Colm O'Rourke is an Irish former Gaelic football player, coach, and sports pundit. O'Rourke began his football career with his local club, Simonstown Gaels, before joining the Meath senior team in 1975. During his career, O'Rourke won four All-Ireland medals with Meath, two National Football League titles, and seven Leinster Senior Football Championship medals.
He later worked as a sports commentator and analyst for RTÉ and has become a well-known and respected voice in Irish sports media. Colm talks to us about his life and career, while giving advice to those who might be considering a change.
Just do it! There is nothing to think about, get stuck in.
Q1. As a former GAA player and now the Meath Team Manager, what inspired you to pursue a career in coaching and team management?
"The natural progression is from playing to coaching, and as a secondary school teacher in St. Patricks Classical school in Navan, I was involved in coaching many teams even when I was still playing. The same applied at the Club level, and it has turned out to be a successful and rewarding involvement. Being part of something where everyone is giving something back and not looking for anything out of the GAA was always appealing."
Q2. What are the most important qualities of a successful team player, in your opinion?
"The most important thing to be a successful team player is a lack of selfishness and generosity and empathy for your fellow players. There must be a willingness to sacrifice yourself for the common good. Everything has to be for the best interest of the team, and that trumps individual ambition and ego."
Q3. What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career in coaching and team management?
"The advice I would give to anyone who is interested in coaching is the Nike ad, "just do it". There is nothing to think about, get stuck in. Giving other people satisfaction and making them happy is good for everyone."
That was a special day, perhaps even better than winning anything myself.
Q4. In your years of working, what would you consider to be your best memory or achievement?
"Lots of good memories. Winning All Irelands with Meath and a couple of championships with my Club Skryne. Just as good was managing my new Club, Simonstown, to their first senior championship in 2016 with my son playing midfield. That was a special day, perhaps even better than winning anything myself."
Q5. How has your approach to coaching evolved over the years, and what have you learned from your experiences?
"Everyday coaching is a school day. You must be willing to listen and learn from everyone involved, even if you have to make the final decisions. The most enduring thing which will never change is that it has to be an enjoyable experience for players. Otherwise, there is no point in doing it. It's not work. The reward is a healthy pursuit, lots of friends and people to tell you often when you are making mistakes. Just in case you would ever get a big head!"
Q6. What's the best career decision you've ever made?
"The best career decision I ever made was to marry my wife, Patricia. So the advice for any young man is to get a good partner."
Q7. If you were entering the workforce again, would you do anything differently?
"If I was entering the workforce again, I think I might choose to be a vet or something involving horses. Yet in saying that, I received incredible satisfaction from being involved with young people who were always kind, generous, loyal and committed."
Wonderful insights from you Colm. We cannot wait to see what the future brings!