Oisin McConville: Taking on Wicklow, failed Mayo application, and inter-county coaching commitment

The former Armagh star, speaking on the Irish Examiner Gaelic Football Show, noted that he had indeed spoken to Wicklow prior to this term.
Oisin McConville: Taking on Wicklow, failed Mayo application, and inter-county coaching commitment

NEW MAN IN: Oisin McConville is the new Wicklow football manager. Pic: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Oisin McConville has always loved a challenge. 

Never a man to shy away from such, he has taken on one of the biggest in the country given Wicklow senior footballers' current residence in division four of the Allianz national football league pyramid. 

But the two-hour door-to-door commute was never an issue for the former All-Star, rather it was the convincing job he thought he might have to do at home.

"I had spoken to Wicklow a number of years ago about the possibility [of coming on board], but it didn't really suit me when the arrival of our third child put a dampener on me doing anything other than something local, club-wise," McConville said, speaking on the Irish Examiner Gaelic Football Show.

"That conversation - and I had stayed in contact - piqued my interest. I started to watch a lot more of them and started finding out a lot more about them.

"So we had [another] conversation, and then I took that conversation back to the house!" McConville laughs.

All ended up going quite well on that front, and now McConville finds himself in a position where the only way is up, and that's something that he believes is very much achievable.

"I'd done projects before, having gone into DKIT at a very low ebb ad tried to build that up, and I'd had a history in doing stuff like that, so that's why I wanted to do it. 

"It's a low base and I think it can improve quickly. If I heard an inter-county manager come along and say this is a project, I'd say 'that's bullshit, he's bluffing,' but there is a certain amount of that [a project] in it but I also think that it can improve quite quickly."

McConville will travel the four-hour round trip up and down to training, highlighting the "huge commitment" he is undertaking heading into the 2023 inter-county season.

Asked about being part of Ray Dempsey's backroom team that applied for the Mayo job, prior to the appointment of Kevin McStay, the Crossmaglen native was open and honest.

"It was something that I had thought about for a long time, and probably a lot of coaches have. Realistically, a lot of coaches have watched Mayo and thought, 'I can do better'. We all think we can do better. 

He continues: I would argue that I'd seen more of Mayo than my own county, I watched them, I studied them through analysis and through curiosity. 

He noted that he, as any good coach would, knew exactly what we wanted to do with them. 

"Yeah, whether the other people in the backroom team would have agreed with me or not, that could have been the sticking point, but yeah, I know exactly what I wanted to do."

McConville also spoke on the struggle some high-profile counties have had, a la Donegal, Roscommon, and Monaghan, in trying to appoint a senior football management team. 

"The three of them struggled, they've been around a lot of corners, and Monaghan have only sorted their stuff out in the last week or so.

"It gives you an idea of what's involved and how inter-county management, maybe, just isn't as attractive as it once was."

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