Museum’s ‘wall of glory’ a fitting tribute to remarkable sportsman

June 4, 2013

Former Crossmaglen Rangers and Armagh star Oisín McConville recently donated his entire medal collection to the GAA Museum at Croke Park.

In what can only be described as a wall of glory, the display represents the remarkable story of Oisin’s unique playing career with his club and county.

Beside an impressive 42 medals acquired during his senior footballing career spanning twenty years, Oisin’s Crossmaglen Rangers number 13 jersey takes pride of place in the museum’s cabinet.

Having been approached by the museum’s curator to consider donating his extensive medal haul for display, Oisin said the request – although totally unexpected – is a great honour, both for himself and his family.

When asked if he ever thought he’d be in such a position to make such a donation to a museum, Oisin replied: “Definitely not. When you’re playing football you just want to win and keep winning and you don’t really notice them [the medals] until they start tallying up.  It’s a lovely thing to be asked to display your medals but the person who would have the last say on it is my mother because she looked after them.  She wore my All-Ireland medal around her neck so I was very wary of taking that away from her.  But she was happy enough [to see them donated] because she realized it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to display them and let other people see them instead of them being stuck in a box.”

Indeed his mother, Margaret, made the curator’s job much easier as she had every medal labelled and carefully stored away, he revealed.

Although extremely proud, and rightly so, of all his winning medals, Oisin hesitated when asked which one means the most to him.

“That’s a very tough question.  If I had to narrow it down it would be to two.  The Armagh All-Ireland one in 2002 was a massive one, and also my club All-Ireland medal from 2007, because I was captain that year which made it that little bit more special as I was leading the team.”

And he can easily recall the first medal in his collection: “The first medal was the county title in 1996 when we beat Clan na Gael.  And the most recent one is the 2012 Ulster championship medal when we won the final against Kilcoo.”

The impressive museum display in honour of Oisin McConville is surely worth the trip for many to witness such a  fitting and lasting tribute to the man few would argue to be one of Ireland’s greatest Gaelic footballers of all time.