Paudie O’Neill says paying college managers a crazy education

Hurling Development Committee chairman Paudie O’Neill has slammed the “crazy” practice of third-level colleges enlisting high-profile coaches to oversee their Fitzgibbon and Sigerson teams.

O’Neill, who coached the Tipp hurlers during Eamon O’Shea’s three-year tenure, believes students are being “disenfranchised” by the absurd set-up of paying outsiders to look after college teams.

The opening rounds of the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cup are down for this decision this week, with Ger Cunningham (UCC), Billy Morgan (UCC), Davy Fitzgerald (LIT) and Martin McHugh (UUJ, selector) among the past and present inter-county managers involved with a third-level outfit. Former inter-county stars DJ Carey (IT Carlow), Brian Lohan (UL) and John Divilly (UCD) will also be donning bainisteoir bibs over the next month.

“I am awfully disappointed with a lot of third-level colleges who are supposed to be about developing leadership. It really annoys me when I see these third-level colleges bringing in outsiders to run their college teams when we are supposed to be educating people of 19, 20, 21 and 22-years of age to go into leadership positions in society,” said O’Neill at the GAA coaching conference over the weekend.

“I read recently about Dublin footballer Ciarán Kilkenny who is a student at St Pat’s [Drumcondra]. In St Pat’s they still have a model where the students run the team. Ciarán spoke about how he was in charge of one of the teams out there; they went out to play a match in Monasterevin, but the bus couldn’t get under a bridge, he had to get off the bus to try and solve that problem and ended up carrying a bag of around 12 footballs half a mile down the road. That sort of experience… a lot of the people at third-level are being disenfranchised, they are not been given that experience because outside coaches are being brought in.

“They are being paid to coach guys who are 21 and 22-years of age and who should be the future leaders of society. It is crazy. There is no sense of empowerment or responsibility.”



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