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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.