Since their appearance on RTÉ’s Late Late Show in February student-owned business ROC Protection has continued to grow and develop.
The dynamic trio of Ross Byrne, Carl Cullen and Cormac Spain, from Clonkeen College, Blackrock in Dublin, came up with the idea as 17-year-olds for their transition year mini company project.
As a lot of readers may already be aware from their two appearances with Ryan Tubridy, their innovative idea is to provide all GAA players with a protective base layer to reduce the impact of sliotars and hurleys when playing.
Certainly they are grateful for the appearances on the show.
“The Late Late was a huge point for us as a business. The week after our second appearance was our best week ever in terms of sales,” Cormac Spain said.
As mentioned, ROC Protection was originally a small project for their transition year mini company, however, with their perseverance and diligence, they became eventual winners of this year’s Irish Student Enterprise national competition, which attracted over 22,000 secondary school participants.
Pundit Arena recently caught up with the trio behind the business to discuss their education, their future ambitions for the product and the results of their appearance on Ireland’s longest running chat show.
Currently the trio are fifth year students in Clonkeen College in south Dublin but even though their business has developed significantly over the past year they are adamant that their “main goal” for the moment is the Leaving Cert. They are hoping that by the time they have completed the dreaded exams, their business will be still going strong and “continuing to expand,” Spain said.
While studying hard for their Leaving Cert and handling a business at the same time, life is difficult but they are not willing to let their business stagnate and the effort they place into it is overwhelming.
Cormac said there are “future ambitions to keep expanding and make ourselves a well-known sports brand.”
Even lately, they released a brand new product called the ‘ROC Soc’.
“The big dream is to make ourselves a well-known name not only in hurling in Ireland but in all sports around the world.”
Like with every business, though, not everyone is going to be on board – not initially anyway.
“We knew what we were getting ourselves into. We don’t pay attention to these people and the fact they bother giving out about us pushes us on even further.
“We are three 17-year-olds trying to do our best with a product we see as a necessity in the GAA. People naturally will undermine us but we will prove them wrong.”
Undoubtedly, the three best friends have their heads on their shoulders, even gracefully giving advice to other young entrepreneurs thinking about venturing down the business route.
“Find something that you have a passion for, believe in your product and most importantly don’t listen to anyone who doubts you. Don’t worry about what other people think. It’s your idea and your business.”
Currently, the protective base layer retails at €55 and can be bought directly from their website.
We wish the innovative trio the very best of luck in their exams and cracking into the GAA market.
Jason Redmond, Pundit Arena