Check Mates

At some schools, the rugby guys are the BMOCs (Big Men on Campus) and they swagger around the place, throwing their weight around and occasionally  getting into towell-whipping incidents in the locker rooms with the basketball or Gaelic guys. At St. Conleth’s, though the rugby and B-ball teams do more than hold their own (more on them later), it is rather the chess team guys who truly rule the roost and fill their dance-cards first at homecoming.  No-one dares mess with the sanctity of the Tuesday lunchtime Chess Club and when these warriors amble down the hallwaySeni, everyone gives them a wide berth!  We have read how the Junior School Chess teams dominate their leagues and now Ms. NiAonghusa is driving her troops towards similar heights.  This past weekend, her First Years played in their first Leinster Finals in years, qualifying as one of the four semi-finalists from a field of over forty teams.  It is an especially impressive feat, considering that our local qualifying group includes both Gonzaga and St. Benildus’s, two of the national chess powers.   Despite this perennial handicap, this particularly young team stormed into the finals and battled honourably against both Gonzaga and Colaiste Eoin, finishing fourth in Leinster and showing considerable promise for the future.  Rumour has it that the other Conlethian BMOCs, namely the debating and fencing posses, are spoiling for a turf war but I would not bet against these young knights!