Fox hails influence of Newton as DIT frame Sigerson Cup success
DUBLIN Institute of Technology made history last Saturday afternoon when claiming their first ever Sigerson Cup following a handsome 3-8 to 0-7 victory over UCC at Athlone IT.
The victory was all the more impressive given their ousting of 2012 champions DCU at the semi-final stages, and the Dublin influence within the side was especially prominent over the two days.
With team manager Seán Fox from Kilmacud Crokes, it was hard to ignore the county link, with the former Dublin junior boss quick to acknowledge the impact and influence that fellow clubman Des Newton had on his side's success.
"Des was an integral part of what we were about this year. Without his efforts, I doubt if we would have been half as successful as we were this year.
"Billy O'Loughlin, Ian O'Connell and Ciarán Stone have been around this group of lads for a few years now and this year, and Des joined us as team coach and selector as we felt that his wealth of experience, knowledge and drive would be of great benefit to the group.
"I would have to say that we are forever grateful that Des accepted our invitation to join us because he immediately gelled with all the lads and raised the bar that extra few inches which has brought us to where we are," said Fox of the former Roscommon player and manager.
That success not only included the highly-coveted Sigerson Cup, as a Ryan Cup victory back in November confirmed a league and championship double, a source of huge satisfaction to Fox.
"The fact that we had never won a Sigerson Cup before has made my first year as manager especially satisfying.
"Doing the double, which has rarely if ever been done before, makes it extra special.
"It is great for the future of football in the college and hopefully this should help cement and secure funding for the development of the Grangegorman venue into a proper GAA facility, which should encourage greater participation from students," he said.
Naturally, the Dublin influence wasn't restricted to the preparation of the team with Kevin O'Brien, Nicky Devereux and Ciarán Reddin all starting in the final, the latter cracking a glorious goal while Paul Maguire kicked a point upon his introduction.
Shane O'Connor from St Sylvester's also appeared on Saturday while other Dubs included in the panel over the year were Conor Walsh, Harry Dawson, Ross Hazely and Seán George.
"It was something I dreamt about when becoming a selector three years ago," added Fox.
"When we realised the stock of talent that we had at our disposal this year, we knew we had to set our stall out right to give the players the best opportunity possible of fulfilling their talents.
"There was great bonding between the players and management and I think it was a pivotal ingredient in our success.
"The lads put in a huge amount of effort and the standard of third-level football is of a calibre that it can only be a positive for all the Dublin players involved as they look to cement places in both the under-21 and senior panels."
DIT were not the only Dublin side to leave Athlone with silverware as Blanchardstown Institute of Technology claimed the Trench Cup following a narrow 0-11 to 0-10 victory over St Patrick's Drumcondra.
Managed by Val Andrews, the Dublin 15 college enjoyed their first success at this level and naturally featured a large sprinkling of Dubs, with Robbie McCarthy, Mark Ferguson, Craig Wilson, Shane Sweeney, Adam Caffrey, Eoghan O'Connell, Fiach Andrews, Eoghan McPhillips and Brendan Bentley among those involved in the panel.