Jim McCorry - Kilcoo Championship Winning Manager

16 November 2009

In July Kilcoo travelled to Donegal Town to go on a Break For Ball Team Building weekend. They went on to dump Mayobride out of the championship a couple of weeks later, before going on to win their first Down Senior Championship Title in seventy-two years.

Break For Ball speaks to the man behind this historic win - Former Armagh manager Jim McCorry.

1. Congratulations Jim on your fantastic season thus far. What did it mean to yourself, the players, club and whole community to win a county Title?

 

It is hard to describe in words what it really means to the local community to win the title. You will understand the relief, joy and excitement, having waited for over 70 years for the title to finally come to Kilcoo. There were great scenes of joy and laughter but also tears of joy and sadness as people enjoyed the celebrations but reflected on those who would have been involved in the club over the years who were no longer there to share in the great experience. On a personal level it was fantastic for me, along with Sean Johnson and Mark Kelly as the Management Team, to enjoy the celebrations with them on this historic occasion.


2. How important do you believe it is for teams to engage in Team Building trips and why?

 

It is essential in my view for team building initiatives within squads at some stage during the season. Obviously some Managers prefer pre-season team building trips as part of the preparation. In our case, I had planned a team building trip prior to the championship as I believe it was the platform for moving forward this year in terms of preparation for what was really the primary competition in our sporting calendar year.

 

3. Whatwas thestructure of your weekend in Donegal, and what were the highlights?

The weekend trips can be over 2 or 3 days, in our case we planned for 2 days, leaving early on Saturday morning, arriving in Donegal for a training season on our own, and lunch thereafter in Donegal town. The afternoon was the main team building activity were we went to Bundoran for surfing. This was a fantastic experience for all of us, including the more mature Managers who tried to keep up with the younger players in terms of trying to be first up onto the surf board ... a task that I failed miserably in, I have to say. The fun and laughter was great but there was also great team building worked into that environment as each tried to help each other ride the waves. The only difficulty with such an exercise is trying to bring it to a conclusion as players had to be forcibly dragged from the waves.

That evening after an excellent dinner we had a debriefing and due to unforeseen circumstances, John O'Mahony was unable to join us. This did not detract from our preparations as it allowed for a team meeting and assessment of season goals and plans for the forthcoming championship.



4. Is it all hard work and no play, or can there be time to let the hair down a little when away?

I would have to say, it is not all hard work and no play. It is what you put into it, that you get out of it. There is a lot of hard work but there is a lot of fun with the Team Building weekend and it is important that it is structured on such a basis that the players look forward to it and enjoy it. The litmus test for me is that they cannot wait for the next Team Building weekend away. Different Managers will have different views on how much time players are allowed to let their hair down. In our case, players are allowed to have a social event that evening, have a few drinks and some craic and enjoy themselves, on the basis that the early morning training session is not affected!!



5. On reflection, do you believe your Team Building Weekend played a role in your success?
Yes or No, can you give the reasons why.

 

On reflection, I have no doubt in saying that the Team Building weekend played a significant role in our success this year. A number of younger players were brought into the squad this year and considering the difference will be 10/11 years in some cases, this allowed for all players to intermix and to fully enjoy themselves. In preparation on the football field, training sessions and game planning, it was superb and I have no doubt that in travelling together, having meals together and the team meetings all contributed in no uncertain way to our overall success at the end of the year.


6. Double All-Ireland winning manager John O'Mahonycame up to give a motivationaltalk to the boys ahead of your Semi-Final win.How beneficial was thisand what kind ofadvice or motivation did he offer?

 

Due to success in the Provincial Championships, John O'Mahony was unable to attend that weekend. True to his word, he did come to Kilcoo to give us a motivational talk. John was inspirational to our players as he talked about preparation for championship as opposed to normal league preparations. He talked about his experience at winning championships and how to prepare to the required level on each occasion. He also engaged the players and management in a simple but effective discussion on what makes "winners and losers.