T/W: Sexual Abuse and Child Abuse 

In a live-streamed interview with Off The Ball, University College Dublin (UCD) Alumnus and former professional Rugby Union Player, Brian O’Driscoll, addressed the sexual abuse case of former UCD Director of Rugby and founder of the UCD Rugby Academy, John McLean. O’Driscoll’s response to the news was “I’ve been as shocked and appalled as everybody else.”

In the interview, he particularly noted that from his own point of view “what has upset me is the knowledge that every time that I might have spoken in a positive manner about him, what that must have done to those poor victims, how that must have impacted them. How it must have been like a knife in the stomach to them and hearing someone speak glowingly about someone that has had such a negative impact on their lives.” 

After knowing McLean for such a long time, he was asked did he ever suspect anything to which he replied “…if I had ever suspected anything, I would have never spoken in a positive manner like I did that time in Blackrock college or at any other time, I was completely shocked by this when it came to light a few years ago…” 

The question of how he ended up at UCD arose and how it was a huge cause of concern, the former UCD alumnus agreed and stated “It’s completely unacceptable, it’s a disgrace that someone like him could be protected in moving between positions, have we not learned anything from the past? Things being swept under the carpet, pretending they never happened. It’s totally unacceptable and can never happen again.” 

John McClean (76) Convicted for 23 counts of Sexual Abuse of Minors

The ex-Ireland captain had known McLean since playing under him at Leinster schools in 1997 and during his time at UCD. He had once called McLean one of the most influential coaches in his career but now speaks about how shocked and appalled he was to learn of the abuse that happened. In November 2020, McLean pled guilty to 27 charges of indecently assaulting and sexually abusing 23 victims while teaching English and coaching rugby in Terenure college from 1973 to 1990.

McLean was employed by UCD from 1997 until 2011. He has been sentenced to 11 years of prison time with 3 years suspended.

Angelina PierceReporter

If anyone has been affected by this or similar stories, there are some supports to reach out to:

Rape Crisis Centre: 

Call: 1800 77 88 88


Call: 01 867 0701

Pieta House:

Call: 1800 247 247


Call: 01116123


Call: 1890 474 474