Well done again to our Sailing Team who competed at last weekend’s All Ireland Schools Sailing Event in Sutton. Alas, neither crew finished among the medals but they competed valiantly. After a successful first day, bad luck followed them on the second. One of the boats, crewed by brother Denis and Max Cully, capsized while the other boat, with Katherine Kelly & Jack O’Hora onboard, broke a mast when colliding with one of the safety boats. These unfortunate series of events scuppered their chances but they still managed to finish a respectable 13th out of 18 schools competing.

The College’s top sailor, Transition Year pupil Tim Norwood, unfortunately didn’t compete at the schools event this year as he was attending the Irish Sailing Association’s Helmsman’s Championship in Dun Laoghaire. Tim has had an extremely successful summer of sailing, winning at the RS Feva Eastern Championships in May and the RS Feva Inland Championships in July and, most recently, the RS Feva Southern Championships in Baltimore. He finished third at the RS Feva National Championships and fourth at the European RS Feva Championships, sailing the only Irish boat at the UK hosted event. He is currently ranked the number one RS Feva sailor in Ireland – a fantastic achievement.

Sailing is becoming an increasingly popular sport amongst our pupils and hopefully we will see further success for our pupils in the coming years – watch this space!

Tom Norwood, on the right, competing for Ireland earlier this summer.

The College was buzzing on Saturday as sport took centre stage once again.  In the afternoon the main events of Sports Day took place, with pupils assigned to one of four teams (red, blue, green and white). The campus was awash with colour as the pupils competed in a wide range of events ranging from the traditional track and field fare (short & long distance running, long jump, high jump etc) to skills based challenges (cricket throw, rugby conversions, soccer penalties, basketball throws etc) to some less traditional events (like the three-legged and caterpillar race). The final races are traditionally the “cloister dash” – a 100 yard sprint from the Hurley Lane gate to Chapel Square. The race is only contested by Form VI pupils and the winners this year were Sasha Cole and Franz Truchsess. Well done to everyone who competed – Sports Day is, for many, the highlight of the year and this year certainly didn’t disappoint. Well done to everyone on the Blue Team for amassing the most points over all the events. Many thanks to Ms. Thompson and Mrs. Johnson, in particular, but to all the teaching and sports coaching staff for their seamless running of the day’s events.

That evening the College’s sporting successes were celebrated at our annual Sports Dinner, with ‘colours’ awarded to those pupils who have excelled in their chosen sports this year. Colours for Rugby were presented to Sean Cooper, Hector Wright, Adam Murphy, Max Hopkins, Kosi Anyim and Joe Gernon. In Basketball, colours were presented to Ryan Gumsheimer, Franz Truchsess and Tiernan Mullane. In Hockey, colours were presented to Ivan Moffit, Sean Cooper, Kitty Morris, Sasha Cole and Ella Noeldeke and in Cricket, colours were awarded to Helen Crampton. The overall Sports Pupils of the Year were awarded to Sean Cooper and Kitty Morris, for their contribution to College sport over the past six years.

Below are a series of photographs, taken by Rev. Owen, from the weekend’s sporting events.

The cricket season started on April 18th and effectively ended on Wednesday last, five weeks later. In that time twenty six matches were played across the teams, albeit with two First I matches to come against Headfort. Their First Year B team were introduced to the rudiments of the game. The First Year A team contains some decent and potentially solid cricketers. They were certainly competitive in their matches. The Senior Team were keen and worked hard however they have not yet played enough cricket or spent enough hours training to compete with those who have done so for years. Nevertheless they managed an excellent league win against a useful Rush team, winning by two runs. They also played competitively in our enjoyable annual fixture against the Leprechauns Cricket Club.

The highlight of the season was the Second XI’s win in their League semi-final against Wesley College. This win by nine runs was marked by a four and three wicket haul by Harry Oke and Harry Kelly respectively. Also Juhyun Kim took five catches at long on or fine fine leg! They lost in the final against Clongowes Wood College First XI playing in the Senior B League. We have just completed two weeks of snappy, ‘Sports Day’ cricket which has involved everyone in the school. If we are to build on the coaching done so far in this frenetic season, as many of our cricketers who live in cricket playing countries as possible need to play for a club in the holidays. That is if they are to progress and develop for next year’s competitive school season.

The Senior Rugby Team failed to defend their Leinster Schools League 2A title yesterday, losing an at times frantic final 31-45 against Ardee Community School in Ashbourne. The rugby on show as of an exceptionally high standard, with both teams using their physical runners to great effect but showing a determination in defence. It was Ardee who started the brighter, maintaining possession in St. Columba’s half for the early period. They soon turned the possession into points, converted a simple penalty in front of the posts. Their team was extremely well drilled and blessed with powerful and effective ball carriers, especially at prop, No.8 and in the centre. They continued to pressurise through possession, eventually dotting down for a try under the posts to lead 0-10. St. Columba’s, playing against a powerful wind in the first half, soon found their feet and some excellent ball carrying from Max Hopkins and Kosi Anyim brought them close to the Ardee line. The ball was recycled quickly – by scrum-half Thady McKeever – to centre Hector Wright who powered over. Thady missed the conversion (the wind was a big factor) but SCC were back in it. St. Columba’s continued to play well and maintain possession but couldn’t penetrate the Ardee line. The Louth side soon regained possession, off loose St. Columba’s play, and scored an opportunistic try just before the end of the first half to lead 5-17 at the break. The supporters on the sideline were optimistic that, with the wind on their backs, St. Columba’s could get back into the game.

The reigning champions started the second half brightly and soon crossed the white line again, this time through Kosi Anyim and converted by Thady McKeever. At 17-12, St. Columba’s were right back in this. But then, the sucker punch. Straight from the restart Ardee pounced on unsecured possession and scored under the posts. St. Columba’s heads dropped while Ardee rallied. They scored two more tries within five minutes and the game seemed all but over with twenty five minutes remaining. They now led 38-12 and there seemed little hope remained for the defending champions. However, St. Columba’s fought back, after some harsh words from their captain Sean Cooper under the posts. They scored quickly after the restart, with Hector Wright crossing for this second try, with McKeever converting. Another try soon followed, after some of the substitutes combined to turn defence into attack on the SCC ’22’. The same substitutes, Rowan Sweeney and Joel Taylor, finished off the move with Joel touching down in the corner. The score now stood at 38-24 and there was a glimmer of hope. Ardee were beginning to tire and the St. Columba’s power runners were stepping up again – Hector, Hopkins and Anyim carried hard but a lack of patience inside the Ardee ’22’ meant they couldn’t get closer on the score board. In fact it was Ardee who scored next, their powerful prop forward picking from the base of the ruck, close to the line, and powering over. They converted and the score now stood at 45-24, and the final flicker of hope seemed to extinguish from the travelling supporters in the stand. Again, to the enormous credit of the whole team and their coaches, St. Columba’s refused to give up. They secured possession from the restart and quickly worked their way back into the Ardee ’22’. Eventually, after an extended period of possession, they scored again – this time through Thady McKeever – who converted his own score. And that was how it ended – a final score of 45-31 and, in truth, a deserved win for Ardee.

St. Columba’s can feel an enormous sense of pride for the manner of the defeat though. Ardee were an excellent side, with some truly exceptional athletes, but St. Columba’s gave them an epic contest. But for that period after half time, when those three quick tries were scored, St. Columba’s were in this all day. The large crowd were happy, perhaps not with the result but certainly with the manner of how the game was played. Congratulations to Ardee Community School and hopefully the two sides will meet again in next year’s final.

Congratulations to the Minor & Junior Girls Basketball teams who both won their respective South Dublin leagues last week. The Minors (Form I) girls defeated NewPark Comprehensive by the narrowest of margins – 23-22 despite being down 2 – 12 after the first quarter. The team rallied after that with some super rebounding from Isabelle Wainwright and aggressive defense from Manuela Sanchez and Beth Hart. Zofia Cannon Brooks executed two excellent offense sets which saw the team take the at half time 15-12.  In the second half the teams traded the lead on several occasions but it was SCC that finished the strongest, scoring the decisive basket with just 21 seconds on the clock.

The following day there was another Girls Basketball success – this time the Junior Girls (Form II) after another narrow win over St. Andrew’s, 29-26 in overtime. St. Andrew’s started off very strong and led for most of the game, though the gap between the two sides was never more than 4 points. It was a tough battle with plenty of fouls and misses from both teams but the girls pushed through and showed determination, strength and team-spirit throughout. At the end of the fourth quarter there was nothing to separate the sides and the game progressed to a tense 3 minutes of extra time. St. Columba’s led by a single point going into the final minute and it was Poppy Gleeson who secured the win with a fantastic shot under pressure, inside the last 30 seconds, to secure a wonderful week for College basketball.

Congratulations also to their coaches and especially to Ms Hennessy for all her work over the season.

Basketball has always been a popular and successful sport for the College, especially with the girls, but there are probably more pupils playing the sport in the College now than ever before. The Senior Boys recently faced St.Michael’s in the 3rd and 4th place play-off in the EAST Region League. The two teams had met earlier in the league campaign with Michaels winning comfortably. With some well planned defensive adjustments the team put in a hugely passionate and focused effort in the rematch. The game was a tightly fought content with no more that 3-5 points separating the teams throughout the game. We led the game for most of the last quarter with a fine display of defensive rebounding and good shot selection. However, a few tough refereeing calls down the straight and undisciplined fouls gave Michaels the opportunity they needed in the final minute. They hit two free throws with seconds left to win the game 33-32. The loss here meant that team would have to go through a further qualification game to reach the All-Ireland. On Jan 15th they traveled to Heywood School in Portlaoise for another close fought contest. The journey was still in their legs for the first quarter and Heywood took an early lead. Good inside play by Tiernan Mullane and Ryan Gumsheimer helped to close the gap. Defensively the team were solid but missed some easy baskets down the line with Heywood taking the prized place by the narrow margin of 6 points.

The Cadette Girls had a very competitive league campaign. The kicked off the play-off’s for the South Dublin League with a super display of basketball against Mt. Anville. This was probably one of the best games the team played as a unit. Co-Captains Lucia Masding and Elena Witte lead by example controlling the game, winning the boards and orchestrating the fastbreak. By the third quarter the game was over with a clear 20 point lead to finish the game. 36-16. Their semi-final game was indeed a different scenario. Dalkey was a much more orgainsed team whom they had narrowly beated in the league by 1 point. The January flu had decimated the team and due the the time constraints the fixture could not be changed. Half the team were ill, or just recovering, so we knew it was going to be tough. Despite this the girls put up a solid performance but unfortuantley lost 23-27. Heart breaking!! The Junior and Minor teams have been training hard since September and finally began their leagues in January. Both teams are performing very well with the Juniors 4-2 and the Minors 5-1 in their league games.

In rugby, both the Junior and Senior teams lost their cup matches last term but had plenty of fixtures, mainly in their respective leagues, over January. The Juniors also played in a Shield competition but lost out to near neighbours De la Salle Churchtown on a scoreline of 0-21. Their league campaign has been a mixed one, playing against the 2nds and 3rds of some of the bigger rugby schools. They earned a deserved draw away to Kilkenny College’s J2s but were beaten heavily by Blackrock’s slick J3 squad last Saturday. On Wednesday last they travelled to Clongowes Wood and grabbed a great 24-22 win against their J2s (with some excellent tries from Cian Mullane, Jack Hayes, Thomas Somerville and Oliver Townsend), but it wasn’t enough to progress to the next stage of the competition. The Seniors have played two League fixtures, against Gonzaga 2nds (winning 22-5) and Terenure Thirds (losing 11-22) and face Roscrea after half-term to secure a place in the next round. The Ducks have played two games and continue their winning run, defeating De la Salle and Wilson’s Hospital with some excellent performances.

It’s been a busy period for the College’s hockey teams too. The Senior boys spent the early part of their term preparing for their Cup fixture against Kings Hospital but sadly they lost out narrowly 1-2. They have since been preoccupied with the Senior B league and had a good win (4-1) over Wesley B’s recently. This meant they finished 3rd in their group and would play St. Andrew’s B in the semi final. They won 4-0 and await either Kilkenny or Wesley B in the final on March 7th. Both the Under 13’s and Under 14’s reached the quarter finals of their respective cups – The U13’s losing out in a competitive games to St. Andrew’s A (0-2) while the U14’s take on Kilian’s after half term. The Junior XI unfortunately lost their second round cup fixture against High School (1-3). However, they have a league semi-final to look forward to after half term against Kilkenny College.

The Senior girls competed in an indoor hockey tournament earlier this term, playing three matches. They defeated St. Andrew’s 4-1 and Wesley 6-0 but lost out to the eventual winners Mount Temple (1-3). They got revenge of sorts a week later, this time outdoors, defeating Mount Temple 2-0 in the League. They also since had a good win against Loreto Bray, 3-0. Of course there is a huge number of hockey teams in the College, and many more fixtures which have taken place over the past five weeks – a huge amount of thanks and credit go to their respective coaches.

Latest Thoughts from the Warden:

29th January 2018

When I was a young teacher I used to think that whether my team won or lost on a Saturday was all that mattered and I would be depressed for a week if my team lost. It was what defined me as a teacher. As a Liverpool supported I quoted Bill Shankly:

Some people think that football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. It’s much more important than that.

Happily I grew out of that. But what is the purpose of sport in schools? Is it to hire in all the Ireland Under 16s into the 5th form in order to have an unbeaten season, to win at all costs, or is it to teach the importance of teamwork and to develop resilience of character? Does one develop resilience by being thrashed every week and getting demoralised? Or by trouncing the opposition every week and never losing a single game? How does one learn to treat the two great impostors of triumph and disaster the same if one only ever experiences victory or defeat? The Victorians who codified all the great team sports and introduced them to the public schools were under no illusions:

And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat

Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame

But the captain’s hand on his shoulder smote

‘Play, play up and play the game.’

It was not about personal glory but about something much greater…the team, the honour of the school, playing the game in the right way, rather than just to win. Unfortunately the next verse makes it clear that this was merely the ideal preparation for young Englishmen going out to slaughter natives in the colonies, so let’s not get too idealistic about it:

The sand of the desert is sodden red

Red with the wreck of a square that broke

The Gatlin’s jammed and the colonel’s dead

The regiment’s blind with dust and smoke.

The river of death has brimmed his banks

And England’s far and honour’s a name

But the voice of the schoolboy rallies the ranks

‘Play up, play up and play the game.’

(Sir Henry Newbolt)

One could argue that nowadays we live in an age of professional sport that could never have been envisaged by the Victorians and it is our obligation as educators to prepare our pupils as best we can for whatever careers they wish to pursue, including professional sport. They need to learn that success does not come without hard graft, that there is no gain without pain. They need to have an outlet for their aggression and energy and where better than on the sports field. They need to learn to work with the limitations of others and to work to the strengths of their team. Is there a better feeling in life than being part of a really good team? And if they happen to be good enough to turn their passion into a professional career, then surely that is a good thing.

Yes. But there is an increasing tension in school sport. Gone is the schoolmaster who taught Homer till lunch time, practised with the choir after lunch, then put on a tracksuit and ran a training session till dinner. He was competitive but still viewed the sport as part of the whole picture of educating a young person. Winning was great, but losing was not terminal. Now all good sports schools employ external professional coaches. They are not school teachers, with a wider perspective, and they want to win at all costs. They are not looking at the bigger picture but at winning the next match. How their team behaves is less important than the result. The crucial role of sport as a creator of character has been outsourced. It is bound to make a difference.

Captaining a rugger team at school is no longer considered a prerequisite for governing a large part of India or Africa. However being a team player is still seen as vital in almost every career that I can think of and that is why public schools have always placed a greater emphasis on the team sports than the individual ones. Playing in a team teaches you to work with others. That is a great thing.

Even in a cynical age, which justifies cheating to win, everyone loves it when someone displays true ‘sportsmanship.’ It is as if we all know, in spite of ourselves, that there is a better way to do it. Bunny Austin, who was the last Brit to reach the men’s singles final at Wimbledon prior to Andy Murray, was a friend of my parents. He told a story about playing in a big match, when he hit the ball onto the sideline. The umpire called it out but his opponent graciously intervened and said that the ball had been good and the umpire changed the call. After the game Bunny was furious with his opponent, despite the call having gone in his favour. He was angry because his opponent’s action had undermined the authority of the umpire and made him look silly. Really. Don’t you love it when a golfer calls a foul on himself, which no one else has seen, or when a batsman walks when he is give not out? And don’t we howl in derision when a penalty is given when the player dives. The TV pundit then says, ‘well he touched him, so he had every right to go down.’ We know what is right, even if we rarely see it. Just imagine if Thierry Henry had turned to the ref after his double handball against Ireland in that World Cup play-off and said that actually he had handled the ball and he did not want to win qualification in that way. He would have saved France total humiliation in the tournament and he would now be considered the greatest sportsman who had ever lived. But no…he didn’t. The end justifies the means.

So what is the end of school sport? I would argue that it is to play as hard as you can, to teach your pupils to respect the referee and the opposition, to be gracious in defeat and humble in victory, to make friends and to learn the importance of the team.

When I was taking the 1st XI cricket at Wellington College in the UK we played Rondebosch Boys from Cape Town. They were very strong and won comfortably. In the post-match speeches their coach said, ‘going on tour is all about beating people.’ I wanted to rebut him publicly but I was decent and gracious and congratulated him and his team. But he was wrong. Totally wrong. Going on tour is about making friends, having new experiences and learning.

One year I coached the 1st XI at Ivanhoe Grammar School in Melbourne. Before the first game there was a cap presentation ceremony and they were given out by a former Australian captain, Graeme Yallop. I can still remember what he said because it was so awful and so against everything that I believed in. He told these young boys that they should not let anyone get in the way of fulfilling their dreams…that they should elbow aside anyone who got in the way…that they should be utterly ruthless and selfish to get what they wanted, by whatever means. I wanted to object but as I looked around the room the parents were all nodding with approval and I was just a Pom on a gap year and I couldn’t afford to lose my job…so I kept quiet.

Sport at school is about many things, but above all it should be about teaching values, teamwork, resilience and respect for others. I may be very old-fashioned but I still think it is about learning to meet with triumph and disaster and to treat those two impostors just the same.

Thady McKeever evades some St. Michael’s defenders in a friendly earlier this term. Photo by Daniel Owen.

The Senior Rugby Team’s cup run ended on Tuesday last with defeat to Coláiste Bríd Carnew on a scoreline of 17-24 in the quarter final of the McMullen Cup. (The team had comfortably defeated Ardscoil na Trínóide and Coláiste Cill Mhantáin in the previous two rounds). The boys will rue their high penalty count, which gifted Carnew possession and territory for much of the second half, and a penalty try that ultimately separated the teams at the end. However, the boys finished top of their section of the league and can look forward to the quarter final of that competition next term.

The Junior Squad unfortunately lost their first round cup match, against Ardscoil na Trínóide in Athy. It was a close run affair but a late try from the visitors meant they advanced on a scoreline of 12-14. Earlier this week they lost to Kings Hospital JCT B team on a scoreline of 19-0 but it was an excellent game and the boys played very well – the scoreline perhaps flattering the home team a little.

The Leps and Ducks have been had a busy period since half term too and are really showing signs of improving. The Leps defeated St. Paul’s 38-15 with some of the boys new to the sport really excelling. The Ducks have continued their fine form too defeating arch-rivals Headfort in a typically great game and last week they comfortably defeated St. Pauls 28-7. The future looks bright!

The Form I girls hockey team warm up before their tournament.

The Girls Hockey Senior 1st XI unfortunately lost their cup match (0-2) against Loreto Beaufort recently. The girls played extremely well, with some phases of really great play in the first half, when there were chances to score. They soaked up a lot of pressure defensively in that first period too, which ended 0-0. Unfortunately Beaufort took their chances when they came in the second half, scoring two good goals. They left disappointed but happy that they gave a good account of themselves too. The Junior Girls played their first round cup match on Wednesday last but were well beaten by a well drilled Wesley side, 7-0. The Form I Girls took part in a League Tournament on Wednesday against Sutton Park & Drogheda Grammar, defeating Sutton by 2-0 and drawing with Drogheda 2-2.

The boys’ hockey leagues are almost wrapped for Christmas with only a few re-fixed matches to be played.  The Seniors have got themselves back on track with a narrow 3-2 win over St Kilians and a draw against Mt Temple. They have one league match left against Wesley B’s and a win will earn them a spot in the Senior B League semi-final.
The Juniors have performed well with wins over Mt. Temple and Wesley B as well as a draw with St Kilians.  Their fixture against Newpark would determine the rest of their season, the prize of a win would be a place in the A-League Semi-Finals. Unfortunately, on the day of the match, we had a number of players unavailable and we ended up losing 1-3.  Perhaps with a full strength team things might have been different but congratulations to Marco Trolese and Bruno Marti Jimenez in first form for making their debut on the Junior team.
The U-14’s s are battling away in their league where they have a shot at making the semi finals.  They have also progressed through to the second round of the minor cup with a win over Newpark on strokes.  The U-13’s are starting to find their feet and they have put in some fantastic performances lately.  Their first win of the season came against a strong St. Kilian’s team and they also managed a draw against the more fancied Newpark team.  They have a lot of potential and are a team to watch in the future.

Pupils participating in the annual Christmas Basketball Blitz.

In basketball the Cadette A’s reached the East Region Semi-finals , which unfortunately needed to be played during the exams. The team traveled to Pobail Scoil Setanta in Blanchardstown and though they gave a spirited performance, the height and strength on our opponents was too much on the day with the final score at 32-24. They are still involved in the south Dublin league and will play their quarter final in the new year.

The senior boys have had a very busy and exciting few weeks. They continued to perform well in the East Region League and progressed to the playoff stages. They met Collinstown CC in the quarter final on Nov 22nd and won a closely fought match 63-54 with good performances from team captain Tiernan Mullane, Tobias Voelsgen and Jakob Habsburg. The following week, again during the exams, they played their semifinal against Old Bawn CC, who boast an Irish U17 international in Okoko Ogbe. Though the game was close Old Bawn were in control of the game and ran out easy winners in the end.

Although out of the East Region League they still had a opportunity to reach the All Ireland Play-off’s with a re-match with local rivals St. Michael’s last week – it was an exciting and riveting game. The defensive strategy really paid off and the team controlled their key scores for most of the game. The lead changed hands several time in a very tense match. With less than a minute to go Columba’s were trailing by two and a last minute well executed play saw the final basket clinch a draw and overtime. Despite all efforts, some unforced turnovers gave St. Michael’s the edge and they won by the narrowest of margins in this heart breaking loss. The following day the team received news that they still had a chance to reach the All Ireland’s  and will compete in a further playoff against a Midlands team Heywood College in the new year.

The term ended with the traditional Christmas Basketball Blitz with staff and pupils showing off their skills, getting in the festive spirit and having fun at the same time.

Mr. Ryan reports on the Senior Rugby team’s recent success.

On Tuesday last the Senior Rugby XV continued their winning streak as they packed down against a dogged and physical Coláiste Cill Mhantain side on home soil. The game was only a mere seven seconds old when SCC’s flanker James Wilkinson was very harshly shown a red card for what the referee deemed to be a dangerous tip tackle, sending SCC management and fans into a state of turmoil. What management and fans did not realise was that this was the catalyst which sparked what was to undoubtedly become one of the finest displays of never say die rugby ever witnessed here in SCC.

Cill Mhantain struck first with a converted try following a penalty inside the St. Columba’s twenty two, their advantage was doubled eight minutes later with a breakaway try from a gathered lineout inside their own half, the scoreboard now read 14-0, but things were about to get worse.

Cill Mhantain raced into a 19-7 lead, however, SCC’s opening try from Kosi Emmanuel – Anyim with the conversion by centre Hector Wright added some stability to the home sides’ endeavours. SCC struck again following a break inside their own half with a fabulous kick for the line by Ivan Moffitt who was now beginning to dictate the ebb and flow of the Columban back line. The lineout was won and brought down for the SCC forwards to drive for the line. Tipperary’s Joseph Gernon rolled over the line with the conversion being sweetly slotted by Thady McKeever, the score now read 19-14, SCC were on the march.

The passion and sheer determination of the SCC pack was infectious with students and parents dotted around the sidelines roaring their approval. A lineout inside the Cill Mhantain ten metre line was collected by Adam Murphy who was escorted over the line by a fantastic forwards pack, Thady McKeever stepped up to take a conversion at what many would call an impossible angle. However, the acuteness and pressure of the kick completely unfazed young Thady who nailed the conversion much to the delight of the vocal crowd. Somehow the scoreboard now read St. Columbas 21, Cill Mhantain 19, but SCC were not finished yet.

Thady McKeever’s touchline conversion bisects the posts to put SCC in the lead for the first time in the match.

A kick over the top bounced sweetly for the rampaging Moriz Boyen who was taken out by a sweeping leg from the Cill Mhantain outhalf stopping a certain try, but Seán Cooper darted to collect the ball and with great poise dove under the posts for SCC’s fourth try of the game, which was complimented by the trusty boot of Thady McKeever who pinged the ball between the posts to end the game 28-19 in favour of the SCC side.

Not only did Columbas play the entire game with 14 men, they had to endure two sin-binnings in either half which left the side reduced to 13 men for a total of twenty minutes. This game was a privilege to witness as the likes of it are rarely seen at an international standard let alone schoolboy rugby. Confidence is high within the SCC camp and rightly so, but there is more to come from this dogged side and we eagerly look forward to our upcoming game in Gorey RFC against Carnew on Tuesday December 12th.

Last Thursday, the College hosted the first round of the Leinster Schools Rugby McMullen Cup with the Senior Cup Team (SCT) taking on Árdscoil Tríonióde from Athy while the Junior Cup Team (JCT) took on the same opposition in the Duff Cup across the driveway. The SCT continued their excellent form to date brushing aside Árdscoil 24-10 in a physical and pulsating fixture. Árdscoil started the brightest and were soon 0-3 ahead when they slotted a penalty inside the Columba’s 22. The home side fought back and were soon on the scoreboard after an excellent kick behind the Athy defence allowed George Guinness cross the whitewash – Thady McKeever converted to give the home side a 7-3 lead. They soon followed that up with another excellent try, this time from centre Hector Wright with Thady’s conversion now making it 14-3 at half time. In the second half, the home side began to exert further pressure on Árdscoil and soon after the restart a great run from Max Hopkins, and quick ruck ball, allowed Hector Wright dot down for his second try  – this time the conversion eluded McKeever and the score remained at 19-3. Number four soon followed – this time from James Wilkinson – and Columba’s were cruising at 24-3 and looking like winning their first senior cup game in a number of years. Árdscoil managed to grab a late consolation but it was St. Columba’s that progressed to the next round – against Coláiste Cill Mhantáin on Wednesday.

The JCT were extremely unlucky in their fixture against Árdscoil. A slow start and some meek defence saw the visitors go into an early lead, 0-7, but St. Columba’s fought back well in the second half. An excellent touch finder from Matthew Russell allowed their effective line out set up an unstoppable maul before Mikhail Sukhachev picked from the base and crashed over. Russell added the conversion and the sides were level. SCC started to play some expansive rugby – which suited their abilities – and their increasing confidence was rewarded with another try as flying winger Luis Malaga dotted down. Russell couldn’t land the difficult touchline conversion but they led 12-7 with five minutes remaining. Alas, it was not meant to be. Árdscoil came back and began to string some phases together – their large pack picking and going effectively and drawing penalties. With 90 seconds on the clock they crash over and the easy conversion, between the posts, ensured they left with the spoils and moved into the next round.

While the cup competitions were taking place on the main pitches arguably the most important game was taking place on the Ducks pitch. Our youngest boys hosted their “arch-rivals” Headfort and recorded a (rare) victory over the visitors. The game started well with fierce tackling and hard rucking for both teams.  Some strong running from Caleb Owen saw him score a try in the first half before Ben Paterson led an infamous Mr Cron ‘black ball’, which bamboozled the Headfort defence, and Ben was able to fall over the try line without any opposition.  Some good defence from SCC meant the half time whistle was blown by the Warden with the score at 10-0. The second half started well and St. Columba’s started to dominate the match.  Pavlo Shvalov and Caleb Owen scored tries with strong, straight running and effective hand-offs.  The try of the game was set up by Caleb Owen who picked and went blind and, after breaking a few tackles, was able to offload out of a tackle to Tom Larke who ran in from halfway and dotted down under the posts.  A pleasing win for a Ducks side with much potential, with the return fixture to come next week away at Headfort.

So, mixed fortunes but a lot of great rugby on show on a sunny, crisp November afternoon.

Updated Monday November 13th 2017, 8:00am

Everyone within the St. Columba’s College community would like to send their heartfelt congratulations to Old Columban Ian McKinley who made his international rugby debut with his newly adopted home Italy on Saturday. Ian was a star during his time at St. Columba’s, leading the Junior Cup Team to Duff Cup success and later the Senior Cup Team to McMullen Cup – they then went onto the semi-final of the Vinnie Murray Cup and the Leinster School Cup proper later in the same season). After leaving St. Columba’s Ian went on to represent Leinster and Ireland at U20 level, captaining the side during the Junior World Cup in Japan. Tragically, during a domestic game in 2010, Ian damaged his right eye but, amazingly, he returned to the field six months later. However, he subsequently lost the sight in the eye and was forced to retire from playing rugby.

Ian spent some time coaching at St. Columba’s after his retirement until he was offered the opportunity to travel to northern Italy to coach at underage level there. Ian, along with his brother Philip, came across a new protective goggle and helped to get them recognised on a trial basis by World Rugby. He came out of retirement and began playing for his new club Leonorso Udine before joining the Italian side Viadana on a professional contract. His performances there caught the attention of Pro14 side Zebre who offered him a contract after some impressive cameos during international windows. Ian was instrumental in the goggles being recognised by all nations in the last few years allowing him to return to play on Irish soil and to also represent the Barbarians. Ian has since moved to Benetton Rugby (formerly known as Treviso) and his form this season and last – he is arguable Italy’s form out half – earned him the call up to Conor O’Shea’s Italy for their November test series. He was named on the bench to play Fiji on Saturday, coming on for the final 20 minutes and scoring a vital penalty. Italy won 19-10. Ian was the first player to use in the goggles in the Pro14, the European Champions Cup and now at international level.

Ian’s story is an inspirational tale of courage and persistence. We are immensely proud of him at St. Columba’s and sent him this video message at the weekend. We now hope he has a long international career ahead.

A mixed Senior/2nds/Junior girls’ hockey squad, accompanied by Mrs Johnson and Mrs Fair, has just had an extremely demanding but worthwhile two days in Glasgow, playing in a tournament alongside 15 other sides.

They started slowly against George Watson’s College at Hutcheson’s, losing 1-4 with a goal from Kitty Morris. They also lost next time up, against Kelvinside 2-4 (goals Blanca Segui and Kitty Morris), with Anna Laurenceau, normally a hard-working midfielder, making an effective transition to the goalkeeping position. They then drew 2-2 against Regent House from Northern Ireland (who we beat 1-0 in 1985 to win the Kate Russell All-Ireland championship in Cork), with Kitty Morris scoring twice. A long hard day was followed by relaxation and time in the pool.

On Monday three more matches followed. In the morning, a goal conceded in the final minute meant a loss to King Edward’s, with Anna Laurenceau outstanding in goal and a really fine performance by the team A match against another Dublin side, Mount Sackville, provided the first win, 3-1, with two goals from Helen Crampton and one from Blanca Segui. Finally, they signed off by beating Kelso High School from Borders 2-1, with Helen and Blanca again scoring.

So six matches were played, with the record: won 2, lost 3, drawn 1. There was much excellent team and individual play, and Mrs Johnson feels the season ahead for the teams is looking very positive.

Many thanks go to Mrs Johnson and Mrs Fair for taking this trip at the start of the half-term holiday.

It’s been a positive start to the season for our girls’ hockey teams, although there have also been some poor results. On Wednesday last the senior girls in a dramatic match came back from 1-4 down against Our Lady’s Terenure by scoring 3 goals in 5 minutes to end 4-4. Our squad travels to Glasgow this weekend to compete in a tournament against schools from across the UK and Ireland: you can follow their fortunes on Twitter.

The Senior boys’ hockey team were disappointed with their performance in the All-Ireland qualifiers, hosted in the College earlier this month. They lost to both Newpark and Kilkenny College and failed to advance to the tournament proper. See some photos from those matches here. They have since kicked off their league campaign winning one (against St. Kilian’s), losing one (against Newpark) and drawing against Mount Temple, but still remain in the hunt.

The basketball teams have enjoyed great success over the past month. The senior boys are unbeaten in their league encounters, securing wins over De la Salle, Colaiste Rathlin, Wesley College and Templecarraig. Our senior girls are progressing well in the league and secured a decisive win over Holy Family Rathcoole leaving them 1-2 as we head into the half-term break. The Cadette girls also boast a 3-0 winning streak in the competitive East Region league with wins over Alexandra College, Holy Family Rathcoole and  St. Andrew’s. Ms. Hennessey also led the under-15 East Region Provincial team to success last weekend in the All-Ireland’s, with a 2 point victory over the West Region, the first all-Ireland title in 4 years for the East Region.

The Senior XV have been in excellent form recently and look to be building towards a strong season. With the cup campaign approaching confidence is high after excellent victories over St. Conleth’s, Sandford Park (7’s) and Templeogue.

St. Columba’s ran in six tries against St. Conleth’s on their return to Old Belevedere after their Shield success six months previously. Max Hopkins grabbed a brace while Kosi Anyim, Adam Murphy, Hector Wright and Thady McKeever also dotted down – Thady added two conversions. St. Conleth’s would cross the whitewash just the once and SCC won 34-5 after a commanding performance. They then took on Sandford in a 7’s fixture, fielding two teams and winning both games. The first game was won 19-12, with tries from Max Hopkins (2) and George Guinness. Conversions were added by Alex Russell and Max Hopkins. The second team secured victory by 24-10 with tries from Sean Cooper, Adam Murphy, James Wilkinson and Ivan Moffitt, who also added two conversions. More recently the Senior XV travelled to Templeogue in a league fixture and won impressively. They scored five excellent tries, through Sean Cooper (2), Max Hopkins, George Guinness, Hector Wright, on their way to a 31-7 win. Their cup opponents will be known soon so watch this space.

The Junior XV are going well also but, unlike the seniors, have tasted defeat since exodus. They also took on St. Conleth’s in the league at Old Belevedere at the beginning of October and also recorded an impressive win. Some excellent work by the forwards allowed the backs to shine in open space. Eight tries in total were scored, two from Harry Petch and the elusive Clement Jacquot and one each from powerful No.8 Thomas Somerville, Ollie Townshend, Mikail Sukhachev and substitute Luis Malaga. The J’s trip to Templeogue ended in defeat, sadly, but there is a lot of potential in this group. With a little more focus and intelligence in defence they could have a very successful season and have the potential to cause any team difficulties. They know how to score tries, which is encouraging, but need to prevent their opponents from doing the same. The game ended 28-17 to the hosts with SCC’s scores coming from Ben Sigurvinsson and Matthew Russell (2), who also added one conversion.

The Leps won their first win of the season against Blackrock U14 D’s last week. It was a chance to blood some of the less experienced JCT squad members and these players proved the difference really. Luis Malaga, in his first season of rugby, revealed his potential with four excellent tries (Luis is a powerful and pacy ball carrier and could yet force his way onto the J’s starting 15 ) while Boris Schavlov added another. They won the game 33-22.

The Ducks have been playing a series of 10 a-side fixtures recently, against De la Salle and Newpark. The promising squad were divided in two even teams for the fixtures against rivals Newpark and both teams beat the Blackrock school by 5 tries to 2. Their first 15 a-side game came against Templeogue last Monday (they had to wait was Storm Ophelia caused the original fixture to be postponed) and their winning run has continued. Three excellent tries from Caleb Owen and another (from an interception) from Tom Larke, saw the home team edge the fixture 24-10, after trailing 0-5 at half time.

The first four full weeks of term have zipped by and every member of the school community, teachers and pupils, have been extremely busy, on all matters. On the sports field this has been particularly evident with pupils participating in six days of compulsory sports each week. The College sports programme is second to none, with pupils participating in a wide range of competitive and non-competitive sports. The main College sports for the first two terms are rugby, hockey (boys & girls) and basketball (boys and girls) although pupils are also actively involved in polocrosse, archery, AGC and, more recently, sailing.

Hockey is a very popular sport in the College and we have seen a lot of success, at both Junior and Senior, for the boys’ and girls’ teams. However, the boys Senior XI team have had mixed success this season, with a good win against a Wesley B side (2-0, goals from Marc Philipp Eichhorn and Ivan Moffitt) after a tough loss away to St. Andrew’s A/B side (3-0). However, the most disappointing results so far were on Thursday last, when the boys hosted the All Ireland Qualifiers against Newpark Comprehensive & Kilkenny College. The first game was tight with Newpark winning 1-0, despite a lot of chances from the home side. However, SCC lost their shape in the second game losing to Kilkenny 3-0. Sadly they won’t be travelling to the All Ireland competition this year.

The girls Senior XI have had a solid start to the season, winning one game and losing one game. The win came against Mount Temple, winning on a scoreline of 4-2, with Kitty Morris scoring twice and Abigail O’Brien & Ella Noeldeke adding the others. The loss came against Loreto Bray, on a scoreline of 1-2 (Ella Noeldeke getting the SCC goal). It was a whitewash that day, with the 2nd XI and 3rd XI also losing to Loreto Bray. The girls Junior A side have played two games so far this, winning 2-1 against near neighbours Wesley College (Eile Ni Chianain & Aurora Higgins-Jennings with the goals) but sadly losing 0-5 against Mount Anville.

The rugby season is already in full swing and our teams are showing great promise. The Senior Cup Team (SCT) and Junior Cup Team (JCT) have begun their league campaigns, while the Ducks (1st year boys) have been involved in a round robin tournament with near neighbours De la Salle Churchtown.

The Senior squad got their season off to a promising fashion, although their game against a Wesley Development XV did end in defeat (21-20). Max Hopkins and Hector Wright both scored powerful tries in the first five minutes but both conversions were missed – both relatively straightforward. Their coach, Mr. Mitchell, made a lot of changes to the side, ensuring all members of the squad got a run out. This did mean the team lost a bit of shape and structure and Wesley came back into well. Hector and Max both crossed for late tries but further missed kicks proved the difference. They received a walk-over in their first league fixture, scheduled for last week, but got to stretch their legs in a friendly game against De la Salle Churchtown on Thursday last winning by a scoreline of 26-14, with tries from Max Hopkins, Ferdinand Kuenhe, Tobias Onyeka-Patrick and Hector Wright. Thady McKeever added three conversions. It was a fantastic game, with excellent attacking rugby on show from both teams including a stunning individual try at the death from the De la Salle out-half.

The Junior squad played their first game of the season away to Terenure College, playing their Junior 3 team. It was a comfortable win for the visiting team with six tries in total scored by the Columbans (Scorers: Mikael Sukhachev, Clement Jacquot, Ben Sigurvinsson, Leo Moreau, Harry Petch & Henry Johnson, conversions by Matthew Russell 3 & Ollie Townshend). The game ended 38-0 and it was very encouraging to see the boys keep a clean sheet. Confidence was high heading into their first league fixture, again against near neighbours De la Salle Churchtown. Columba’s started really well and were in full control of the game in the first half. With 20 minutes remaining they led 20-10, after tries from Thomas Somerville and Matthew Russell, both converted by Russell and an additional two penalties (also by Russell). However, the referee handed Columba’s two yellow cards in quick succession, both for high tackles, and the game swung to the visiting side. They scored two tries and won the game 20-27.  A harsh lesson for the boys.

The Ducks also played their first few games of the season, this time away to De la Salle Churchtown.  As there were only 6 training sessions since the start of term, the boys played small sided games on a half pitch as they hadn’t practised the technicalities of rucking and mauling or the set-pieces of scrums and line outs. In the bright warm September sun the boys were divided up into two squads (the Lions and the Barbarians). They both played two matches and won one each. This was a good start to the season with many work-ons noted by the coaches. The Leps will play their first match after exodus – a lot of new pupils skill finding their feet there.

In basketball, it’s been a fairly solid start for our Senior Boys and Cadette girls, with a tight win over Wesley for the boys 49-48 and the girls kicked off their league campaign with a 21-18 win over St. Andrews. As reported last week, the College sailing team did the school proud at the All Ireland Inter-Schools Sailing Event. Click here to find out more.

 

Well done to the young sailing crew of Tim Norwood, Denis Cully and Max Goodbody, who took to the water on Sunday for the All Ireland Inter-Schools Sailing Event at Sutton Dinghy Club. This was the first time St. Columba’s had entered a team for the event so there was considerable excitement amongst the crew. Each member of the crew were at the helm of their own sailing dinghy and competing in the mixed fleet event – the main event of the race. The boys did really well – Tim finished second in his class while Max and Denis finished 10th and 11th respectively in theirs. The team scores were an accumulation of their individual place in the event, with the goal of securing as few points as possible, and the boys managed to finish 6th out of 22 teams competing – a great result for such a young team in their first competition for the school and in difficult low-wind conditions.

For more information and a full report from Sutton Dinghy Club, as well as detailed results, click here. See a collection of photos from the event below. Well done again boys.

St. Columba’s College, being a seven day boarding school, organises a wide range of Saturday evening and Sunday events for their boarders (and indeed day pupils) and last weekend was no exception. On Saturday the College welcomed Old Columbans who left the College in 1997, for their 20 year reunion. It was great to see so many familiar faces back in the College. On the games field the Senior Boys Development Rugby XV took on Wesley’s equivalent, in their first game of the season. All members of the squad played during the fixture but, alas, the visiting Wesley side took the win 29-20, after two tries apiece from Max Hopkins & Hector Wright. Later that evening classical guitarist Pat Coldrick performed an excellent concert for pupils and staff in the Big School Room (BSR). It was a wonderful event, with the BSR’s excellent acoustics making Pat’s music sound wonderful.

On Sunday morning a small but dedicated group of Transition Year pupils joined Mr. O’Shaughnessy and Mr. Coldrick for an early morning walk to the Hell Fire Club – an infamous ruin at the top of Moutpelier Hill in the Dublin Mountains. Normally walkers are treated to a stunning view of Dublin City but, unfortunately, early morning fog ruined the view but did add to the eery feeling in one of Dublin’s most famous haunted houses. Later that afternoon over twenty Transition Year pupils (pictured above) joined Ms. Hennessy for the annual ‘An Taisce Clean Coasts‘ beach clean, on sunny Seapoint Strand in South Dublin. The pupils picked up and recorded the litter on the beach while enjoying the mid-day sun.

Many thanks to all the pupils and staff who contributed to a great weekend of activities. For some more photographs of the weekend’s activities visit the College’s Facebook page.

Due to the pouring rain on Saturday morning and afternoon the sports day was postponed to the following Wednesday. However the Sports Dinner was conducted that evening with Dan van Zyl as the guest of honour. A South-African rugby player and cricketer, he has represented his country at both sports to the highest level. It was very interesting to hear of his sporting career and his inspirational words after he had issued the awards. The following were announced as the captains and secretaries for next season.

Cricket: Captain: Ivan Moffitt Secretary: Thaddy McKeever

Rugby: Captain: Sean Cooper Vice Capt: Joseph Gernon

Secretary: Hector Wright

Girls’ cricket: Captain: Helen Crampton

Boys’ basketball: Captain: Tiernan Mullane Secretary: Franz Truchsess

Girls’ Basketball: Captain: Adaze Mbanefo Secretary:  Helen Crampton

Girl’s Hockey: Captain: Sasha Cole Secretary:  Helen Crampton

Boys’ Hockey: Captain: Marc Philipp Eichhorn   Secretary:  Ivan Moffitt

Tennis: Captain:Tiernan Mullane (boys), Kim Voggel (girls)

Athletics: Captain: Julius Schaefer (boys)

The following were awarded Colours and pictured above with Dan van Zyl.

Rugby: Douglas Boyd Crotty, Freddie Johnson, Michael Kennedy, Igor Petrenko.

Girls’ Basketball: Ciara Murray.

Boys’ Hockey: Eckart Geyer.

 

Well done to the St. Columba’s College Senior Cricket team who recently won the Fanagan trophy. The trophy is named after and awarded by Mr. John Fanagan (former Head of English at St. Columba’s) to the winner of an annual fixture between SCC and Sandyford Cricket Club. St. Columba’s set a target of 125 runs off their 20 overs (7 wickets taken) – Thomas Meijer with an impressive 63. Sandyford started strongly but some excellent fielding (including an tremendous catch from George Guinness) put pressure on the visitors. In their final over, and with three wickets in hand, Sandyford needed just 5 runs to win but Form III pupil Daniel Swift nervously bowled an excellent final over. He limited the visitors scoring while also claiming one wicket with a great bowl, and seeing Sandyford’s final batsmen being run out going for a second run. The game end with Sandford on 124-9 and St. Columba’s winning with the narrowest of margins.