With DBS Éanna seeking a first Irish cup title this Saturday night against University of Galway Maree, Seán Jenkins spoke with BiE’s Emmet Ryan
He’s as Cork as a bottle of Tanora beside a box of Barry’s* Tea but DBS Éanna’s Seán Jenkins will proudly and happily win the Irish cup with a Dublin club if that’s the case this Saturday night. Not that he’s been able to forget his Neptune roots at any stage this season, having face his old club in both Super League and cup action before sitting on the bench with injury at Neptune Stadium for the semi-final win over Ballincollig.
“It was wild playing them. It’s the club I grew up with my whole life and being back there in a different uniform was weird. I’m still friends with loads of them and I love them to death but it was still a good feeling to come out on top,” Jenkins said.
“Everybody was more surprised than me that I went to a Dublin club. I had three or four months to think about it. It was a good fit because I was born in Dublin, still have family up here, so it’s not something I’m unfamiliar with.”
*In the great Barry’s vs Lyon’s debate, I disgust everyone by just going for Aldi’s own brand. What can I say, I like builder grade tea.
After playing college ball with Presbyterian in the US, Jenkins is back in Ireland studying in Technological University Dublin.
“I’m progressing a lot. It’s a different game over here. It’s more slowed down and focused on fundamentals. In America it was go go go, all speed and athleticism. I knew what to expect when I came back so I was prepared,” Jenkins said.
“The biggest thing for me is being honest with myself, not getting too complacent or cocky. At the end of the day, this is where I grew up playing and I just want to keep on improving.”
Jenkins is part of one of the deepest rosters in the Irish Super League, shown if anything by how it managed to reach this final despite missing him, Scott Kinevane, and Marko Tomic for their semi final win.
“Scott has taken me under his wing, he knew me from a baby and made sure I was on track. All the lads have been great from [Coach] Darren [McGovern] all the way down to the underage lads coming up to the team,” he said.
“I remember playing summer scrimmages in UCD and Mark [Reynolds] came up and we were all telling him how much we needed him back. You can see it in the last couple of games he’s had, he’s been a big plus. He’s been coming up big for us. Hopefully he has another couple of years left in him.”
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After 5 years in the US, Jenkins has come back to a far more cosmopolitan league than the one he left.
“There’s real diversity in our team, we probably have more players from the rest of Europe than Irish players. It’s such a perfect mix, Serbians, Americans, an English player, Croats, we all come together and we’re such a big family,” he said.
The way this Éanna side has come together over the past couple of seasons has made them a tough test for any opponent and they lead the Northern Conference of the Super League at present.
“We know what our end goal is. We’re tied at the top of the conference. We can hopefully win the cup and, once that is however, concentrate on the league,”
“The first time I played a game in front of my family since I was back was in Neptune. It’s going to be a special moment with them on Saturday, I’m really looking forward to it.”
Jenkins is committed through to at least next season due to his college commitments in a sports studies degree but he is keen to test himself beyond this league upon graduation. That said, he’s all about what’s right in front of him.
“Definitely, I’ll be looking at going somewhere professionally. This weekend though it’s about doing what we’ve done in the past, focus on working as a team. It’s about sacrificing personal agendas for the team goals,”
“It’s good to see us gelling. Our season doesn’t end after the cup. We want to finish the season winning the cup and the league, it doesn’t happen often. Hopefully we can make history.”
Given his extreme focus, it was my journalistic duty to try and get Jenkins briefly off his game. While in Dublin, he’s living with team mates Joshua Wilson and Marko Tomic but which one is the better cook?
“Oh I’ll get in trouble here. Josh relies on his seasoning, that’s the American style, but Marko has a little bit more experience. I’ll give them a tie but they’re definitely better than me.”