Teaching Lessons from Sport to Business

“Business and sport have a lot in common, and in many cases, those who succeed in one are ideally positioned to do very well in the other.”

Those were the words of new Dublin Hurling Manager Pat Gilroy talking to students and business leaders at the Electric Ireland sponsored UCD Smurfit Business School Breakfast in the Shelbourne Hotel on Wednesday morning.

“A lot of it is down to mindset, well-being, focus and even diet – the whole package.”

“Having been involved at the top level of Dublin’s hurling and football set-ups, you always need to have your own head right, first and foremost. That’s one of the most important elements when building for the future.”

The theme of the breakfast was ‘Building for the Future’ with Gilroy, taking questions from sports journalist Shane Stapleton.  Stapleton is also part of the AIB All Ireland Club Champions Cuala and is preparing for a back to back Leinster Final in that same competition on Sunday.

The two discussed how carefully ‘building for the future’ helped Gilroy turn the Dublin football team he took over in 2008 into champions just three years later.

Dublin GAA was at a low ebb when Gilroy first walked into the dressing room; almost relegated from Division 1 in his first season and without an All Ireland Final appearance since 1995.

The turnaround was quick, however, as just two years later, they lifted their first Sam Maguire in 16 years.

Gilroy’s mindset and his own experience from playing in the 1995 final helped to instil a winning mentality.

Pat Gilroy said,

Gilroy knows a thing or three about business as well, as MD of engineering contractors Designer Group.

“If you’re not constantly looking forward in business, you’re going to run into problems.”

“Today’s theme, “Building for the Future” resonates strongly across Electric Ireland, and the wider ESB Group,” said ESB Chief Executive Pat O’Doherty, introducing the discussion.

“This is reflected in our commitment to building a low carbon future for our customers and communities. We are building future capability through our apprenticeship and graduate development programmes, our sponsorship of education and our support for young people as proud sponsor of the Electric Ireland GAA Minor Championships.”

Organised by students of UCD Smurfit Business School, the UCD Business Breakfast provides hands-on experience in managing a corporate event and the opportunity to network with key stakeholders in the hopes of meeting future employers.

Electric Ireland has proudly sponsored the breakfast for the past 16 years.


In 2018 Sport for Business will host 20 events linking sport and business in ways that make a difference to how we all do such a great job, as well as producing our Daily News Digest covering the commercial world of Irish sport.

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