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'It is a big boost for them to be looking up to Oisin' - Armagh great McConville takes over rising Monaghan club

The Crossmaglen legend’s arrival is a major coup for Inniskeen Grattans.

ARMAGH ALL-IRELAND WINNER Oisin McConville will take his next steps into management with Monaghan club outfit Inniskeen Grattans. 

oisin-mcconville Armagh and Cross legend Oisin McConville. Source: Presseye/Andrew Paton/INPHO

The Crossmaglen legend has been involved in club and college management, and has also worked in an inter-county set-up, since calling time on his stellar 20-year playing career in February 2013.

McConville first dipped his toes into that scene at his native Cross, where he was joint-manager with John McEntee between 2014 and 2016. The pair delivered two Armagh county senior titles and an Ulster crown in their time at the helm. 

He also worked with the Laois hurlers as a sports psychologist under Eamonn Kelly, and has had success as Dundalk Institute of Technology’s [DKIT] Trench Cup manager.

Having most recently managed Meath club side Seneschalstown, McConville’s next challenge lies in the Farney county at Inniskeen.

The club announced the news on Sunday afternoon, with Inniskeen treasurer Donal McArdle discussing the coup with The42 this afternoon. 

“Obviously it is a big boost, especially for them young chaps,” McArdle said. “Our underage structure has been working well over the last couple of years and the result is now that we have a good young panel there, good young players.

It is a good boost for them to be looking up to the likes of Oisin, who has gone and done it at the highest level.

Among his vast career highlights, McConville won six All-Ireland club titles with Cross, 16 Armagh titles and 10 Ulster crowns. And with Armagh, he landed an All-Ireland in 2002 — he was Man of the Match that day — two All-Stars, seven Ulster crowns and one National League medal.

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“Maybe four or five of our younger players have all worked under Oisin already in DKIT,” McArdle added, explaining how their new recruit came on board. “He would be familiar with some of them so that’s good to have, too.

Probably our captain from last year, Colm Meegan, and Donal Meegan, would have been two of the players that worked with him. They won the Trench Cup under Oisin. His name would have been put up to the committee.

He added: “Aidan Lynch, a local man here, was with us for three years. Aidan took over three years ago when probably no one wanted to play. It was hard enough to get men, we were intermediate at the time.

oisin-mcconville-2292002-digital McConville celebrating the All-Ireland win in 2002. Source: INPHO

“Aidan came in. We got promoted to senior in 2017, and then in 2018 — our first year senior — we stayed up. It was Clontibret and ironically, Magheracloone, and ourselves that was fighting relegation. 

“We actually beat Magheracloone in a three-point game, a massive local derby in Inniskeen last year, and that secured our senior status. Then, this year, we were probably unlucky, but stayed up.

Aidan did a tremendous job over the last three years, just with work commitments and that, Aidan couldn’t commit to us. Oisin’s name was put forward. We thought that this could be something over the next two years that could a big step for some of these young players to have someone like him on board.

McArdle explained how McConville lives quite close to Inniskeen, and how their top-class ground and facilities would have been a big draw for McConville, who has done his fair share of commentary and punditry of late. 

“It works out for both sides,” he concluded. “The big thing is for the younger players to see him, and to get that sort of culture into them as well.”

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Emma Duffy

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