St Patrick’s Campus GAA Chairman Ronan McDonald believes that the GAA club’s intermediate victory shows signs of a recovery in GAA on the campus following the amalgamation with DCU.
The St Pat’s Intermediate football manager told The College View that the initial bleeding effect from the campus was felt by the Dóchas Éireann club.
“We certainly have, this year not so much,” said McDonald
“We’ve lost a lot of fresher’s over the last number of years,” he added.
The Intermediate manager said that the club had benefitted from players returning to the Pat’s club after initially playing with the DCU Glasnevin fresher’s.
“This year a lot of those lads have come back,” he said.
“In terms of the Inters team we didn’t lose too many,” he added.
The attacking underage Monaghan star David Garland has elected to play for DCU but has had an influential role on the side line for the Intermediate team as they won the championship.
“We lost David Garland from Monaghan. He’s studying in St Pat’s, but he was happy to stay involved down here with the team and that was a massive asset to us,” said McDonald.
“He’s a Monaghan County senior so he’s brought a wealth of knowledge to us along the side line,” he added.
An intense encounter preceded the final of the competition which saw Pat’s take on a Pat’s based DCU outfit in the semi-final.
“When we played DCU in the semi-final, two of the lads in the full forward line for DCU are actually studying in Pat’s as well, Billy Mannion and Shane Tierney,” said McDonald.
“Young Tierney actually missed a penalty as well so he may regret that decision in the long run,” he joked.
“We have lost a lot of footballers but there are still a lot of quality footballers about the campus here though,” he added.
In contrast to the sports and coaching personnel in the Glasnevin campus, the St Patrick’s campus is completely run by students.
“We pride ourselves on the traditions of Dóchas Éireann St Pat’s, the former club that was here,” said McDonald.
The Chairman went on to stress the importance of maintaining a strong GAA tradition on the teaching college’s campus.
“It’s important to keep GAA in the [St Pat’s] campus because you have a lot of inter-county GAA players and ladies football and camogie players,” said McDonald.
“They all pursue a career in teaching because it suits that inter-county lifestyle,” he added.
In response to GAA pundits advocating the removal of Higher Education competitions to ease up fixture congestion in the GAA calendar, McDonald refuted the notion as a falsity.
“There’s very few competitions in the GAA that you can say haven’t got importance. People have been saying the Higher Education championships should be scrapped. That’s a lie,” he said.
“Having won something at the Higher Education third level, it’s massive,”
Video: 'I thought football in this college was going to die, but looking at today it's absolutely not' – see St Pat's campus of @DCUGAAAcademy win the Intermediate Final with a late late goal.. @ElectricIreland pic.twitter.com/Zv2MoLW6xF
— HE GAA (@HigherEdGAA) February 16, 2019
After reflecting on his charges’ dramatic win, which saw them snatch victory with a last minute goal against NUIG, McDonald ranked it as one of his greatest sporting moments.
“Our win over the last number of weeks is one of the best experiences that I’ve had in sport and I’d hate to see someone else losing that opportunity in years to come,” he said.
St Patricks College overcame NUIG in the intermediate final by two points at 2-8 to 1-9. Going from a point down to winning in the last play of the game.
Image Credit: David Gough / Twitter