the men’s team, fears that the ladies achievements would be overshadowed were quelled through fair and equal representation in terms of equipment time and resources afforded to all panels.
“Nutrition and dieting was very important during the season, we were well fed after every match and training session.
“If you went to any other college in Ireland, there’s no way you would get that.”
Looking forward to the 2015/16 season, there is already a good basis of players and systems in place to maintain the success that placed DCU at the fore front colleges’ football.
But even considering the plethora of experience within the GAA community, McEnaney believes it’s too early to know how next year will shape up.
“There’s obviously a great calibre of player there. We know there are six or seven experienced players leaving this year.
“The main consideration is, you don’t know who you’re going to get. We can only prepare with what we have at the moment, the rest remains down to whoever is brought into the squad.”
Trophies, titles and most importantly success will be the legacy of the All-Stars and panel members as the GAA look forward to 2016.
Image Credit: Sportsfile