Oisin McConville met with Ardee Community School students last week.
Ardee Community School welcomed a very special guest on Wednesday last (March 14th) as former Armagh football Oisin McConville paid a visit to talk to students and teachers about his life in sport and his battles with addiction.
The visit was marked the beginning of Ardee CS' Upbeat Week, a week-long series of events held at the school to encourage positive thinking, openness and well-being among students, families, teachers and staff.
In a 15 year inter-county career, McConville helped the Orchard County to seven Ulster titles and the All-Ireland Championship in 2002 when Joe McKernarn's side beat Kerry. McConville scored 1-02 and walked away from Croke Park with the Man of the Match award.
The ex-player now plys his trade locally at Smarmore Castle Private Clinic, just outside of Ardee, where he works as an addiction counsellor. Oisin suffered from a serious gambling addiction throughout his most successful playing days, from 1994 to 2008. Now free from his addiction sharing his experience and knowledge to help others in a similar situation.
McConville gave an inspirational talk to the students, including keen sportspeople and footballers in the school who were treated to a motivational speech about playing the game and tactical strategies.
All of the students were delighted to meet a well known and highly respected footballer who posed for photos with them afterwards. He talked to them about “team ethic” and used brainteasers for teambuilding.
Oisín spoke specfically to the senior students in the school about his personal story of addiction that lasted from the age of 14 to 30. He alerted the students to the warning signs of associated with gambling addiction, how to approach a young person in trouble and how to help. His talk was positive and encouraged well-being.
His visit to the school was organised by Ms. Bridget Smith, the Ardee Community School Home School Liaison teacher.