By Niall Gartland
HE’S a committed teacher and an accomplished gaelic footballer who recognises the importance of having role models around during those all-important formative years – so Conall McCann has decided to set up a new mentorship scheme geared towards helping youngsters on the look out for some guidance in life.
McCann was encouraged to take the plunge by his sister Grainne, who believed that the Killyclogher star should put his knack for helping others to good use beyond the doors of the classroom.
As a middle brother, Conall has been on both sides of the fence – elder brother Tiernan has always been on hand to offer advice and assistance, while younger sibling Oisin was parachuted into the Tyrone U20 set-up last year after his own personal development improved tenfold when training alongside Conall.
However, he recognised that some children and young adults aren’t so lucky, so he’s started a new venture where they can talk to him on a one-on-one or a group basis about anything in particular – whether it’s personal problems or more general matters of self-improvement.
McCann, who is teaching at the Dean Maguirc College in Carrickmore at the moment, said: “I had a bit of extra time off in January, and I realised a lot of young people and parents are having the same problems at the minute, and I thought I could use my experience of being a teacher to good use and point them in the right direction.
“I don’t want to sell it off as if I’m a mental health expert or anything like that, but I’m just giving a helping hand to any one who basically needs someone to talk to.
“I was always able to ask Tiernan for advice, and Oisin would come to me as well, and I wondered how others less fortunate are able to cope with life, especially as it can be intimidating going to your parents with problems.
“As a teacher I feel I’m good at relating to the children and I can have a bit of craic with them – I don’t see myself as an expert but I feel I’ve learnt a lot through life experience and might be able to help in certain ways.”
Read this week’s Ulster Herald for our full interview with Conall McCann