A Mountmellick clubman is leading one of the biggest college GAA set-ups in the country.
Josh Warde, who was on the U-21 championship winning Sarsfields side, is the current chairman of the DCU men”s football club. He was elected to the position last September and has responsibility for the running of six teams with over 250 players.
“It”s like being chairman of a county board,” said Warde of his new position. “You”re a figurehead and I try to go to as many matches as I can, but the phone is always ringing with fellas asking what”s wrong with this or that.”
“But it”s a wonderful experience and it was really nice to become chairman and to be involved with such a professional set-up as DCU,” he added.
Warde is part of a strong Laois contingent in DCU with Arles/Kilcruise man Ross Munnelly working in the university”s student recruitment office as well as managing the club”s Fresher A side to an All-Ireland league final.
Former county minors Monutmelllick’s Niall Mullen and Killeshin’s Stephen Attride are also playing football at DCU, but Warde believes that coaxing a former Laois county star to play for DCU could be his biggest challenge.
“Colm Parkinson is doing a Masters in Journalism here in DCU,” explained Warde. “I better get in contact with him and try and get him involved, hopefully he might tog out for us some day.”
Away from chasing Parkinson, Warde also aims to change the image of the DCU within GAA circles.
“There is a perception that it’s all about elite players in DCU, but in reality we try and look after every player and ensure that every team from Junior and Fresher C to Sigerson does well.”
Warde, who is in his second year of studying marketing, innovation and technology, was also part of the management team for DCU”s sigerson campaign earlier this year while he acted as a runner during their matches.
“It was great working with players such as Michael Murphy, Paul Flynn and Kieran Gavin who were all on that team”, said Warde, “I was nervous at first as you don”t want to mess anything up but I think most players were delighted to see me coming!”
On top of his involvement with DCU”s Sigerson team, chairman Warde also co-manages the DCU Fresher B team and helped guide them to a historic league/championship double in 2011. Warde says his family are massively supportive of his GAA work in DCU, with his father often travelling up to Dublin to see his son”s sides in action.