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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.

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.