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Derek McGrath Defends Jamie Barron's Honesty About Future Career Plans

Derek McGrath Defends Jamie Barron's Honesty About Future Career Plans
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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The teaching profession is one which permeates the Waterford hurling squad.

Manager Derek McGrath is an English teacher at De La Salle secondary school in the city. Even before they joined the Deise senior panel, McGrath would have known players well - he taught many of them at the school from the age of 12.

Speaking at the launch of the Allianz Hurling League on Monday, McGrath detailed the number of players in his group who are either teachers or on the road to qualification.

Darragh Fives is teaching in St. Benildus in Stillorgan. Tadhg [de Burca] is in Oatlands there as well. Philip Mahony is teaching, Patrick Curran is training to be a primary school teacher. Kevin [Moran] is a teacher - we have lots of teachers.

Further to McGrath's list, he has said previously that DJ Foran and Gavin O'Brien are also doing their HDips.


Last week, All-Star Jamie Barron expressed a desire to join the gang. The 23-year-old recently finished a Masters in Food Business in UCC and is now considering the pursuit of a teaching qualification, recognising that "teaching is probably the life to suit the GAA at the moment".

Barron would be far from the first inter-county player to choose teaching because of its hours and time off during the summer at the height the championship. Mayo's Cillian O'Connor admitted last week it was certainly a factor he considered when deciding to become a primary school teacher. Galway footballer Damien Comer has said similar about doing a Masters in Education at NUIG.


Barron's honesty about his motives led to some criticism. McGrath believes this was unfair.

"I think what Jamie failed to mention would be how suitable he would be to teaching; his interaction with kids at Cúl Camps and his ability to bring something and give is often lost on people in terms of the teaching profession," McGrath told Balls.

What's often overlooked is the ability of some guy to change his mind when he goes to college. I think I saw Brendan Maher [Tipperary hurler] in there [at the Allianz launch] working with [Teneo PSG]. I don't think he's teaching anymore. I was just looking from afar.

Jamie did Food Business and a Masters in Food Business, then subsequently you change career paths. It's not necessarily a decision based on what's best for his hurling even though Jamie may have alluded to that. I think what he failed to mention is that it's also a lifestyle issue, a balance issue. It's also a realisation that, 'You know what? I think I would make a good teacher. I think the teaching profession is suited to me.'

Yes, it just so happens that the suitability of the holidays coincide with a good balance in life but I think sometimes what we don't promote is he actual suitability of these guys to teaching because what they give on the field, the selfless nature and the altruistic nature of teaching, of GAA is brought to the classroom as well. I think they're all cut out for it, for want of a better expression.

2018 marks the 26th season that Allianz has sponsored the Allianz Hurling Leagues, making it one of the longest sponsorships in Irish sport. Allianz and the GAA announced the renewal of Allianz's partnership with GAAGO which will make over 50 live Allianz League matches available to global audiences. In attendance at the Allianz Hurling League 2018 launch at Croke Park in Dublin is Waterford manager Derek McGrath. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile




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