Jordan Morrissey: “To succeed in anything in life you have to make sacrifices. I have no regrets”.

Two - time DCU graduate and Carlow senior football player Jordan Morrisey was the 2023 recipient of the Chancellor’s medal, DCU’s highest student accolade. Jordan spoke about the sacrifices he made as a student, the importance of Paddy Christie and why staying in touch with DCU is important to him.

Before Jordan and I sat down to chat, he attended lunch at DCU’s ‘1838 Club Restaurant’ in Albert College with a number of staff members. One being James Galvin, Head of Sport & Wellbeing, who described Jordan as one of the finest students DCU has ever had. When I put that to Jordan he smiled.

“It's hard when someone gives you a compliment like that, because obviously there are so many great people and students after passing through these halls. I’m very humbled by what James said. James has been very good to me.”

“As a high performance athlete DCU provides your gym. If you’re struggling with particular subjects they provide tutoring. They really do give you the platform to excel in both your academics and sport. You can’t let one fall behind. For James to say that is very humbling”.

Sacrifices for success

For all Jordan has achieved - first class honours in his undergraduate and masters studies, receiving the Intel Academic scholarship and winning four Carlow senior football championships with Eire Og - his modesty is remarkable. But he admitted that this success did not come without some sacrifice. Something had to give.

“It was usually the social life for me anyway, I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy any student experience. You need to get enjoyment out of different things, winning a game or certain aspects of research. It’s amazing. To get to those levels, you have to strike a balance”.

“There’s not enough hours in the day. You might miss nights out and you might not get to attend a friend’s birthday or a family event.  To succeed in anything in life you have to make sacrifices. I have no regrets. It’s something that I say quite often but once you’re enjoying what you’re doing, I think that’s the most important thing and I certainly enjoyed my time here”

His journey as a student and athlete was something of a rollercoaster, with a constantly evolving route.

“You would be jumping levels every year. You have to adapt a little bit more. Rather than thinking today I have to do x, y, z. Start making a note, what do I have to do now? What needs to be done by this day with a deadline on wednesday and championship on Saturday. I need to balance and prioritise”. 

In short, Jordan had to become very good at time management.

Importance of Paddy Christie

In his first year at the university, Jordan was captain of the Fresher A football team which captured a third consecutive All - Ireland Championship with a narrow victory over the University of Limerick under lights in Portarlington. The Fresher hurling team also won their championship for a second year in a row. It was an environment where elite athletes could thrive. It cemented the vital role of sport in Jordan’s university life and inspired him.

Two years later, Jordan won a Sigerson Cup medal with DCU. It was the fifth time DCU had reached the summit of University football. 

“It was really special. At the time it probably felt like one of the best experiences of my sporting life. I suppose when you're in the moment, everything feels like that, especially winning a game of that status.

“But then bringing it back to my own club and county, when I won my first senior championship with my club, I was only 18. At the time that felt like the pinnacle of my career. Everything is relative. The thing that’s different about Sigerson is the fact you're playing with players that have gone on to win All-Stars and All-Irelands. With Carlow that is not the goal we have. But you get to share the field with those guys, you make friends for life and you’re learning from players that are competing at that level of sport.”

Paddy Christie is a fellow member of DCU’s graduate community, a two time DCU graduate  and Jordan’s Sigerson manager. Paddy has always believed in the Sigerson cup and the opportunity that it represents. It is a rare and indefinite opportunity to break down the county divide and for players outside of the dominant counties to have an equal shot at success. 

Paddy had a remarkable 12 year intercounty career. He won Leinster championship medals in 2002, 2005 and 2006. In 2005 he was captain of Dublin having won a coveted All - Star three years earlier.  Paddy didn’t win an All - Ireland medal. But in 2017, DCU graduate Philly McMahon did an interview with Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late show, where he said despite the absence of a celtic cross medal in Paddy’s collection “he has his hand on probably 20 medals because of the players he pushed through.” 

Similarly, Jordan holds Paddy in the highest regard.

“I’d still be very close with Paddy. It’s probably one thing about Paddy, his man management and his people skills are second to none. It’s amazing on a personal level and on a professional level.

“He’s now managing Longford. He’s managed other teams in the past that I come up against, but we’re still quite close. Anytime before we would go to play a game, if we’re on opposite ends of the field, playing against each other, he’d come up to me before the game and we’d have a chat. ‘How am I, how’s work going’. He wants you to succeed in all aspects of life.”

Staying in touch with DCU

Jordan’s time in DCU was an important part of his life and he understands the value of staying in touch with his Alma Mater.

“It’s been an amazing time. My course, the people I’ve met. We met President Dáire Keogh there, James, and Ross Munnelly, you come back in and you’re just comfortable. This is somewhere where I feel comfortable.

“I want to stay in touch with this time of my life. The amount of fond memories that you have on the field, in the lecture hall, in the Nubar. All of those things are so important. Any opportunity you have, to remember and get back to that time in your life. It’s been a great place to me and I love DCU. I want the best for it.”

Cillian Boggan is a final Year BA Journalism & student ambassador with the DCU Alumni Relations office