Niall O’Neill


How many years have you been a coach/facilitator?

I have been coaching for over 10 years, since the age of 15 in a variety of sports on both a voluntary and paid basis. I have been a facilitator for 5 years since completing my university degrees and further qualifications.


What history do you have in sport?

I have been involved in sport from the very young age of 4 specifically in Gaelic Football and Hurling. I was introduced to these sports by my family and have become an active member of  local GAA club Naomh Gall were I have obtained lifelong friends and memories. I was lucky enough to have a few successful juvenile years and won a number of championship titles playing in both sports. This success followed through into my senior career where I have won a variety of championship and league titles again in both fields. Most notable awards include x6 Antrim Senior Football Championships, X2 Antrim Intermediate Senior Hurling Championships, x1 Ulster Senior Football Championship, X2 Ulster Intermediate Hurling Championships, X1 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship and X2 Kilmacud All-Ireland Senior Football 7s Championships.

I have had the privilege to Captain or Vice-Captain a number of these squads throughout my playing career.  I have also represented County Antrim in Gaelic Football and Hurling at youth development, Minor, U21 and Senior level. I am a keen sports athlete and have played and been on other teams to include Soccer, Basketball, Golf etc.

I have obtained a range of coaching qualifications ranging from Multi-Sport to sport specific.


How long have you worked at Community Sports Network/BCSDN?

In total I have worked for the company close to 5 years. I joined on a voluntary basis and then adopted a part-time position in 2015. Following an internship year in 2016, I was then employed full-time as a Sport for Development Facilitator at the beginning of 2017 until present.


Best memory from your time at Community Sports Network/BCSDN?

My best memory with CSN was when I co-lead our SheerSKILL Schools programme in 2017. It proved to be a challenging but enjoyable process working with over 50 young people aged 16-19 over a 12 week period from both sides of the community. It was extremely rewarding to see the positive difference and impact our programme had made in such a short period of time to the lives of these young people. It not only helped prepare them professionally but also personally in terms of their own self-development. The programme give me a great sense of pride in working for such a worthwhile and unique charity.


Best thing about working at Comuunity Sports Network?

I love the diversity of our work. Every day is different and you meet some fantastic people along the journey.


What is your favourite sport?

My favourite sport all day every day is Gaelic Football. Hurling comes in a close second to be fair.
I do love a round of golf now and again too but only when it is sunny and dry!


Favourite Sports Person?

I have a few but I will note 2;  In Gaelic Football it has to be Alan Brogan from Dublin. He was my favourite player since a kid. I admired not only his ability on the pitch but also how he worked for the team and how he was a true leader.
In football/soccer – Lionel Messi….. enough said!