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This Article was written by Chloe Seymour

During the first ICE championship, UCC ‘Netsoc’ were represented in League of Legends (LOL) before a lull in the second year. I was recently talking to the new president of UCC’s Netsoc, Cian McGrath and according to him, this is soon to change! Cian has been a driving force seeing UCC represented in both League of Legends and Overwatch (OW) by UCC students!

Talking about his experience in being elected as chairperson for the society, Cian expresses his excitement and how humbled he is to be chosen to represent the society alongside the new committee, who he describes as ‘fantastic’.

The first plan of action for Cian and Netsoc is to get more teams started for games such as CSGO and to expand on the available opportunities for Smash players to travel around the country. Alongside Jason Power, one of the I.C.E casters and a former Netsoc committee member, Cian has been working to improve the process of involving UCC in esports seamless for future leaders in the society. Cian also mentioned that they are ‘hoping to organise a few exhibition games with other colleges if possible.’, further investing the college in the esports community.

When asked if he thought it would be difficult to get UCC up to the level of involvement in esports as other colleges like DCU, Cian stated “the only thing standing in our way is time. Time will tell whether the same passion for esports is there as in other colleges.” Cian suggested that so far there has been great enthusiasm towards the prospect of a larger UCC esports community, so his hopes are high.

So far they have been working to get the word out that there will be much more work put into the community from now and to encourage people to get involved. Though a clear issue Cian said he has seen is that a lot of people are ‘nervous’ about getting involved. Many people feel they aren’t skilled enough to get involved, as a result of this Netsoc is making efforts to be as beginner friendly as possible. Cian also expressed the great respect he has for the people already involved in the Netsoc teams, who make time to work and be involved in the community.

In reply to being asked as to whether there would be a separate society made specifically for esports, Cian confirmed that this would not be happening and Netsoc (Which is also the games society) is the place to go if you’re looking to get involved in esports in UCC. “so long as there is continued interest, Netsoc will cater for that interest”. He expressed his gratitude towards I.C.E in the help provided by Aidan and the rest of the team in getting UCC more involved, he mentioned that he hopes to continue working with them next year as well. While Cian and his team in Netsoc handled much of the hands-on issues themselves, I.C.E acted as a guide for them in ‘uncharted territory’.

Despite his lack of skill in ‘any and all video games’, He voiced his plans to continue doing his best to help those who want to be involved in the esports community at a college level. Hoping to get regularly involved in I.C.E tournaments in CSGO, Overwatch, Smash and League of Legends. If that is not immediately possible Cian suggested they would work on getting some smaller, more local exhibitions for the teams to play in.

Cian and his colleague Jason had been brainstorming names, and while they wanted to keep UCC Netsoc at the fore of the esports teams name, “Jason made the point that “Netsoc _____” had no connection to Cork, as such we decided to go for the moniker ‘Rebels’”. Cian said he felt this kept close ties to Cork for the team, while also keeping the society close to heart despite the fact that it doesn’t have the college name in it.

Cian said that overall, the college media and other societies have been supportive and open to the idea of providing Netsoc with some funding over the next year in order to expand the esports community. The college media have been very helpful in providing great exposure according to Cian.

When asked about I.C.E and the opportunities presented by college level esports in the competitive world, Cian felt that I.C.E is a ‘great way’ for players to get used to the structure of competitive play. However, he felt that the opportunity presented to casters is ‘absolutely fantastic’, he feels it is something that will definitely stick to them in the future.

While some big steps have been taken in the past few years in order to improve the esports community and help show it in a more serious light, Cian doesn’t feel that we are not quite at the level for esports scholarships, the likes of which are now being provided in America. He believes that in the next 10 years, we could start to see independent scholarships for the best players in Ireland but would be surprised if the colleges themselves started recognising the talent.

From interviewing Cian, it is clear he, among others, has big plans for UCCs involvement in collegiate level esports and he is definitely putting those plans into play in order to give opportunities to those who are willing and able to take them.

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