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Paddy Christie Is Juggling DCU And Longford Management In A Hectic January

Paddy Christie Is Juggling DCU And Longford Management In A Hectic January
By Nathan Molloy Updated
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The Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup is set to usher in the new GAA season next year at the start of January. The teams feature a mixture of seasoned intercounty stars and up-and-coming footballers wanting to improve themselves even more. The draw for both the Electric Ireland Sigerson and Fitzgibbon cups took place this week with plenty of interesting match ups. DCU manager Paddy Christie, who is also the new manager of the Longford senior football team, thinks that intercounty players should only be playing college football.

I'm very much of the opinion that fellas should be playing college football, you can check that out with the Longford footballers when we met last month. I found out how many fellas were in college and then told them every fella should be playing for their college. If that involves missing the odd session with Longford or clashing with certain things, well then we'll work our way around it and manage.

The Longford manager doesn't understand why other county managers would prevent their young players from playing in the competition. Paddy believes that playing with high calibre players and management would improve players.

I can't understand personally why you'd stop somebody playing it. I can understand you can't have fellas training every night with their college but I can't understand how you don't think that would improve fellas, by doing a bit of training with high calibre players from other counties, with high calibre management in colleges and playing matches at a very high level.

Reasonable Commitment

DCU currently have the largest contingent of current intercounty players of all the Sigerson panels with 11. With that amount of intercounty players, you'd expect training them all together would be a task. However, Paddy says that it hasn't been difficult and that it is down to the players' attitude.

It hasn't been hugely difficult and that's because of the attitude that the lads have in the group. I always think that you can have people that can make to avoid training or make excuses to come to training and that's the latter with our crew.

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For the players that are playing for their counties, Paddy expects a reasonable commitment from them.

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What I always look for in lads is, they'll probably smile when I talk about it, a reasonable commitment. Reasonable is as in if you can come to a certain amount of sessions, once you do that and you're an intercounty footballer, obviously we'll work out then if you fit into place. We don't expect fellas to be at every session and we don't accept fellas never being at a session either and then appearing for Sigerson.

14 December 2022; In attendance at the draw of the Electric Ireland GAA Higher Education Championship at Croke Park today is DCU DÉ manager, Paddy Christie. The Dublin college reached the Semi-Finals of the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup in 2022 and in 2023 will be hoping to win the competition for the first time since 2020. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Play To Their Strengths

DCU have no shortage of attacking talents within their panel. The university have Donegal's Shane O'Donnell and Oisin Gallen, Meath's Shane Walsh and Galway's Robert Finnerty. With the quality of their forward line, Paddy thinks that they'll play to their strengths and try and outscore the opposition rather than limit them.

We would like to think that we would play our attacking game rather and we don't like to leak loads of goals at the other end, but we certainly like to think our game is to outscore the opposition rather than limiting the opposition all the time, if you have the amount of players in that forward line.

DCU made it to the semi finals last year in the competition, losing 0-14 to 0-11 to the University of Limerick with David Clifford scoring two late points. Paddy believes that the recipe for success isn't a full 15 of household county players but rather a mix with those that are on the fringes of their county squads.

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I'd say it's a balance somewhere in between is the best, I wouldn't like to go out without my intercounty players but I don't think having 15 All Stars in Sigerson football is benefitting either. The nature of the football, it's winter football, more difficult conditions. A lot of it's down to heart and gut and drive and fellas who are trying to improve themselves I think, you'd get more of them type of fellas when you're on the fringes of squads rather than those household names.

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The Dubliner believes that when the university last won the competition in 2020 that they had seasoned intercounty players mixed in with players trying to improve themselves and that proved to be a good recipe for success.

Confidence Is Key For Longford

The 46-year-old was appointed as the manager of Longford this year in August. This is Paddy's first time as a senior county manager after being a coach of the Tipperary senior footballers and managing their U20 side. He is set for a hectic spring with both the Allianz leagues and Sigerson cup commencing. The midlands county begin their Allianz league campaign away to Fermanagh in Division Three. Paddy thinks that confidence is hugely important for counties in the lower divisions and a couple of wins in the O'Byrne cup or league can make a huge difference to the team.

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For the counties in the lower divisions, confidence can be difficult sometimes to maintain and try and generate. If you can get a couple of wins in the O'Byrne Cup even I think it gives a boost to other counties, like the McGrath cup in Munster or the FBD league in Connacht, the McKenna cup in Ulster. Those things are important for the so called lesser counties, it's a big deal to try and be competitive in that and the National League to try and get up that ladder in the quickest possible way, get pushing up the table rather than trying to avoid the drop.

Paddy who played for Dublin between 1995 and 2005, believes that the addition of Pat Gilroy is a big coup for Dublin. The former manager of the Dubs who won an All Ireland in 2011, was announced to be joining Dessie Farrell's backroom team in November. The DCU manager believes that Gilroy's knowledge of the business world will benefit Dublin.

I think more with Pat Gilroy it's probably the business side of things, he's a very successful businessman, some of those things in business lend themselves quite well, in the management side of things, so I think that's a big cue for Dessie Farrell.

DCU begin their Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup campaign away to ATU Donegal in Letterkenny on January the 11th. This clashes with Longford's final group game in the O'Byrne cup O'Byrne cup. Paddy with his experience will manage his way through the hectic Spring of fixtures.

SEE ALSO: Loughgiel Dreaming Of All-Ireland Glory After Whirlwind Season

 

 

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