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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.

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.

 

The Senior Rugby XV won the Leinster League Division 2A final on Wednesday, defeating Tullow Community School 28-10 at Old Belvedere. It was the first rugby trophy won by SCC since 2008. In a pulsating game of rugby, St. Columba’s withstood the early pressure and dominance from Tullow, to kick on in the second half and take the victory.

The opening ten minutes saw Tullow dominate possession and territory. St. Columba’s were defending well but eventually the pressure told and Tullow scored the opening try, which they duly converted  and they lead 0-7. The restarted afforded SCC the chance to take the ball out of their half. A well struck restart was won back by SCC and they started to string some phases together. The pressure led to a series of penalties being awarded to St. Columba’s, with Henry Carroll slotting his second chance to bring the score to 3-7.

Tullow came back at SCC but some great work by the forwards and excellent drift defence meant they couldn’t make any further inroads. St. Columba’s came back though and team captain Douglas Boyd Crotty bamboozled the Tullow defence to race from his own half and touch down for a try. Henry Carroll failed to land the difficult conversion but SCC led 8-7. It soon became 11-7 as Henry slotted over a good penalty after Tullow failed to roll away. However, just before half time, Tullow also scored a penalty after some more good pressure – they were playing really well but the final pass wasn’t clicking for them at times or the scrambling defence of SCC were closing them down. At half time it was on a knife edge at 11-10 – SCC with the slimmest of leads.

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There was a lot of nervousness amongst the huge Columban support – teachers, pupils, parents and past pupils – with many feeling Tullow had had the better chances and our boys were simply hanging on. But the more confident amongst the crowd expected a thrilling second 35 minutes from St. Columba’s – and so proved the case.

Another excellent (unconverted) individual try from Aifo Ebeleghe – who had a fantastic game overall – pushed St. Columba’s out to 16 – 10. A six point lead makes coaches very nervous – the crowd weren’t too comfortable either. It seemed that St. Columba’s were lucky to be ahead – their line-out was having a bad day and a number of scrums were turned over – but in truth their defence was putting enormous pressure on Tullow and they continued to make mistakes inside the SCC 22. St. Columba’s made no such mistakes when the opportunities presented themselves and when Douglas Boyd Crotty cleaned up some loose ball, offloaded excellently to Ivan Moffitt, they made great progress up the right hand side. Max Hopkins then carried strongly, aided by his team mates behind him, then Seán Cooper fed Hector Wright. He brushed off a few weak tackles and went over for another excellent try – the nervousness fizzled out and was replaced by belief. Another missed conversion left the gap at 11 points but Tullow were a little rattled now and St. Columba’s couldn’t do any wrong. (See Hector’s Try by clicking on the link on the top right)

Tullow were reduced to 14 men after a late hit on Seán Cooper at the ruck and then Douglas Boyd Crotty put the game beyond all doubt with another brilliant individual try. A fantastic step off his left foot created the space in midfield to race over and dot down under the posts. Callum Pery Knox Gore added the easy conversion and now the sizeable Columban support could rest easy – the score 28-10. In the semi final Tullow had to overcome a 17 deficient to reach the final but in this game they were scoreless in the second half – a true testament to the defensive efforts of St. Columba’s.

The final whistle blew and the Old Belevedere pitch was covered in a sea of green and white. Well done to all involved, including the coaching team of Mr. Andrew Mitchel (Head Coach), Mike Elliot Murray, Graham Dean (Strength & Conditioning) and Paul Cron (Head of Rugby).

 

Congratulations to the Senior First XV who have reached the Leinster League Division 2 Final. They defeated Drogheda Grammar in the semi-final yesterday, in appalling conditions, by a scoreline of 12-3. Early tries from Max Hopkins and Michael Kennedy, with a conversion from Henry Carroll, were enough to secure the final place – which will likely be played next week. Well done also to their Head Coach Mr Mitchel and his team.

Meanwhile, the Leps played a series of friendly games over the past two weeks. First up were near neighbours De la Salle Churchtown, who proved too strong and we lost 12-7 – our try coming from try machine Jose Fominaya and converted by Matthew Russell. They had better luck the following week again a St. Mary’s D side, winning with an impressive scoreline of 45-24.  Tries from Matthew Russell, Ollie Townsend, Thomas Somerville, Harry Petch, Mikhail Sukhachev, Jose Fominaya (yes, him again) and Matthew Keaveney (a try that will love long in the memory of those in attendance) secured a good win. Matthew Russell converted three, Fintan Walsh one and Jose even slotted a kick over (not bad for a hooker).

Since returning from exodus all the College’s rugby teams have been busy. Our Senior 1st XV travelled to Gorey last week to take on Coláiste Bríd Carnew – for the second time in as many weeks. Having beaten SCC recently in the first round of the cup – before being beaten themselves by Tullow the following week – Carnew found themselves drawn against St. Columba’s in the shield competition. Unfortunately, the game was an ill-tempered affair and Carnew proved just too strong for our boys yet again. Disappointingly for St. Columba’s, the game ended 10-0 to the Wicklow school.

Our Senior Development XV (comprising boys from Form IV and V only) were involved in two really competitive games over the past week. On Friday last, on the wonderful 4G pitch in Donnybrook (and under lights), our boys took on club-side Bective Rovers U17’s. It was a great open game of rugby in which Bective eventually left as winners, despite being down by 7 points with a few minutes to go. But two late tries from the home side saw the game swing in what seemed like an instant – it ended 29-22 to Bective. They will need to learn to close out these tight games in the future. Yesterday the Development XV took on a High School Transition Year side. It was a cracking game with a brilliant try from the ever improving Moritz Boyen the highlight. It was to be our only score though and the game ended 10-5 to High School.

Our Junior boys have also played two games since the exodus. First up was a friendly against near neighbours De la Salle Churchtown at home on Kilmashogue Lane. In a scrappy game, Thady McKeever again stood tall as a strong leader nabbing a try himself and converting one from Philip Shekelton. But it was their defence which really stood tall and the game ended in victory for our boys, 12-5 to the home team. Their second game of the week was against Gorey Community School in the Junior Shield match. Ireland’s largest school were simply too strong for them and they ran out comfortable winners 48-12. Again, Thady scored one try and converted another, scored by Julio Perez Cervera. They now look forward to a well earned break and a new league campaign in the new year.

Our youngest boys were also in action. The Leps had it tough against St. Michaels 2nd Year C’s, losing 38-0. The Ducks played in a ’round robin’ series of games against Terenure College and Belvedere College (both their 1st Year C’s). They lost their first game against Terenure by just two points. Tries from Jack Hayes, Marcus O’Connor and Tom Larke (also with one conversion) weren’t enough and they lost 19-17. However, they picked themselves up and defeated the Belvedere side, on a scoreline of 12-5, with Tom Larke again touching down (and converting) and Dennis Cullen getting the winning score.

It’s been a really busy term for our boys. Luckily, despite some of the results, the atmosphere has remained positive and there is a tremendous willingness to learn. Perhaps the relatively mild and dry weather also played a part, as well as trips to the Aviva to see Ireland play Canada, New Zealand and Australia. A huge thank you to all the rugby coaches for their dedication and commitment this term but, in particular, to Head of Rugby (and Boy’s Sport) Paul Cron for the huge amount of (often unseen) work done to ensure all teams train and play regularly in a safe, fun and enriching learning environment.

Merry Christmas!