The Senior Rugby Team took a break from non-contact training last week to take on the ‘Jerusalema Dance Challenge’, made famous recently by the Springboks. They were choreographed by Mr. Havenga. Great work boys #StaySafe
While we couldn’t maintain the traditions of a normal Sports’ Day this year, we did move it online… check it all out in this film.
Sincere thanks to Mrs Johnson for organising the day, Ms Thompson for putting the film together, Reverend Owen for lots of photographs, and all pupils, parents and staff who participated.
Mrs Johnson thanks all who participated in the first-ever SCC Virtual Sports’ Day on Wednesday. It was great to see so many contributions from the Columban community (including family members) from around the world.
A film of the day is being put together, and will be available here before long.
(featured photo from last year, of course).
Meanwhile, here is Mrs Johnson’s announcement about the winners…
The senior girls basketball team wrapped up the season a little differently yesterday and said farewell to the Sixth Formers, Captain Calina Sacolax, Avouka Assebian and Abbie O’Brien.
It was great catching up with the team and we would like to congratulate the following
- Most Valuable Player – Charlotte Moffitt
- Most Improved player – Maybelle Rainey
- Defensive player of the year – Raphaela Ihuoma.
The team is excited and looking forward to building on their skills for next season.
Last Friday the Warden held an online ‘Assembly’ for Sixth Formers and their teachers, since all academic work has now finished for them.
During Assembly he announced the winners of the 2019-2020 Form Prizes, based on work done since September: Megan Bulbulia, Sophia Cole, Camila Garcia Herrera, Dmytro Kasianenko, Eliza Somerville, Tania Stokes.
Prizes for other Forms will be announced in June.
Every year, during the annual Sports’ Dinner, ‘Colours’ are awarded to those who are deemed exceptional in every way in their sport: ability, attitude, commitment on and off the playing field, consistency, reliability, character and courage. Last Friday, during a virtual assembly with Form VI pupils, Director of Sport Liam Canning awarded ‘Colours’ to the following leavers:
- Boys’ hockey: Andrew Pollock, Alexis Haarmann, Till Schultheis
- Girls’ hockey: Sophia Cole, Cato Oldenburg
- Rugby: Alexis Haarmann, Peter Keogh, Thady McKeever, Philip Shekleton, Sakhile Khumalo.
Congratulations to all the Form Prize winners and those who have been awarded Colours.
The College is delighted to announce details of a fantastic charitable event taking place this April – Run til the Sun! On Saturday, April 25th, Old Columban Alex Panayotou – an accomplished long-distance runner – will challenge herself to run for 24 hours around the College campus. She is looking for your support along the way – both financial and physical – to complete this mammoth challenge.
The event is being organised by a committee of pupils, who have decided that all proceeds from the event should go to Purple House Cancer Support – a fantastic charitable organisation based in Bray that provide hands-on practical support for children and teenagers with cancer. They have set up a fundraising page here where all donations, large and small, will be gratefully received.
You will soon be able to sign up to join Alex on a leg of her journey; perhaps you’re willing to run for a half-hour, 10 kilometres or even something more ambitious? You can run in the morning, afternoon, evening or even at night time – with the course illuminated along the way. The event will culminate with a celebratory barbeque at the Cricket Pavillion on Sunday evening.
The pupils have created a dedicated page for the event here and a donations page here. They have a fundraising target of €8000, which would be transformational for Purple House, as the vast majority of their funding is through donations. We were delighted to welcome Purple House to the College Chapel last Monday to hear about the work they did and some of the organising committee visited their facility in Bray a few weeks ago. Alex is a cancer survivor, another reason why the charity resonated with the pupils.
So please do get involved, donate to the cause, sponsor a runner or run a leg of the journey yourself. We would love the whole community to get involved – pupils, staff, parents, Old Columbans, friends of the College and even local primary schools.
In basketball, the Senior and Gadette Girls have reached the quarterfinal stages of the league while the Junior and Minor Girls have had great success in all their friendly games this term which is setting them up nicely for their leagues which will start in January. This term traditionally ends with the annual Christmas blitz; there was an abundance of colour, energy and sporting endeavour (oh, and silly hats and tinsel).
The boys’ senior team have had a difficult season with a dismal return of only two draws in their 6 league matches. They have played some good hockey at times but find it difficult to exert enough pressure on opposition defences. There have been some good individual performances along the way but perhaps not enough gelling as a team.
The Junior teams have shown some promise thus far this term. The Junior A team are on track for a playoff match in their league but they will need to win some crucial games against St Kilians and Sutton Park after Christmas. The Junior B team is effectively a Form III team and they are being primed for future success. They have played five matches only losing one against a strong Newpark team.
The minor team have a lot of potential and they have played some excellent hockey at times. They are in a very tough pool in their league having to play against perennial winners of the league Wesley and St Andrew’s College. As they continue to improve it will be interesting to see them challenge for the u14 cup.
The U13 team is possibly one of the stronger Form I teams we have had for a while. They had a narrow defeat against St Andrew’s College losing 1-2 in a match that could have gone either way. Their remaining matches are against teams sitting at the bottom of the table and wins over them would boost them into a playoff position. Special mention must go to Harry St Leger who has been playing some fantastic hockey. He also sets a good example in his attitude towards training. Most importantly he is eager to learn from his coaches in order to improve.
The rugby teams have been training hard this term. Even though we lost many sessions to the wettest November in recent history we still managed to play SCT and JCT cup games v Enniscorthy and Skerries respectively. We also played friendlies against Wilsons Hospital, Blackrock, Kings Hospital, Clongowes and Headfort. Whilst we have struggled against the bigger schools we have performed well in all matches. We look forward to Shield competitions and league knockouts next term.
Well done to Kate Dementyeva and Georgy Dementiev who competed in the All Ireland Schools Judo Championship and had some good success. Kate won a Silver medal in the Junior Girls <52kg division, and Georgy got a win out of 4 tough matches in Junior Boys <50kg.
Once our Senior pupils play one of our ‘traditional team’ sports they can choose an additional sport or activity. This year a new initiative was introduced which is proving very popular. Hopefully, it will lead to more of our pupils taking up and playing golf on our nine-hole golf course in their free time. Nine pupils, five senior boys and four girls, are taking weekly golf lessons with Josh Adams a PGA professional in Stackstown golf club. When the weather is too poor be played outside they use an indoor facility featuring a Trackman golf simulator. Our Junior pupils were offered the same optional opportunity on Sundays but there was very little take-up. Perhaps there will be more interest when the weather improves and the days get longer.
Form IV pupil Avi Johnson reports on archery this term:
On Saturday mornings, we have five academic classes. After that most of us break off to play our respective sports and get some exercise. One sport that is more hidden than the mainstream is archery. Archery is a non-reflexive sport that is as skilled as it is difficult. At 3:30 pm after the mixed basketball is finished, the archery team flock into the Sportshall.
Our coach Pat McLoughlin is always there to greet us. We set up the stands and string up our bows and begin our training. Normally we have target faces to shoot at but this term we have refrained from using them. We do this so that we are not thinking about which coloured ring we are going to hit, but rather how our shooting feels. Without the distraction of the target, we can feel how good or bad our shots are. Our coach Pat will go even further and ask us to close our eyes ‘Star Wars’ style and really ‘feel’ the firing and ‘force’ of the arrow when shooting.
Our team, consisting of Iona Chavasse, Gioia Doenhoff, Zian Wang, Avi Johnston and the new recruits Tessa Pullman and Iris Foster have really improved. The training with no target faces means that we now know how to self improve our shots and fix small mistakes without guidance. Thanks to Pat’s training we are ready for the inter-school competitions coming in the new year.
We aim to repeat and improve on our successes from last year. Team Captain Avi Johnston is confident that her team will be ready when the competitive season hits.
The College, along with our partners Kilmashogue Golf Club, hosted the inaugural ‘Lionel Munn’ Golf Trophy competition for Sixth Class Primary Schools last week and it proved a tremendous success. The day consisted of the complete spectrum of weather conditions ranging from tropical sunshine to a torrential deluge accompanied by thunder and lightning, meaning all players were called off the course. One group managed to play eight holes and all others seven. So the competition was decided on seven holes.
The Best Boy’s prize was won by Aaron Nolan representing Lios na nOg, playing off a 27 handicap with a very respectable 13 points. The Best Girl’s prize was won by Ana Abom representing Loreto Primary School off a 25 handicap with an equally respectable 13 points. The Team Prize was won by Loreto Primary School represented by Ana Abom and Sophie Considine.
Very well done to all players, parents, schools and the Kilmashogue Golf Club volunteers, headed by Geoff Brooks. It was fantastic to see so many smiling and positive young faces enjoying and playing golf.
On Saturday last the annual Sports Day took place. The College was awash with colour and, thankfully, sunshine as the boys and girls competed in a range of events from traditional track and field to tug of war (and everything in between). In the end, it was the Blue Team that triumphed!
That evening our annual Sports Dinner took place in the Dining Hall, celebrating the sporting achievements of individual pupils and their collective teams. The assembled pupils, staff and coaches were treated to an extraordinary speech from our guest Old Columban Alex Panayotou; Alex is an ultra-endurance athlete whose story is awe-inspiring.
College ‘Colours’ are awarded to those who are deemed exceptional in every way in their sport: ability, attitude, commitment on and off the playing field, consistency, reliability, character and courage. This year ‘Colours’ were awarded to Avouka Assebian (Athletics), Georg Mueller-Methling (Hockey) and Orla Conlon Batey, Helen Crampton, Anna Laurenceau and Valeria McQuillen (all Hockey). Congratulations to them.
The following were appointment captains of their respective sports for the next academic year:
- Athletics (Boys) – Leo Moreau
- Athletics (Girls) – Avouka Assebian
- Basketball (Boys) – Pedro Grimalt
- Basketball (Girls) – Calina Sacolax
- Cricket (Boys) – Daniel Swift (Vice Capt Thaddy McKeever)
- Cricket (Girls) – Eile ni Chianain
- Cross Country – Shannon Dent
- Hockey (Boys) – Alexis Haarman
- Hockey (Girls) – Sophia Cole (Vice Capt Megan Bulbulia)
- Rugby – Thaddy McKeever (Vice Philip Shekeleton)
Below is a collection of photos from the day’s activities, courtesy of Rev Owen.
The end of the Hilary Term generally marks the end of the rugby, hockey and basketball season so it is the perfect time to reflect on the season as a whole. The final few weeks are always busy and usually involved some high-stakes knock out games, in all codes.
Firstly, to Basketball. Congratulations to the Minor Girls Basketball team (pictured above) who were crowned South Dublin Basketball League champions after defeating Holy Child Killiney (after double overtime) in the thrilling final of their league on Monday. Raichael Murray scored the winning basket with six seconds remaining in the game while Elizabeth Hart was awarded the MVP for her outstanding performance. The Minor Girls also reached the East Region semifinal lost narrowly to Mt. Anville 16-18. This was the first year, in recent College history, that the Minor Girls we have reached the knock out stages in this competition. The Junior Girls reached the East Region quarterfinals back in February losing to St. Colmcilles. They also missed out on a place in the South Double League with a loss to Sion Hill in early March, despite a great defensive hustle from the dynamic Spanish duo of Laura Casasus and Lucia Garcia. In January, the Senior Girls played their South Dublin Basketball League semifinal against Loreto Dalkey; Kate Maylor, the team captain, led the charge with great passion and spirit but, despite the team’s best efforts, they lost 30-36.
The Senior Rugby squad played a friendly against a touring German team Rugby Klub 03 from Berlin (coached by a former member of staff Graham Dean, photo above) with Peter Keogh scoring a hat-trick. Their season finished on Saturday 23rd with an internal Stayers (4th and 5th form) v Leavers (6th form), it was great to see many boys return to the rugby pitch for the last time at St. Columba’s. The Junior Rugby squad qualified for the quarter-finals of their post-Christmas league, losing in the final minutes against Blackrock J4’s in a nail-biting game. Tibradden have played a regular series of games against Clongowes, St Pauls and De La Salle in recent weeks.
The Senior Boys Hockey team had a largely unsuccessful season in the league but they had an opportunity to get their hands on some silverware in the Senior Trophy. They eased through their quarterfinal against Sutton Park winning 3-0. However, they were then drawn against a strong Wesley College team in the semifinal. Even though the team put up an excellent fight they were well beaten. A special mention must go to Georg Mueller-Methling who had an excellent year as captain of the team.The minor team is one to watch for the future! There are a number of players in this team who have the potential to play on representative teams. The highlight of their season was reaching their league final which they narrowly lost 2-3 to The Kings Hospital.The u13 team were easily the most improved team. They struggled early on in the league managing only a draw. The second half of the season included an excellent cup run. They reached the semifinal of the cup playing against St Andrew’s College A team. Andrew’s had won the league while we lost to their B team in the same competition. At full time the score was 2-2, a fantastic achievement, but unfortunately, we lost in extra time. Frederik Strantz had a remarkable season playing matches for every age group from u13s all the way to up to the Senior Team. He is one to watch out for in seasons to come!
Over one hundred Girls Hockey matches were played this season, across the Senior (4 teams), Junior (2 teams) and Minor (2 teams) panels. It was fantastic to see the great progress made both individually and by teams. The remaining Senior players next season will be complemented by a set of strong Junior players and likewise, the remaining junior players will be bolstered by an enthusiastic and competent set of players from the Minor teams. The season ended with an Iona vs Hollypark match, in which Iona emerged victorious (3-0, photo from the match above taken by Amy Cosgrove). Much thanks must be given to all the coaching staff for their time, enthusiasm and commitment, but in particular to Mrs Johnson, Ms Harkin and Dr Rice from the academic staff. Well done to the following girls who received an award in recognition of their fine season:
- Best Minor Goalkeeper: Valentina McAree
- Best Junior Goalkeeper: Ealga Ejase Tobrise
- Best Senior Goalkeeper: Orla Conlon Batey, Antonia Bullrich, Camilla Garcia, Elise Williams
- Best Minor Defender: Ines de Castro Ferreira Lopes
- Best Junior Defender: Emily McCarthy
- Best Senior Defender: Charlotte Moffitt & Georgia Keegan Wignall
- Top Goal Scorer: Eva Dillenberger
- Most Improved Player:
- Minor B: Abbie Murray
- Minor A: Laura Casasus
- Junior B: Iona Chavasse
- Junior A: Elys Walker
- 4th XI: Paula Ruiz
- 3rd XI: Caroline Ratibor
- 2nd XI: Tatjana Hopkins
- 1st XI: Éile Ní Chaináin
The summer games programme is already underway; athletics, cricket, tennis, golf and football are the summer games in the College.
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!
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.
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 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.
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.