Parent Robert Smyth mixes two noble professions, fencing and Latin, long associated with St. Conleth’s, in his latest report from the front lines.
Last Sunday marked the last round of this season’s Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series. And a markedly auspicious occasion it most certainly proved to be. Continuing the union forged and tested under the proud Eagle of the XXIII Legion ‘Latvis’ during the recent Classics Quiz campaign, fratres in armis James and Myles not only each took Gold on the day, but also the season trophies for 1st place in Under 12 and Under 16 Boys, respectively. Of the other brothers in arms, Luke, absent due to being in action on the Spanish Front, took the season trophy and 1st place in Under 14 Boys, while Sherlock Minor, Mathew, finished in 5th place on the day. Given the outstanding performance of the Conleth’s cohort this year, perhaps Belfast’s motto “Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus” has never seemed more apt!
Junior School fencer Myles Moriarty-Smyth ventured to Scotland last weekend to fence in the Edinburgh stage of this season’s Leon Paul Junior Foil Series. In a narrative worthy of Rosemary Sutcliffe’s ‘Eagle of the Ninth’, he wrestled 1st place, Gold, and the trophy from the amassed Scottish ranks of Under 11 Boys. He fenced extremely well, winning all his ‘DEs’ and the Final by comprehensive margins. What really added to the occasion was being refereed and subsequently awarded his medal by Britain’s 5-times Commonwealth Men’s Foil winner, Keith Cook. Big brother James and the other Senior School fencers had better watch out for this rising star!
Fencing has been part of St. Conleth’s since the very beginning and regular readers would know how active and successful is the current crop of Conlethian fencers. Now we have news of another incredible fencing achievement: Third Year Claudio Sosa has been selected to represent Ireland in the Cadet European Championships 2019 in Foggia Italy and Cadet World Championship 2019 in Poland… at the tender age of 14! Claudio is pictured here with six times Olympic Gold medallist Valentina Vezzali, who kindly provided him with her autograph and huge motivation as a role model for the upcoming championships. Claudio qualified at a recent tournament in Rome, where he also found time to take in some Roman ruins, perfect preparation for his Latin Mock Exam!
Fencing is cosmopolitan in the truest sense of the word: our band of brothers are racking up huge air miles (and bills for their parents) competing around the continent. As you read below, the Conleth’s Moriarty-Smyths and the Sherlocks recently dominated the Northern Irish Foil Series.
Now it was time for those Parisians to fall to our swashbuckling heroes. Myles Moriarty-Smyth took Silver on Saturday at the Tournoi De Fleuret Des Petits AS, hosted in Paris by CEP. He was the sole Irish entrant, and achieved a superb 2nd place finish out of a field of 46 Under 11 fencers. The competition draws foilists from all over France, and the prestigious host club fielded a very strong selection. Myles narrowly lost the Final 8/6 to their No. 1 seed, having despatched all others on his way. Another trophy for the shelf… and, undoubtedly, more to come!
New Year: Same Swag!
A New Year, another round of fencing…. The band of brothers headed North on Saturday for Round 3 of the NIJF series, and in time-honoured fashion, they returned with a full complement of medals: James Moriarty-Smyth- Gold in Under 16 Boys; Luke Sherlock- Silver in Under 14 Boys; Myles Moriarty-Smyth- Gold in Under 12 Boys and Mathew Sherlock- Bronze in Under 12 Boys. In addition to fencing, James, as qualified Level One referee, officiated throughout the day, including all of Mathew’s poule matches; needless to say fair play and impartiality prevailed.
A Trophy in Every Stocking?
Yes, the band of brothers (and Claudio) have been busy leading into the holidays, building up their supply of precious metals… perhaps for re-gifting at Christmas? There simply is no more room on the trophy shelf! Pembroke Fencing Coach Olga Volga and Conlethian fencing parent Kathrin Chambers provide a round-up of our recent fencing exploits:
At the National Fencing Seniors Championship, Claudio Sosa won a gold with his team, the mysteriously-dubbed ‘Pound of Fleche Reloaded’, made up mostly of fencers from The Queen’s University of Belfast (which our young Claudio was welcomed to join!). They were crowned as the National Champions for 2018 in the modern pentathlon premises in Blanchardstown.
Then Claudio and Luke travelled to Marburg in Germany for the 18th Marburg International Open City Championships. The standard was high as every at the competition and both boys competed on both Saturday and Sunday. Their efforts were rewarded as Luke brought home Bronze in both the U14 Epee and U14 Foil competitions. Claudio brought home Silver in the U17 Foil and Bronze in Senior Foil.
And, finally (for now!), the merry fencers travelled to Belfast last Sunday for the 2nd of the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series and they returned with their now customary haul of medals, with Claudio securing gold once again in the U17 category, Luke Sherlock gold in the U14 and Matthew Sherlock taking home a hard fought silver in the U12s. Alas, it was a slightly depleted group as they were missing the Moriarty-Smyth brothers. James suffered an injury playing a more modern (and less sophisticated) sport t break-time. However, he is on the mend and will soon be back in action, leading the charge onto new fields of fencing glory!
Our Chivalric Heroes!
Well, technically they do not actually compete on horses (yet), but our young fencing heroes do display all the necessary knightly virtues: fighting skill, courage, impeccable manners, an eye for the young fencing ladies… and the willingness to spend their weekends dressed up like medieval warriors! And the most ‘ye olde worlde-ly’ of all the fencing competitions must be the Lord Killanin Trophy: the title alone fairly reeks of the antiquarian aspect of the noble sport. But we fear that they may change that title soon to the ‘St. Conleth’s In-House Trophy’ if we continue to dominate the competition!
Last weekend, at Loretto-Dalkey, the band of brothers (Moriarty-Smyth-Smyth and Sherlock) and Claudio ‘Zorro’ Sosa once again bagged most of the shine available. In Cadets (Under 16s) Foil, Claudio won Gold and James finished 5th. In the Under 14 Foil, Luke won Gold! In the Under 12 Foil, Myles won Gold and Mathew placed 5th, and in the Under 15 Epee, Luke won Silver. That was just on Saturday. On Sunday (after completing several pages of their Study-Books), the merry band headed north to Belfast, where they competed in the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series Round 1. And our boys did not do the Brexit negotiations any favours! In Cadets (Under 16s) Foil, Claudio won Gold and James took Silver (another all-Conlethian final!) In the Under 14 Foil, Luke won Gold and in the Under 12 Foil, Myles copped Gold and Mathew finished 5th. Whew. And, yes, there are rumours of a jousting court being included in our next extension!
Our Own Little Zorro?
In the dark times of Spanish Colonial administration of California, a masked hero emerged from the shadows of the Los Angelean pueblo: a champion of the people who used his mastery of the sword and his quick-fire wit to fight injustice and puncture the pretensions of the arrogant and bloated overclass. Well, Claudio Sosa is obviously the Conlethian Zorro! Anyone who has him in class knows well about his undisputed rhetorical ability and the senior fencers of Ireland are quickly learning about his skill with the blade. Claudio (and classmate James Moriarty-Smyth) are competing now as adults, and Claudio has already racked up two bronzes and a gold on the senior circuit. Recently, he finished third in the West of Ireland completion (notice the facial hair on his competitors!) and now he has been crowned Intermediate Champion. Claudio is ranked 8th amongst Senior Fencers in Ireland and he is only 14! In other St. Conleth’s fencing news, we proudly announce the passing of the torch (or saber?) from Michael ‘Mr. St. Conleth’s Fencing’ Li to new Fencing Captain Stephen Rockett and Vice-Captain James Moriarty-Smyth-Smyth. Also making moves is James’s younger brother, Myles, who we see below, accepting a bronze medal at a Newcastle competition. With swordsmen like these, we are obviously in good hands despite that impending zombie apocalypse!
Over The Next Fence!
Another term, another fencing season…. This year the blade bar has been upped: James Moriarty-Smyth and Claudio Sosa, having been selected by Irish Fencing, are now fencing at Under 17 level on the European Cadet Circuit. Last weekend the Conlethian pair, along with 10 other selected foilists, represented Ireland at the inaugural leg of the 2018/19 circuit amid the impressive surroundings of Bolton Arena, Manchester. Despite both of them being two of the youngest competitors, they gave it their all. James very narrowly missed the DE tableau of 128 fencers, ending the day ranked 135 out of a field of 170. Claudio ended ranked 143. The numbers may not seem that impressive at first, but remember, both boys are fencing above their age level and that the competitors are the best in Europe. And the is just in: The European Fencing Federation website now lists both James and Claudio with European rankings, courtesy of last weekend’s competition in Manchester. James is ranked 400th out of 538, while Claudio is 417th out of 538. Not bad for two kids who can barely get into a 15s movie on their own! See some of the action below, as well as one last shot of Fencing Captain emeritus, Michael Lee, as he hands his foil to new Captain Stephen Rockett and Vice James. (Thanks to Robert Smyth for news and pics.)
Conlethian Fencers Rampage Through Europe!
The Conlethian fencers, again, went international and grabbed the gold in foreign fields of glory. Poland, Durham (UK) and Northern Ireland all fell to our swashbuckling swordsmen. Details from Robert Smyth…
The Easter holiday period saw the St. Conleth’s boys (come on, girls!) continue to fence across the waters of the Irish Sea:
Claudio Sosa and Luke Sherlock journeyed to Poland for the worldwide Challenge Wratislavia, with Claudio reaching the last 64 in the Boys Under 15 out of 220 and Luke achieving his goal of placing in the top 100 in the Boys Under 14 out of 240 fencers. Meanwhile, James and Myles Moriarty-Smyth returned to Britain’s North East to compete at the Durham leg of the Leon Paul Junior Foil Series. They returned with Bronze medals for Under 15 and Under 11, respectively.
The second week of the holiday saw the whole band travelling North on Saturday to compete in the final round of this year’s Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series, and as usual, they returned with medals and trophies: Under 10s – Myles won Gold and overall 1st place for the season and Matthew Sherlock took Silver, after an all-Conlethian final. Under 14s – Claudio Gold and overall 1st place for the season. James took Bronze and overall 2nd place for the season. And Luke won Bronze and overall 3rd place. And you just ate chocolate all break long!