|"Doing the Level 6 science foundation course gave me a head start in my first year..."
It is no great surprise that when Dublin GAA star Shane Carthy was filling in his CAO form, sports-related courses were his top two preferences.
However he was shy on points for both and so didn't get an offer for either, and decided against his third choice, a degree programme in international business.
"By then, I wasn't too keen on it and I decided to explore other options, including a Level 6, pre-university science course at Coláiste Dhúlaigh, Coolock." The one-year course was developed with Dublin City University (DCU) and Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) to meet the needs of students who want to do a science degree but either haven't got the required CAO points or need a foundation in certain subjects.
It can open the door to entry to about 14 courses in the two colleges. Shane (20) found it "hugely beneficial", not least because, while he had studied biology as a pupil at Portmarnock Community School, this course also covers physics and chemistry, which he had not done before.
"You have to touch on all three of these subjects during the degree programme and it gave me a head start in first year Sports Science and Health in DCU." In fact he says that doing the foundation year was probably the "best thing that could have happened; I know by talking to a few others in my class, who came straight in on CAO points, that they found it difficult with chemistry and physics, if they hadn't already done them."
Shane also successfully applied for an elite sports scholarship in DCU, which afforded him financial and other supports, allowing the midfielder, who plays club football with Naomh Mearnóg, to train at the highest levels, while also keeping up with his studies. At the end of his first year he says "it is definitely the right course for me. I always had an interest in sports, but there is a difference between having an interest and going into a course and really liking it."
Shane, who has spoken publicly about his battle with depression last year, is now looking forward to second year and would like a career in either sports massage or sports psychology, but awaits his work placement in third year, to help him make that decision.