One on One. 1 vs. 1.: in sport, it does not get any more dramatic than that. And Ms. Speller’s teams excel at these mano a mano (or stick on stick) combats, showing nerves of steel. Maybe it is because of Ms. Speller’s training regimes which would probably be banned by the Navy Seals, including the handing out of al dente organic grains instead of Jaffa cakes as a half-time snack. And it pays off. Mr. Kilcommons had better order that new trophy cabinet as the Hockey Girls have brought home even more silverware… or gold ware, if you will. The Juniors have joined their older sisters in winning the South Dublin School Girls League, beating Rosemont, Sion Hill and Our Lady’s Grove, winning the final in dramatic 1 vs. 1s, with Maude and Isabella cooly slotting home. In-play field goals were scored by Maude and Elizabeth and several others. Another great day for St. Conleth’s Hockey… and another trophy!
Hockey Hits Heights… Again!
St. Conleth’s Senior Hockey team won the Dublin South Schoolgirls League, beating Sandford Park, Sion Hill, Our Lady’s Grove…and Sandford again in the Final! Yes, that’s 4-0 on the afternoon! This is the first time St. Conleth’s Hockey have ever won at senior level! The girls (and Ms. Speller) were delighted, especially the Sixth years who got to end the season on a high. They won this Leinster League back when they were in Second Year with the help of current Fifth, so it was lovely that they got to share this victory with them, as well!
Mr. Maguire, I presume?
Dr. Livingstone is long gone, but there is now a kindler, gentler explorer trekking the varied landscapes of Africa: our very own Mr. Gav Maguire! And gone too is the weighty baggage of messianic zeal and cultural imperialism: Mr. Maguire’s expeditions (with the considerable help of True Adventures) are an exquisitely crafted mix of adventure and development, mutually beneficial to both student traveler and the local resident. After a mere a-hop-and-a-skip to Slovenia last summer, the focus is back on Africa and Gav and his two gangs are gearing up! The Uganda 2024 Expedition Team had their first meeting with True Adventures staff just to get to know each other… while the Morocco 2023 Team and parents met with their Expedition leader, after several earlier get-togethers planning, hiking and checking out of some very cool gear in preparation for their adventure this summer. Thunderbirds are not quite ‘Go!’ but they are getting there!
And with all this expedition planning does Gav get any actual teaching done? Indeed, he does… and in the most innovative, ‘down with the LC reform’ kind of way! Here, his Fifth Year Business class learn about team-work via the task of building the highest marshmallow tower!
The St. Conleth’s Sailing Team was in action last weekend at the Leinster Schools Team Racing 2023 Championships at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. The team did quite well despite a difficult draw and tough weather conditions, as well as missing their usual handy helmsman, Daniel O’Connor, managing to win two of five races, and narrowly missing out on victory in a third. Below we see our worthy sailors: Captain Russell Bolger, James O’Kelly, Shane Carroll, Fergus O’Reilly, Harry Cooper-Reid, Louis McGovern and Senan Corry.
Cup? Shield? Plate? League? All of the above, please. Well, that is the attitude of Ms. Speller and the hockey girls towards postseason play! We can barely keep up with the pre-quarters, quarters, semis and (hopefully) finals that the various teams have been involved in! Punching above our weight (and numbers) Conelthian hockey teams have qualified at every level and every age group, extending the season… and Ms. Speller’s fixture congestion headache… but it is all worth it! Last week, our Juniors and Minors were edged out in their Cup and Plate competitions, facing big school, high level teams but, just yesterday, our Minors were back in the winning form they showed all season, hockeying Muckross, 2-0, in their Leinster League Quarterfinal with Gemma McCullough and Chloe McGovern scoring goals. Now, with all the fixture pot boiled down to one, we can all concentrate on supporting the Minors as they face Holy Faith-Clontarf in the Semifinal!
Alas! Conlethians Cede the Rostrum
Cicero, the greatest orator of the Late Roman Republic, and perhaps of any age, tested the limits of the power of rhetoric, and he found them a bit closer than he expected: his incendiary verbal condemnation of the supporters of the rebel Catiline wowed his fellow senators, Gallic emissaries and generations of Latin and ‘Speech and Drama’ students…. but failed to prevent his own exile for stretching the laws of Rome. And so, two Conlethian debating teams, Coleman Hegarty & Turlough Dineen and Lochlan Flynn & Finley O’Dea, similarly met their match at the Leinster Schools Senior Debating Finals, and they, too, retreated with dignity and heads held high. It was a great run, one to rival the many great forays in Conlethian debating history, but it ended in honourable defeat to a dynamic duo from the Institute of Education. One thing is certain: these talented and brave young men will not suffer the fate of Cicero, who ill-timed his return to the rostrum with tragic consequences. (Let’s just say that his timing was not… ‘handy’). However, Debating Dictator Rory O’Sullivan now has an enthusiastic and loyal praetor at his side in Sixth Year Coleman, eager to help nurture the next generation of Conlethian debaters, and Fifth Years Turlough and Lochlan, and Transition Year Finley, are back for another campaign next year!
SCT Coach Louis Magee, Captain Michael Donnelly and the few but proud long-time members of the team finally reaped what they long deserved: a victory on the field. They had already won in the sense of building skills and a strong sense of camaraderie, forging friendships that will last a lifetime, but it was a just dessert having those qualities matched by the numbers on the scoreboard. Saving the best for last, they ended a long, hard season with heads held high, beating St. Columba’s 39-14. The stalwarts, who showed up though the tough times, were bolstered by the return of old comrades and the fervent support of classmates. St. Conleth’s is so proud of you!
Debaters of St. Conleth’s, Unite!
Conlethian debaters have certainly made their mark as individuals. Scroll downwards (and in older Conlethian annals) for the exploits of Daniel Gilligan, Conor White, Kevin Roche, Liam Brophy and other They-People, Masters of the Debating Universe. But it is as equal parts of a dynamic duo, a titanic tandem, a binary barnstormer… that our orators really seem to rock the rostrum. Michael O’Dwyer and Philip MacDonald were a legendary rhetorical team, eventually as Slaughter & May legal eagles, but first as Mace and Cup winning schools debaters. And the reverberations of the one-two punch of Matthew Collins and Christopher Costigan and of Paul O’Dwyer and Conan Quinn are still echoing through debating halls throughout this land… and others. And, now, two more teams have emerged from the hotbed of internecine warfare that is Conlethian in-house debating and they, too, will join the hallowed names mentioned above. Coleman Hegarty & Turlough Dineen and Lochlan Flynn & Finley O’Dea have qualified for the Leinster Schools Senior Debating Championship Semifinals, topping a tab which was filled with the names of the second-best debating schools in Ireland. Also pictured is Leo Nolan, who fought bravely as a lone wolf in the quarterfinals but, alas, like Trotsky, had to exit stage left. The sixth young man pictured below is unknown, but we suspect it is Beria.
At St. Conleth’s, the debate never ends! Fifth Year Lochlan Flynn and Transition Year Finley O’Dea are joining Fifth Year Turlough Dineen and Sixth Years Coleman Hegarty and Leo Nolan in tonight’s round of the Leinster Finals. That’s two teams and an individual from one school: unheard of in the annals of school debating (except for St. Conleth’s!). And Lanista Rory O’Sullivan has another reason to be proud of his squad’s accomplishments this year: Second Years Peter Murphy and Ciarán Doyle are off soon to Cambridge University, having finished so high in a National Irish Mace debate that they qualified for the ICYD (International Competition for Young Debaters) Finals, a very prestigious international ‘Mace’ debating competition. Conlethians have been there before, with Coleman and Leo competing themselves a few years back and the legendary dynamic debating duo of Michael O’Dwyer and Philip MacDonald actually winning the tournament back in 2007!
They Know The Ropes!
The St. Conleth’s Sailing Team were back in action on the waves and in the wind, as they put in an impressive performance at the Shanahan Cup competition. The team won 3 out of 5 races, working the ropes and the sails with great skill and effort, but not quite well enough to win the cup. The winds were good building until lunch and then easing, and the boys responded well to the conditions. Eleven schools competed with St. Michael’s winning and St. Andrew’s placing second. Our brave seamen: Team Captain and Helmsman Russell Bolger, Helm Daniel O’Conor, Helm Louis McGovern and Crews Peter Murphy, Fergus O’Reilly and Harry Cooper-Reid. The gang are looking forward to the Leinster’s next week.
Above the Rim
In a relatively short time, we have grown accustomed to continued success for our basketball teams, and sometimes that can be a heavy burden to bear. Not that you can tell from the play of these boys! St. Conleth’s Basketball has consistently been winning trophies for years now, a tremendous tribute to coaches Sean Ingle and Peter Gahan. No other school our size has established and maintained such a basketball pedigree, so quickly. And this year, once again, the programme has played ‘above the rim’. After reaching the Ireland East Final, they powered through the various stages of the All-Ireland Finals to earn another day of destiny at the National Basketball Arena.
Their All-Ireland Quarterfinal game was against Cobh, and it was a close affair before the Conlethians pulled away, once again led by James ‘The Tower’ Power. James was missing his usual partner at the top of the scoresheet, Enda Crowley, who is currently off impressing the filles with his basketball (and perhaps other skills) on a TY exchange in France, but the rest of the team raised their game in support of our skyscraper. John ‘Mountain Man’ Engmann played a beast of a game, filling the paint with sturdy defence and running the floor with the grace of a gazelle…. well, a cross between gazelle and a freight train. Guards Myles Moriarty-Smyth and John Byrne were rapier-quick as they repeatedly foiled the opposition’s attacks and made stylish advances, themselves. Joe Kelleher showed his characteristic intensity and athleticism, playing the three spot with aplomb and it was no surprise to classroom teachers of Hugh Leahy and Cian McMunn, that these two played like whirling dervishes, scampering around the court and fearlessly making stops and runs against players two years their senior. And, of course, the rest of the team came off the bench to do their part in this historic victory. The All-Ireland Bronze Medals were assured but the boys nearly took the next step up the podium in a hard-fought loss against traditional power, Tramore. Not to be, but the bit of metal hanging around the neck was reassuring, and with some young talent, and returning francophones, the future of St. Conleth’s Basketball continues to look bright!
SCT Lose a Close One
The SCT battled bravely but lost on a last minute try, 27-24, to Patrician-Newbridge with Matthew O’Leary and Fionán Power our star players on the day. Coach Louis Magee and Captain Michael Donnelly are leading the boys to a strong finish to the season and they have high hopes for the last two league matches as long as the strong play continues, by both the starters, such as NFL-bound Hugo Lennon, and reserves, such as the never-say-die Luke O’Keeffe.
Ms. Speller’s Hockey Minions are on the march! Our valiant First Years lost to traditional powerhouse St. Andrew’s in their first ever 11-a-side game, playing well with Anna Sweeney the player of the game. Our Seniors As lost to Muckross 4-1 despite a tremendous team effort and a goal by Juliet Donnelly while Juliet joined Roisín Ridge and Maude Kinlay on the scoresheet as they thumped St. Columba’s -6-0 and… best of all.. the Second and Third Years of the Juniors beat nemesis St. Raphaela’s 1-0 to, hopefully, make the Leinster Quarterfinals!
Rhetoric: A Conlethian Constant
Conlethian debaters rocked the rostrum… again! In the Leinster Schools Senior Competition, Coleman Hegarty and Turlough Dineen (as a team) and Leo Nolan (as an individual) qualified for the Quarterfinals debating “Slum Tourism in the Third World” with Saoirse Corry narrowly missing out. This ‘edgy’ topic was right down the alley for our debaters, who love to push the boundaries of free speech. And our equally loquacious Juniors are up this week! And why are Conlethians persistently such Leinster (and world) class speechifiers? Perhaps because, for years now, Pat Howe has been organising The Irish Board of Speech and Drama Grade Examinations in the Junior School, and they were on again last week, with examiners assessing the students one-on-one. With 70% a pass, no grade inflation here, but our young orators came through splendidly… and mellifluently!
Hockey Hangs In!
We knew Ms. Speller would not keep quiet after all our excitement over basketball, rugby and chess: she rightfully reminds us that we have had another major sport at St. Conleth’s these last few years. Coach Speller’s Hockey Hordes have found it tougher this year as they have moved up the leagues but they still train and compete with spirit, skill and a strong sense of sorority and fun!
We Still Know How to’Ruck’ and Roll!
Enough of that dunking nonsense! We all know that the oblong ball still rules at St. Conleth’s! (Until Ms. Speller tells us differently…) Here we see our JCT and SCT, looking good with extra Christmas padding, before recent tough but rewarding matches vs. Newpark and Templeogue. It has been a tough year for the SCT with injuries and a shrinking player pool but that’s even more reason to salute Captain Michael Donnelly and the tight band of brothers who have soldiered on. Ans there is plenty of talent in the pipeline, including the JCT. Of course, there is one aspect of rugby which Gav Maguire’s teams always win: once again, we have the best looking, and best togged-out, teams in the league!
The JCT 2022-2023
The SCT 2022-2023
Conlethian hoops historians are welcome to correct us, but we do believe that below you see the first ever recorded in-game Conlethian dunk, as James Power led the U16s into the All-Ireland Quarterfinals. Skywalking alumnus Mark Ryan (2014) certainly threw them down with style at practice but do we have Kodachrome evidence of an in-game jam? Cian McCormack (2010) had the height and the hops but was too fond of pulling up for the speculative trey … and the Gilleran Brothers, Mark and Luke (2020), could both live above the rim but often opted for the bedeviling banker or stylish swish… Maybe even the notoriously earthbound and hops-less, but peerless Paint Premier, Jack Nolan (2011), once magically levitated for a stuff? We do have, on celluloid record, Daniel ‘Gilly, Gilly’ Gilligan’s (2016) participation in a thunderous dunk in Second Year… but as he was the dunkee and not the dunker, we will keep that in the vaults! In any event, we are sure all these past Conlethian greats will take great pride in hearing about the exploits of Jammin’ James Power and his teammates, including point-man Enda ‘The Game’ Crowley and John Engmann, the Wicklow Wild Man, and coaches Sean Ingle (he got net, once) and Peter Gahan (a possible alumnus dunker from 2012). James’s stupendous stuff/salacious slam/jiggy jam actually happened deep in the depths of County Tipperary but we could hear the reverberations all the way back in Ballsbridge, and the echoes of the rim-rattling ram confirmed what we already knew: the basketball glory days are back at St. Conleth’s!
Lesser But Still Worthy Highlights
…we gave you the news, but the very next day… we gave you some more! In our-end-of-term rush, we left some fun colour prints hanging in the school darkroom, but they are all dry now, so we will treat you to some more news and images from our Christmas canoodling!
TY Zoo Story
First up, the TYs: no class deserved a break more, having been hounded all term by Gav and Richie to show up, take part and make the most of the opportunities of this special year. They will thank their stern but caring shepherds when it is all over, but they did certainly enjoy being cut loose for a day at Dublin Zoo. Interestingly, it seems like many of the animals, especially the primates, seem to be having a Transition Year of their own, judging by behaviour patterns!
A Very Rugby Christmas
Next, a reassertion that St. Conleth’s is still a rugby school! Yes, we know that hockey, basketball, fencing, chess and tiddlywinks are also part of the St. Conleth’s sporting legacy but if you want to settle this argument the old-fashioned way, you can take the whole chess team, throw in a few few hockey and b-ball players and a fencer (avec epée) and stick them in room with Front Row Hugo Lennon… and we know only one beast will be walking out under his own power! More on Hugo’s sporting exploits later, but for now enjoy these rather artistic yet still very jocky shots of our ruggers’ Christmas training sessions.
Mr. Coleman, Powered by Border Diesel, Seizes Karting Trophy from Sobbing Student
Fifth Years thoroughly enjoyed their day at Kylemore Karting despite the border fox, Mr. Coleman, placing amongst the winners. And Mr. Lonergan was last seen speeding away with the staff World Cup pool funds in the glovebox!
Christmas Cinema Trip
Our biggest Christmas trip was a local one: the traditional slow, herd migration over to Rathmines for a day at the Swan Cinema and various burger joints. A big thank-you to Ms. Crowley for organising everything. And we mean everything! Wakanda (and Wow Burger) Forever!
Minutes of the Central Debating Committee
The problem with many left wing organisations is that they never really get to even the first stage of the promised land: the much lauded, but never actualised ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’. Oh, we get the dictatorship… but instead of a co-operative committee of open-minded postmen, economists and butchers’ assistants, we just get the butcher and a formidable cult of personality. And so it is with the St. Conleth’s Debating Society. As Stalin was to the USSR and Hồ Chí Minh to Vietnam or, more appropriately, Idi Amin to Uganda, so was Oisín Power to our nationally renowned debating club. In 2021-2022 he led our orators to the highest rostra in the land… but there was a price: the velvet tongue was backed by an iron mace and we are still finding mumbling, emaciated debaters in chains in that little storage space beneath the Art Room. They can barely manage a plaintive ‘Point of Order’ as we free them and assure them that the persistent ringing in their ears is only the echoes of Oisin’s frequently pounded timing bell, and not a permanent case of tinnitus.
But times change and, like Nikita Khrushchev, our new Auditor, Coleman Hegarty, has brought in significant reforms, humanising the machine that is St. Conleth’s Debating, yet still churning out stunning results. But we warn the other debating schools of Ireland, always squabbling for second place and eyeing the Conlethian trophy cabinet with Gollum’s eyes, to not mistake Coleman’s pleasant demeanour and silky Hiberno-English for competitive softness: at a recent meeting of the Debating Central Committee, in an impulsive act of rhetorical excess, he took off his shoe (from Loake’s of Wicklow St.), banged it on the table and shouted, ‘We will not rest until this committee controls the the whole of the so-called ‘free world’!” We assume he was referring just to debating competitions of the so-called free world.
Of course, another significant influence on our debaters is Head Debating Coach Rory O’Sullivan who, these last few years, has organised (no easy thing with these guys) and led and coached the various auditors and the debaters themselves, but somehow still found time to work on a doctorate in Ancient Greek, write for various cultural journals, complete and stage a historical play and re-muster the Irish Citizen Army. And Rory and Coleman’s leadership has indeed been impressive, as our rostrum results have matched our historical heights:
At the National Trials, Fifth Year Turlough Dineen, continuing a long-standing Conlethian tradition, made the Irish National Team Developmental Squad, a stepping-stone to the Irish Team (which nearly always has at least one Conlethian). Turlough joined Sixth Years Coleman, Saoirse Corry and Leo Nolan in winning their rooms in the Leinster’s and moving on to the Finals. Fifth Year Team, Finley ‘Molotov’ O’Dea and Lochlan ‘Beria’ Flynn used incendiary rhetoric to also advance. And in their debate, TYs James Power and Hugo Sweeney spoke well and bravely but may well have fell afoul of new grammatical and usage restrictions. The young talent is also rising in the politburo! Third Years Brooke O’Connor and Jessica Gahan won their motion ‘That gender quotas have a place in modern society’ and, though we are not sure how many boys got through to the Finals, we know Second Years Peter Murphy and Patrick Kennedy were among them, winning their motion ‘THW prioritise STEM subjects over the arts.’ Ouch. Milo Smith, Ciarán Doyle, Patrick Cole and Shane Carroll all debated the same motions and did very well, indeed, but we think their might be school-based quotas out there, as well!
Beating Brazil in football. Canada in ice hockey. The Japanese in sumo wrestling. And Gonzaga… in chess. These are accomplishments worth crowing about, and like the Croatians, after the surprise vanquishing of the Brazilians… we will! Granted, it was just a friendly meet for Transition Years and First Years, organised by STEM wunderkind Mr. Carvill, The Younger, who has remained very quiet and humble about it all, but having come up against Gonzaga several times in a previous life as a chess ‘coach’ (more like a chess paedogogus or chaperone: these genii often get lost looking for the toilets!) we took great pleasure in a victory which had always eluded us. Something about the Jesuits enables them to jump around that chess board like jitterbugs! And with the robes, and Latin passwords and the secret, underground chess chamber… there was always something Slytherin about our near neighbours, so we do take great pride in this victory and look forward to more!
Don’t tell Gav or Ms. Speller, but St. Conleth’s is quickly gaining a reputation as a ‘Basketball School’ and its not just because of the gangsta swagger of our students when they, standing tall in Jordan IXs, order No. 26 (with vegan mayo) at Donnybrook Fair! It is because we are darned good at Professor Naismith’s quirky little game! See below for the proof as our U-16 Boys made it all the way to the Ireland East Final where they lost to a school with a four digit student athlete pool. And they are still in the All-Ireland’s which will kick off after Christmas. Our 19s Boys and 16s and 19s girls also had a great season, making the Semi-Finals or Quarters in each of their leagues. And now, the New Kids on the Block, our First Years Boys and Girls Teams, have burst on the scene with stunning performance at a St. Andrew’s Blitz. Stay tuned for more all-out hoopla!
First Year Boys
First Year Girls
Don’t Fence Us In!
The ancient and noble art of Fencing has been linked with St. Conleth’s since its earliest days and we have been remiss in reporting on the latest Conlethian ripostes and parries. Yes, we lost two world class fencers when Claudio Sosa and Jame Moriarty-Smyth moved on last May, but there is more talent on the rise. There is a keen swordsman in the Senior School who would prefer to remain, like Zorro, in the shadows for now, and there is Michael Davitt in the Junior School, who is carving his name into some of the very same trophies which bear the names of Claudio, James and the Sherlock brothers, Luke and Matthew.
Michael recently won Silver Medals in the U14 Mens Foil category in no less than three separate tournaments: The PFC Christmas Cup, Round 1 of the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series and The Lord Killanin Trophy competition. We thank Michael’s Dad, chair, for the fantastic photos of Michael in competition as well as those of another great Conlethian fencer: Alumnus Michael Li (2018) who, earlier this year, was present at the welcoming ceremony of Adrian Lee & Partners Fencing Sponsorship Programme 2022-23. Conlethian Fencing lives on!
Timea is Tops in GAA!
No better man than Mr. ODulaing, holder of a few powder blue jerseys himself (and an ancestral red one in the closet), to celebrate Timea Kovacs’s winning of the Minor Football Player of the Year at Clontarf GAA Club and admire her trophy… especially as Donal has missed his usual close-up with the Sam Maguire these past two years! It is no surprise that Timea won this award (and is currently involved in Dublin Minor try-outs) as we have seen her athletic prowess many times below (including the legendary Covid-era display of marksmanship below). Timea is one of our school officers, forming a tight and effective team with fellow Vice Captain Jame Clancy and Captain Caoimhe Moore. They share out their duties fairly, and according to individual talents; for example, we have the feeling that Timea takes the lead when ‘encouraging’ the students to pay up their 2€ for various charity collections!
We had a pretty hectic- and successful- close to the half term, sporting wise, at St. Conleth’s. We are still searching up more film of the already legendary First Year Boys Basketball win detailed below, but there have been several more chapters added to the St. Conleth’s Book of Sporting Lore in the short time since that winning basket snapped the net. Some of the very same boys took part in another ‘Heart Attack Kids’ special: after their stunning B-Ball heroics, the First year Boys boys followed it up on the rugby pitch against Sandford Park, winning on a last minute try by Christopher Comer in the corner, after Noah Dwan had made a great break, juggled the ball, caught it again, and zipped the killer pass! The First Year Basketball Girls may not have matched the boys for drama in their debut game but they pushed a Woodlands Academy Second Year Team all the way, showing much promise and great team spirit… and much better ability than the boys in posing for an orderly team photo! And there was another close loss (0-1) to a tough, classy opponent (Dundalk Grammar) but the Senior Hockey Girls have kept their heads, and smiles, up…. and they are still drawing the fans!
A Comeback for the Ages!
Maybe our regular basketball coaches, Peter Gahan and Sean Ingle, should stick to surfing! While the usually dynamic duo were off rolling in the breakers of Achill Island, Ronan Carvill led our First Year Boys Basketball Team in one of the most exciting victories in St. Conleth’s sporting history! In their very first game, the boys were soon down 14-0… in the first quarter. Ronan called a timeout and took out some of those over-sized yellow Maths gadgets of which he is so fond. A quick lesson in angles, resistance and velocity, and a team prayer to St. Anthony, and the boys were back on the court. They proceeded to make a gradual comeback, chipping steadily away, but were still down three, with mere seconds left. Then, Sean Keane, like a Norse god, struck a three pointer (the first of the game). Then a steal…. and a basket to win at the buzzer! And the boys went crazy! More pics to come!
When current Marian College Basketball Coach (and teacher) Eoin ‘Trust Me, I’m a…’ Noctor wandered these halls as a student (Class of 2011), he was considered by some teachers, mostly of the female persuasion, to be ‘a lovable rogue’. Others just deemed him ‘a rogue’. Maybe it was due to his combination of stylish ringlets, exotic skin tone and melting eyes, not seen since Alexander the Great charmed the bow off the Queen of the Amazons… in any event, his basketball strategy has not matched said Alexander’s tactical genius. For, our U16s and U19s, coached by Sean ‘Use the Angles’ Ingle, just did the double on him! Yes, having such quality players as James ‘Tower of’ Power, ‘Chillin’ Dylan Cosgrave, Joe ‘Just Don’t Make Me Angry’ Kelleher and quickly rising newcomer Enda ‘Wow’ Crowley, certainly helped, and we allow that Eoin’s Marian are in a ‘rebuilding phase’… but so are a lot of teams, after we demolish them! We did spare the Good Noctor the blushes of filming the total wipeout but sent our ace TY photographer Finley O’Dea to our recent games versus Colmcille’s and you can enjoy his camerawork, and our players’ moves and ridiculous size advantage, below. The wins have qualified the U16s for the Quarterfinals of the East ‘B’ Boys Region and the U19s for the Plate Quarterfinals. Stay tuned!
A Moral Victory!
It is said that infant Achilles was dipped in the River Styx by his heel, rendering him nigh invincible. Too bad about the heel. It is also said that Mount Anville charters a jet each year to fly their prospective hockey players to Hades, where they are thrown into the same river, and those that make it ashore, clinging to their sticks, make the team. Now, Ms. Speller is a tough teacher and coach, having made it through the notoriously tough Eagle Scout Two Week Training Course in a mere six and a half hours, but she is also a nurturing and supportive leader for her girls, and the fact that her Senior Girls made it onto the same pitch as Anville As for a Cup match is, in itself, a moral victory and a sign of how far hockey has come in a few short years, without so much as a toe dipped in the River Styx. This Senior team has itself gone from rank outsiders to a Dublin power in its own right, a remarkable achievement for a small school that only started hockey when some of these same girls came through the front gates. So, they did not find Mount Anville’s heel, but they put up a brave and skilful fight, sealing the reputation of St. Conleth’s as a ‘hockey school’.
Straight outta Ballsbridge!
Never mind the hockey jollies… our basketball girls roared straight outta Ballsbridge last week to take an emphatic double over Coolmine. In a little pre-Maths Week lesson in multiples, our 16s won 47 – 10 and our 19s, 52-20. Lucy ‘No Bricks’ McGoldrick led the way for the 16s and Anna O’Neill for the 19s, along with some standout play from Jodi Ryan, Greta Lawless and Isabella Lombardo for the 16s and Meabh Joye and Vivienne Roberts for the senior squad. Coaches Peter ‘Gangsta’ Gahan and Sean ‘Tingle’ Ingle were chuffed. Stay tuned for some similarly winning news from the boyz!
If it came down to a civil war between the partisans of our main sports of rugby, basketball, debating and hockey, we have to admit it would be likely that only the hockey girls would be left standing. First of all, there are hordes of them. Secondly, they have sticks. And thirdly, and most importantly, their Head Coach, Ms. ‘Give ’em Hell’ Speller, has Eagle Scout badges in Total Warfare and Imperial Aggression. But, thankfully, all our coaches and athletes are still on friendly terms… for now. Anyways, the First Years recently added actual wins to their already impressive portfolio of enthusiasm, hard work and sheer joy in playing the sport. And the Hockey Teams’ Official Transition Year Photographers, Greta and Juliet, won the ‘Artsy Sport Photos of the Week’ competition. Stay tuned for more hockey hoopla!
Call-Up of the Cross Country Army!
Shay Keenan has been doing this for some years now: assembling hordes of willing and mostly able runners to compete in regional track meets. And, come to think of it, Mr. Smith has now been at it for a few years, too! A couple of weeks ago, our First Years competed in the West Leinster Cross Country Championships, with over 2,000 athletes running in Phoenix Park. All involved completed the race and several finished in the top 20%. Well done to the runners and to Shay Keenan and Mr. Smith for organising.
Jolly Hockey Sticks… Again!
Once again, Ms. Speller’s hockey minions are off and running and winning and putting pressure on those rugby boys! Third Year Eva Ryan kindly gives us this update on recent jolly hockey goings-on:
In our Junior league match, last Tuesday, we won 9-1. In the first half we had a total of five goals and then racked it up to nine in the second half. Goals were scored by Maude Kinlay, Eva Ryan, Elizabeth Finnegan and Jane Sweeney. The team played extremely well and are very proud of their win. It’s definitely a good way to start the season! In the senior Leinster League match on Wednesday, we won 3-0. The goals were all scored brilliantly in short corners, twice by Juliet Donnelly and once by Maude Kinlay.
From Across the Sea
Of course, we St. Conleth’s teachers spend the summer busily preparing lesson plans for the upcoming school year, but apparently our students get up to all sorts of hijinks… and in the most unlikely scenarios! Case in point: incoming Transition Year Daniel O’Connor. Yes, quiet, unassuming Daniel usually just keeps his head down, his mouth shut and gets on with his work… who would have guessed that Daniel is an absolute Captain Jack Sparrow when he gets on the high seas? Well, just recently Daniel represented Ireland on an eight person squad that all travelled to Vilamoura in Portugal for the International Laser Class World Championships. He did very well for his country finishing comfortably in the top half of the 240 boat fleet and showing considerable style and flair as he swooped smoothly through the sea-foam and salty air. Below you can see video highlights from the event with Daniel featuring at about 1’46’’, sail number IRL 211260. Avast Ye!
TY: Full of Life!
We were planning on making jokes about Gav, and many of the TYs, ‘method acting’ all year long for 10 Ways to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse, or inferring that Gav and Richie looked ‘undead’ even without the make-up, or, indeed, wondering what happened to the two full pies that went missing somewhere between the second and third floor when the dynamic duo sprung for pizza ‘for the kids’ and insisted on bringing it up from Mr. Deliveroo themselves, or even celebrating that Gav’s planned solo, leather-clad rendition of MCR’s The Black Parade was mercifully cut from the final running order… but that would be petty and inappropriate considering what a splendid evening the TY finale really was.
It is a credit to Gav’s work and rapport with this gang that he only needed to ‘go ballistic’ once in all the long weeks of preparation for this special night (and that was a treat to witness!): the work having been done, not many hysterics were necessary. Of course, Gav had a very impressive supporting cast all year long: Richie Morris was a co-executive producer of all the various adventures and activities; Mr. Ingle and Ms. Halpin led the TYs on their weekly Dublin sojourns; and numerous ‘class’ class teachers kept the kids learning, or at least awake, in their own academic subjects. And the big show had its own big-time crew: Simon Toal, enfant terrible of Edinburgh and the Enterprise, brought his own one-man-variety-show to the table; Seamus Gallagher tempered it with his genial gravitas; and Lucy McGuinness mixed and applied Industrial-Light-and-Magic-level make-up and mixed and applied the infectious music and score with ‘The Ferg’ O’Neill. And of course, the amazingly vital, vivid and vivacious TY actors, themselves: never have zombies seemed so zesty and full of chutzpah! Enjoy the full show above, and do it quickly, before the real undead, the lawyers, spot the copyright infringements!
There was more than brain-munching done on the evening. You can catch here the equally deadly slide-show concocted and compered by Richie (Jr.) and Micheál and the winners of the awards on the night.
We did pity Gav when it came to the awards: we have not seen him show such indecision since he was torn between the Krispy Kreme Chocolate Dream Cake and the Krispy Kreme Caramel Iced Ring. In that case he took both, but the Transition Year Awards force tough decisions, from Gav but also, in some cases, the voting teachers and students. Our two Cicero Classics Trivia Medal Award winners, however, took it on themselves, in a dramatic face-off in which Micheál Sweeney roared back to nip James O’Neill who had been marching unhindered like Crassus into Parthia. And Luke Timlin ran away with the Sports Award, beating Leinster’s best… sometimes on one leg. James Burke accepted the Francis John Barrett for Maiden Debaters directly from Francis’s brother, Richard. Then, the tough choices. Julia Pratginestos Carreno beat off many quality competitors to take the Best Website Award, capping a year in which she really blossomed at St. Conleth’s. And regarding the oldest, most bearable TY Trophy, the JP McGilligan Award, both Ciara Thornton and Micheál Sweeney earned deserved honourable mentionings, but Conor Kirwan walked off with the impressive sculpture for an awesome year, culminating in co-narrating the whole zombie thing.
The last awarded on the night is a very special one: special to everyone at St. Conleth’s as it is in honour of TY student Neil Quinlan who tragically passed away nine years ago. The award named for Neil is given to the TY student who shows the most spirit and is the most inclusive, as Neil always was. The TY students themselves voted Richard Caldwell to receive this award, and no better man of spirit or inclusion than Gav Maguire to present it to him.
Fencing: A Conlethian Legacy
Fencing has been an integral part of St. Conleth’s since its founding, with national champions and Olympians a proud part of our history, present and our future. As St. Conleth’s bids farewell to Claudio Sosa and James Moriarty Smyth this year (see article below) as they to pursue their third level education and international fencing careers, St. Conleth’s has a new up-and-coming fencer in the Junior School. Joining Myles Moriarty Smyth in the senior school, Michael Davitt in 5th Form is carrying on the Conlethian fencing tradition. From one Conlethian to another, Claudio, James and Myles have passed down tips, techniques, and experience to Michael.
Their support and encouragement, and Michael’s determination, has led him to finish the year ranked No. 2 in the U12 male foil fencers in Ireland. Michael’s consistent performances both nationally and internationally in ten fencing competitions during the 2021-2022 season has earned him one gold, four silver and four bronze medals! Michael plans to emulate his fellow Conlethians fencing success for many years into the future and to represent his school with pride. Enjoy the pics above and below of Michael and Myles in competition, as well as a parting glimpse of Claudio and James, and, of course, our in-house fencing guru, Maître David Couper, who just yesterday wrapped up his last after-school session with the next generation of swashbucklers!
Staff Hold Court
Okay, okay… maybe we should give the Sixth Years one more chance and play them in Chess… but we have Mr. Gahan, past St. Conleth’s Chess Champion, and Ronan ‘The Rook’ Carvill… how about Tiddlywinks? Nope, Gav Maguire has represented Leinster there… maybe we just have to accept that The Boomers (and their little X helpers) just have something The Zoomers lack: JUICE!
Judging from the roars emanating from the Sports Hall on Thursday at lunch-time, Steph Curry draining multiple treys to shut the door on the Grizzlies has nothing on Sean Ingle singeing the nets for four straight jumpers, each a dagger in the heart of the Sixth Year Basketball Team. And the crowd of enthusiastic student supporters grew even more rapturous with each thunderous pick set by Ronan Carvill and each exclamatory block delivered by ‘Swattin” Sam Carey. The hurling boys, Mr. Lonergan and Mr. O’Neill, did their part too, transferring skills learned over their long and storied GAA careers and Mr. Latvis even chipped in with a couple of playground pirouettes. The students were full of effort and not without talent: Adam Rafter led from the helm, Claudio was his usual useful engine of endeavour, Oisín Thornton periodically established his class and Captain Rory proved a surprisingly accurate marksman but they and the others just could not stem the flow of staff swish and bang. One of the biggest problems fro the Sixth Years was the propensity for the turnover. Let us jus say that we hope they hold their drink Friday night better than they held on to the ball!
Nobber Clobbers D4
Maybe ‘cultural context’, the bête noire of the Sixth Years’ English Paper II, actually does matter, as the country boys on the Staff Soccer Team casually worked on their farmer tans while stylishly pinging the ball around the pitch and into the net, and the callow youths of Ballsbridge and Blackrock frantically but futilely raced around in designer boots and incomprehensibly sacrilegious tee-shirts. Maybe an earnest prayer or two would have helped but, really, the deck was stacked against the kids from the beginning. For fourteen years now, we have tolerated the barbs and boasts which proliferate through the hallways and classrooms each Spring, just smiling gracefully and knowingly in reply, and then come mid-May and a lovely day in Irishtown, we do what we do every year: we play the jackeens off the pitch!
Up Leitrim! Up Tipp! Up Meath! Up Kilkenny! Up Wexford! ‘Commissioner’ Gordon Weldon bossed the midfield like it was harvest time in the fields surrounding his native Nobber, and he had a few surly farmhands to set to work on the combine. Oh, and did we obey orders! Mr. Lonergan, Mr. Morris and Mr. O’Neill put their ancestral county rivalries on hold and pulled together as only country lads can, putting in shifts of grit and determination, but the star of the county fair had to be Mr. Smith: watching him prance around the pitch, with all the elegance and subtlety of Messi on a midfield run or a prize Angus bull patrolling his paddock, was a wonder to behold, and his goal was top shelf- and top class. And the Staff Dubs also did their part: Mr. O’Dulaing, a Kevin Moran-like rock in defence; ‘Fuzzy’ Ger, importer of a bit of rugby ferocity to the right wing; Mr. Nolan, scorer of a wonder goal straight from a corner; Mr. Carvill, who got his angles and muscular torsion calculations spot-on, volleying home a stunner; and the ‘Triple S’ brigade of youngsters- Sean, Sam and Shane- who all added some style to our substance. Of course, we cannot forget Gavin Sheridan, our rarely seen PME teacher of Accounting and Home Economics, who came out of nowhere to play like a pro (we said ‘like‘) in goals.
As for the students…. all we can say is ‘Where have you gone, Steven Canavan? On what fields do you now roam, John Martin? ‘ Does anyone remember the absolute class of Steven, and his box-to-box excellence, in 2008, the last year we suffered a defeat, honourable as it was, to such a classy foe? Or John’s absolute screamer of a goal in 2013, alas in a memorable 2-1 defeat for the students? Maybe it is the effects covid but we expected more chutzpah in these kids! To be fair, they had some moments: Matthew McKeown played midfield like he plays life… with quality, manners and style; Conor Hyland did make some memorable runs, darting this way and that, beating half a dozen of us, but then running smack into a northern spur of the Galtees; Oisín Thorton made some turns on a dime and actually did not complain too much; Luca Saroli showed some continental class, and with only a bit of the usual Italian hysterics; the two whippets, Weatherley and Norse, amply advertised their Early Classical Greek sculpture physiques, but to no avail, as Daniel, with his closest miss, almost killed the guy smoking whacky tobaccy under the trees and William played manfully but was left, in the end, sitting cross-legged and despondent on the astro, repeatedly whispering to himself ‘But I am from Blackrock…’ and wondering if the Institute did grinds in ‘soccer’.
Ah, but to be fair, it was a good-natured match, especially in comparison to the Mr. Trenier-orchestrated bloodbaths of the past, and Mr. Keenan barely had to raise his whistle… or look the other way. How rough could it be when the students’ goalkeeper was the amiable back-up drummer to a local Nickelback tribute band? In the end, hands were shook (most of them), platitudes were issued and as the kids began to make much more important (and hopefully more fruitful) plans for impending adulthood and life, we repaired to headquarters (McCloskey’s) and set to work planning for victory number XV!
This Is What We Missed
The last few weeks have been a flurry of activities which have… in living colour, in full surround sound and 4D (that last D would be the smell of the magnolias, as well as the Dodder at low tide)… put paid to any idea that we are not back in full, for real and for good. The academics stayed through zoom and mask but the fun and the true spirit of being a Conlethian took a battering but now, with the canteen in full swing, concerts and debates in full voice and graduations (in the flesh) in the full planning stage, we can sigh, maybe wash our hands, and enjoy life. And the coup-de-grace has to be the return of a real, full-blooded Sportsday.
The exodus from one side of Dublin 4 to the other began at break-time, and though we lost a few stragglers in the meandering back allies and cowpaths of the ‘Ringer’ and Irishtown, most of the students eventually arrived at he splendid sporting facilities of Irishtown Stadium, ready to enthusiastically take part in this most eagerly anticipated (and missed) of yearly rituals: St. Conleth’s Senior School Sportsday. All the usual suspects were there: Mr. Smith, Head of All Sport and Master of Ceremonies; various teachers, Mr. Keenan, veteran of a half century of Sportsdays, the rightly selective Bestower of Medals; some rookies and some old hands at their various athletic stations; and, of course, hordes of fuelled adolescents, bouncing up-and-down with sugar, adrenalin and competitive zeal. This last group spent the day, or at least the morning, running, jumping, tugging, stumbling, staggering, bumbling and either winning or cheering (and laughing) or just having fun, as others took their turns.
Yes, we said running…
and having fun!
In slo -mo…
and fast forward!
The End of the Debate… almost!
Actually, we still have the McCarthy Cup for First Years to be won, but all the rest of the St. Conleth’s Senior School Debates have been run and won, and some new names will now be etched alongside all the past greats on the Kinlen and Gardner Cups and the Bouchier-Hayes and Francis John Barrett Plates. Our Dynamic Debating Duo of Coach Rory O’Sullivan and Auditor Oisín Power ran a tight show, fitting two complete debates and the deciding of four trophies into one midmorning, in the stylish surrounds of the KD Kelleher Wing’s Performance Hall. Gone of the days when the wall between Rooms 1 and 2 would be ‘rolled back’ and the resultant bear pit would bear witness to such raucous affairs that the US Embassy Marines would pay a flying visit.
One of our debating greats of yore, Gerard Ellis of the class of 1972, was on hand to present the Kinlen Cup to Saoirse Corry, and Gerard noticed the changes in decor and decorum since his day, not the least of which was his presentation of the award to a member of the fairer sex: he missed out on the introduction of girls by just a few years! Gerard and the adjudicators and everyone in a attendance were impressed by Saoirse’s cool, calm and collected dissection of the motion promoting a Sinn Fein led unification of the nation, but the competition was fierce, as you can see and hear from the snippets below.
Then, after a few breaths break, we launched into an impromptu debate on the merits of having a perfect memory. We, ourselves, can’t remember any specific lines, but once again we have captured some below, as Leo Nolan and Colman Hegarty took the team prize of the Bouchier-Hayes Plate and Oisín Power won the Gardner Cup for best individual speaker. We also proudly awarded the Francis John Barrett Plate for Best Maiden Debater for the first time, which went to James Burke, who did well to more than hold his own in both debates, surrounded as he was by Leinster finalists.
Speak to me of Love
‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all’: A mature, weighty motion for our Second and Third Years to tackle in the annual O’Connor Cup Debate, indeed. You might think: how could these kids, wet behind the ears and profoundly innocent in the ways of the world, and the heart, manage to say anything of note in support or denial of Tennyson’s immortal maxim?
Ah, but you would be wrong, as all these youngsters have been learning about debating and about Cupid’s follies from Coach Rory O’Sullivan and Auditor Oisín Power, both of whom happen to be noted experts on the affairs of the heart, as well as rhetorical geniuses. Rory is known as the ‘Casanova of the Classics’ amongst the Greek and Roman set at Trinners and let us just say that Oisín has cut a Valentino-wide swathe through the debutantes of the Class of 2022.
The result was that all our speakers managed to make some very mature reflections on the motion, bringing some laughs from the audience, yes, but also some bittersweet tears from the more wistful and melancholic older staff members, like Mr. Lonergan. All the debaters made their mark, some with skilful presentation, some with well-structured arguments, some with a bit of both, but in the end James Power edged out Milo Smith and Michael Moore and a very high quality field.
The Power of Speech
James Power is the kind of kid of who makes the ‘Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence’ theory rather redundant: you aren’t left scrambling and scraping for something that he is good at- he is great at everything! Thankfully, James also has a sense of humour to go along with the academic, sporting and debating prowess, which limits the begrudgery. James proved the debating skills in his recent third place finish at the Leinster Junior Schools Debating Finals, almost matching Turlough Dineen’s accomplishment in the Senior division.
Part of the reason for our continued inter-school debating success is the hot house nature of our domestic debating: winning Room 4 in our after-school debating dust-ups is not much easier than taking a Leinster Semi-Final. Debating Coach Rory O’Sullivan and Auditor Oisín Power have been working with a particularly strong group, across the different years, and we thought we would give you a glimpse of them, as we head into the in-house debating finals period. Over the next few weeks, The O’Connor, The McCarthy, The Gardner and The Kinlen Cups, as well as The Bouchier-Hayes Plate, will be awarded in debate competitions for the various year groups. And this year, a new debating award, The Francis John Barrett Plate for Maiden Speakers, will be presented. Stay tuned!
‘You cannot be serious!’ but, yes, we are! The Senior Girls Tennis Team’s success a few weeks back seems to have inspired a full scale tennis riot at St. Conleth’s and the hockey and the rugby and the basketball coaches are getting worried… who is to credit (or blame)? Well Mr. Keenan, for one, for starting the tennis craze at St. Conleth’s, and keeping it going through the generations, and Mr. Lonergan for taking up the racquet these last few years… but, wait, who is that, standing and smiling slyly in the dappled shadows of the tree-lined Herbert Park courts? Why, it is none other than Sixth Year Ryan MacDonnell, who has persevered over the years with his love for the gentleman’s game, played by gentlemen (and ladies). Like Richard Milhous in ’72, Ryan lay low, bided his time and now his moment has come… and St. Conleth’s is storming the nets! Ryan’s own Senior Boys have battled mightily and the Minor Boys just finished their season top of their league group!
A Farewell to Arms!
Sixth Years James Moriarty Smyth and Claudio Sosa Smatrala are bowing out in style, after thrilling us with their fencing exploits for years. Each leaves the field with head held high, having put many to the sword across a swathe of national and international tournaments and having led a fencing renaissance at St. Conleth’s. Both end the 2022 fencing season and their tenure at St Conleth’s ranked
within the top 10 of their respective weapons: Claudio, First in Senior
Men’s Foil and James, Eighth in Senior Men’s Sabre. As one period draws
to a close, so another begins: Claudio is now set to build upon his FIE
Junior World success, while August sees James represent Northern Ireland
at the Fencing Commonwealth in London. To the victors, go the spoils…
Sailors Float Our Boat!
*Now with more photos! Our sailors can once again take a bow (and a small glass of port) as they did St. Conleth’s proud in the team racing championships. And, once again, we have Mrs. Bolger to thank for the details!
St. Conleth’s took Second Place in the All-Ireland Team Racing Championship at the Royal St. George! On board were Captain Russell Bolger; helms Daniel O’Connor and Louis McGovern; and crews Fergus O’Reilly, Richard Caldwell and dynamic sailing siblings, Senan and Saoirse Cory.
The All-Ireland is the most prestigious team racing regatta for schools. 13 teams competed, coming from all over Ireland. It was the first time the regatta has been held in Leinster after being held in Schull for many years. It was wonderful to have the regatta in the familiar waters off the Royal St. George and the teams loved the semi-formal dinner on the Saturday evening with suits and dresses the order of the day, and crystal and mahogany suitable accompaniment to the salt spray!
It was a great opportunity for the sailors, who have been competing against each other in many cases for years at club level, to have the chance to join together in a team environment and to represent their school. St. Conleths came in Second Place with 80% race wins, a fantastic score indeed, beating some great teams such as Rochestown of Cork who came in third and St. Andrew’s, competing with three teams. Gonzaga were the overall winners and, of course, there was special rivalry between St. Conleth’s and Gonzaga with Russell’s brother Trevor captaining the Gonzaga team.
Many thanks to the Conlethian parents who volunteered at the two day event: Orna Tubridy and Rowena Bolger on the finish boat; Rosemary McGovern, who assisted David Bolger, race officer for the event; Lorraine O’Connor on results; and Richard O’Connor, current Commodore of the RSGYC, who presented prizes and officiated at the dinner on the Saturday. Joanna O’Reilly supported the prizegiving and, overall, St. Conleth’s parents were very involved in the event. A big thank you to Mr. Smith who supported the team all along, including at the training sessions!
Off and Running!
With spring in the air and their step, St. Conleth’s athletes hit the ground running at the East Leinster’s in Santry! TY Luke Timlin won Silver in the 200m, despite running with injury, and classmate James Bourke also impressively made the 200 Final.
And Second Years Daniel and Luke Kirwan, Colman O’Flynn and Hugh Leahy won the 4x100m relay outright! Luke now goes on to the Leinster Finals, where he has previously had great success. More racing today so stay tuned!
Turlough Dineen, Divus.
The Roman emperors were often declared divus by their successors in gratitude for a lifetime of toil and trouble on behalf of the SPQR. Apparently, of all the deified emperors, only Vespasian saw the humour in this designation being generally a posthumous one, declaring “Dear me, I think I’m becoming a god’ on his deathbed. Caligula and Domitian, however, saw the inherent irony in the situation and jumped the gun, claiming godhood for themselves, while still very much enjoying lives of unfettered debauchery and despotism. Things did not end well for them but we believe young Turlough Dineen’s fate will be different, despite us anointing him the divus novus of St. Conleth’s Debating while he is till very much alive… and speaking, scowling, and staring into the distance with substance.
Turlough takes his place in a storied pantheon of Conlethian oratorical immortals. You have read below of White, Gilligan and Roche’s passing on of the Irish Times Debating crown like a house heirloom, and names like Costigan, Coleman, Hastings, O’Dwyer, Quinn et al litter the annals of Irish (and the world’s) schools and collegiate debating. Turlough’s meteoric rise rivals any of those storied greats. After cutting a stylish swathe through Junior Debating, he entered the Leinster Schools Senior Debate as an outright outsider: a mere TY in a competition made up of nearly all Sixth Years in its final stages and as an individual, lacking the one-two punch of being part of a team. Yet when all the various rounds were done, Turlough could lift his head from his hands, where it lay in rhetorical mock agony, and hold it high as he finished second in all of Leinster!
Enjoy Turlough’s full final speech above, and snaps above and below, of our kid Cicero in action, but we must also praise the part played by two other individuals essential to Turlough’s triumph: Auditor of Debates Oisín Power and Debating Coach Rory O’Sullivan. Yes, Oisín is that kid in your class who thought he knew better than the teacher: the problem with Oisín is that he often does… and he always makes his points powerfully and sometimes, politely. Well, when Oisín was prevented from entering the competition on a debating cabal concocted technicality, he did not sulk (for long, anyways) but took all that intelligence, energy and splutter and put it to use exhorting onwards Turlough and a whole stable of young Conlethian debaters. And Rory O’Sullivan was also there, every step of the way, teaching the actual nuts and bolts, points and parries of schools debating. Rory is a brave man, being the first non-Conlethian, and a Corkonian at that, to take up the mantle of Debating Coach at St. Conleth’s but when he showed up at Number 28 with a carpet bag full of Greek epics and dirty French novels, we knew he was our man!
En Garde/En Piste
Fencing has been important to St. Conleth’s since the foundation of the school but skiing is a relatively recent addition to our wide portfolio of sporting stars. Sixth Year Claudio Sosa Smatrala followed up his recent fencing exploits with participation in a special, invite-only International Fencing Federation Camp in Dubai under Olympian Petru Kuki, in preparation for the World Championships.
And though the sun was splitting the stones in most parishes over the Easter break, Third Year Michael Horan managed to find enough snow on the Kilternan slopes to win the Ski Club of Ireland U16 Boys’ Slalom outright and come third in the Grand Slalom. Well done, Michael!
First Before the Mast!
We all knew that there was a bit of the pirate in Third Year Daniel O’Connor: the adventurer, the raconteur, the risk-taker… but we did not realise that he had the actual sailing skills to surpass the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow. Yes, cycling may be a challenge for Daniel, but put a rope in his hands, and a sail overhead, and he flies with the wind! Over Easter, while the rest of us were cutting the grass (or pretending to cut the grass on The Sims), Daniel got off the couch, went to Baltimore and kicked some Cork kister, winning First Prize at the Irish Laser Class Association’s Munster Championships!
And to make it true all-St. Conleth’s yacht party, Daniel was joined by two TYs at the Ireland Youth Nationals, where Mrs. Bolger kindly takes up the story:
Well done to the Conleth’s sailors who competed at the prestigious All-Ireland Youth Nationals in Ballyholme this Easter! It was a gruelling windy four day event but the Conlethians are tough cookies! Daniel O’Connor (Third Year) made the podium with an amazing third place, impressively following up his victory in the Munster’s in Baltimore. Go Daniel and the fab TY duo of Russell Bolger and Louis McGovern who came 7th in the 29er fleet. Not bad at all for their first official event sailing together in that super competitive skiff fleet! Good luck to these three sailors who along with the team will represent their school at the All Ireland Irish Team racing Championships in the Royal St. George Yacht club next weekend. The St. Conleth’s sailing team will be announced during the week.
With a nascent GAA movement amongst the girls and tennis matches happening across the years, St. Conleth’s College Head of Sport Ciarán Smith has his hands full but that does not make him forget the school’s first and truest love: rugby. Here, he reports himself on an event that wrapped up rugby activities with a suitable flourish.
Our St. Conleth’s Rugby players welcomed boys and girls from Colégio Pedro Arrupe, a school based in Lisbon. They travelled as part of a rugby tour and brought students across the 11-18 years age range. CPA are a small but growing rugby school in Lisbon and a passionate one. They showed tremendous courage and some excellent skills throughout all ages. And our guys were brilliant host, and showing excellent hospitality towards the students. They welcomed them with open arms… except when tackling them in the sessions, scrimmages and matches! The three ‘official’ matches resulted in a draw, with a mixture of 15 a side games for the 1st Years and JCTs. Our Seniors played 7s against the Portuguese counterparts in some excellent matches. To top it all off, players from both sides enjoyed burgers and drinks served up by Chefs Mark and Emerson. A small presentation followed as their captains presented our Senior Captain Daniel Weatherly with some memorabilia from their school. It was a fantastic day organised by Gav Maguire, who unfortunately missed it, but we ended up with an invitation to visit Lisbon with our rugby players and go for a rematch!
A proper end to Lent! St. Conleth’s Transition Years were proud to present The Down Syndrome Centre with a cheque after breaking all records for speed and amounts when collecting. Believe us, the boys and girls can be very convincing… but this time, for the best of reasons!
Yes, cue the classic 1980 Queen soundtrack song whenever Mr. Weldon is around because he is definitely our otherworldly superhero! Is there anything which our Guidance Counsellor ‘Flash’ Gordon can’t do? In the midst of CAO meltdowns and UCAS panics, he brought the girls out for some GAA training and Hugo Lennon for some tossing of the ole’ shot-put!
Nestled as we are between the shadow-dappled courts of Herbert Park and the power and prestige of the Fitzwilliam Lawn and Tennis Club, it is rather natural that St. Conleth’s would develop a tennis culture. And, indeed, tennis, like fencing and cricket, has been linked with the school since its very founding. And organising and inspiring our tennis teams for nearly all those years has been Shay Keenan, Master of All Sports. Shay is now concentrating on running the whole Leinster schools show, so our Mr. Lonergan has stepped up to the net and is proving a dab hand at this courtly sport, despite being disappointed to hear that tennis is a good bit more non-contact than Tipp hurling. Well, Mr. Lonergan has quite a spirited and talented squad of players, perhaps to rival Conlethian tennis legends such as Alex Hamilton, the Brothers English and the whole Kelleher clan.
The girls were up first and our Senior Team thrilled us with a victory over Sandford Park, with Sixth Years Emilie Ogawa Boostrom and Ava O’Mahony dramatically clinching the tie with a final match victory. TYs Sophia Jacobi, Meadbh Joye, Olivia Doyle, Adelaide Donnelly and Christina Corrigan and Fifth Year Timea Kovacs also competed well, and against older, more experienced opponents. Our U16s went down to powerhouse Mt. Anville but Lucy McGoldrick and Sophia won their game and Charlotte O’Donoghue, Ciara Prendergast, Anna Carroll and Maude Kinlay all played well, as did our U-14s who lost out to Mt. Anville and Drogheda Grammar with Lydia O’Connor, Isabella Lombardo, Eva Ryan, Emma Barkin, Aoife Hayden, Inez O’Donoghue, Jane Sweeney and Maggie Matthews all answering the call. Plenty of positives for the future of St. Conleth’s tennis!
Sixth Year Fencer Fatale Claudio Sosa cannot be foiled! He has been selected for the World Championship in Dubai and to represent the European International Fencing Federation at the International Fencing Camp, and he recently won Senior Gold at both the East of Ireland Open and the South Ireland Open! Representing Ireland at the camp is a particularly impressive accomplishment and privilege as it is only ‘on invite’ and Claudio is the only Irish fencer to make the grade. Of course, he continues to maintain the Senior Male Foil ranking of No. 1 in Ireland. Claudio and his family are keen to point out that, in all his various fencing endeavours, he is not only representing his country but also St. Conleth’s, the school that kindly supported him and helped him to develop into an internationally recognised fencer.
The Plaque is Back!
Our Junior Hockey Team is back with a bang! After a heart-breaking League Semi-Final defeat, they stormed back to win the prestigious title of Junior A – Dublin South School Girls League, beating Sion Hill 2-0, Our Lady’s Grove 2-0, drawing with Rapheala’s 1-1 and Killian’s 0-0. The girls are thrilled after an intense debate about points: thinking we’d lost, then won, then drew … to finally winning!! An escastic bus journey home ensued. It was a fabulous team effort and well done to coaches Ms. Speller, Ms. Handley and Jules. Roll on next year, at Senior level!
And our ‘Junior Juniors’ are also doing well, having drawn with John Scotus!
Masters of the Universe
Never mind The Skull and Bones, The Bullingdon and The Stonecutters: the most exclusive and powerful club in the land is the St. Conleth’s Past Pupil Debating Society! No, it is not officially listed anywhere, and charter members such as Ian Hastings (2006) and Michael O’Dwyer (2010) may well deny their membership, wary of alienating the Trumpites and the Sorosians (respectfully), and slowing their inexorable climb to world power, but the club certainly exists: just wander into the lobby of the Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère in Davos in late May this year and you may well run into those two sipping Gibsons at the bar and… oh, look who just walked in? It is Conor White (Captain, 2015)… I wonder what he is doing here?
Ah yes, Conor White, he who ruled the Class of 2015 with an iron grip and velvet glove, before being selected for Ad Astra at UCD and completing a Master’s in Law at Cambridge, has officially joined the party. Conor leapt the last rung by being crowned (with Ross Merriman) Team Champions of the 2022 Irish Times Debate… or should we call it the St. Conleth’s Alumni Debate? Conor joins fellow Conlethian Past Pupil winners Daniel Gilligan (2016), Kevin Roche (2013) and Liam Brophy (2010); all of whom, needless to say, are also in ‘the club’. Conor and his partner argued convincingly in support of the motion ‘That this house believes that COVID-19 has shown that Ireland is not up to the challenges of the 21st century.’ Probably true, but perhaps also just setting the stage for a coup d’état by the boys during the next emergency? Stay tuned…
Jolly Junior Hockey Sticks!
We were so busy processing our ace reporter (and over-enthusiastic amateur herpetologist) Emilio’s 3,000+ photos of various visiting reptiles last week that we completely neglected a very significant sporting achievement by our Junior School Girls! Small in number but huge in heart and spirit, our Junior School Hockey players celebrated one very hard fought win and one equally hard fought loss in a double against Our Lady’s Grove. Well one to all the players, coaches and TY helpers!
And we will take this opportunity to also bring you some snaps from our Senior School Junior team who went down valiantly (and undermanned) in the Dublin League Semifinal. Great to see so much support on the sidelines from students and staff, including Current ‘Head of All Sport’ Ciaran Smith and former ‘Head of All Sport’ Gavin Maguire. Especially nice to see Gav showing up, obviously harbouring no ill feelings despite the furore over ‘Donut-gate’ which hastened the end of his tenure in office.
Some things are bigger than the game. Mt. Temple showed their sportsmanship and sheer class by presenting St. Conleth’s First Year Rugby team with a jersey in honour of our Past Pupil Pierre Zakrzewski. Both teams observed a minute of silence before a well-played, spirited match, which St. Conleth’s won 26-5.
And on a day that showcased our rising young rugby talent, we also saw that our old warriors still had plenty of fight in them. Orals? Mocks? Practicals? Not on this day! The only ‘grind’ these brave boys wanted to take on was the fortifying ‘oomph’ of the scrum! Our SCT were edged out by Gonzaga 27-19, but our Sixth Years were once again impressive in their spirited, sporting swansong.
Long ago, Mrs. Patricia Kelleher initiated what has become a beloved Conlethian tradition: the Sheppard-Kelleher family invites Sixth Years out to the opera and all the young men and ladies (and a few select teachers!) get all dickied up and they enjoy a night of civilised, cultural entertainment. Newly crowned CEO Tony Kilcommons proudly continued this tradition this year, delighted that his personal favourite, ‘Carmen’, was serendipitously appearing at the Bord Gais Theatre. Tony relates how he and the other forwards of the Athlone Rugby Football Club would often serenade (and console) each other in the showers after particularly tough matches with arias from the risqué Bizet, and, by all accounts, it was an amazing production, even rendering Oisín Power, noted opera aficionado, into a blubbering mass of tears at the most poignant moments… but that could have been the thimble of Jameson quaffed beforehand at The Palace. Ms. Fay and Ms. McGuinness, our dynamic duo of music, were also duly impressed, as were Form Teachers, Ms. NiAonghusa and Mr. Coleman, who worked wonders organising the outing on short notice. Good to see that the culture vultures, a migratory bird banished by the Covid reaction, have returned!
Four brave young men (five, counting HOS Ciaran Smith, maybe not so young anymore but still exceedingly brave) manfully marched into the maelstrom on Monday and endured miserable conditions to proudly represent St. Conleth’s in the real ‘gentlemen’s game, played by gentlemen’: golf! The Woodenbridge Golf Club was the bucolic setting for our brave boys as they battled rain, cold, wind, hail and sleet all day, yet persevered like the best of the US Postal Service. Matthew McKeown, Dougie Nagle, Richard Caldwell and Coleman O’Flynn’s names should be writ large when it comes to reckoning the sporting heroes of this year. An extremely difficult day weather wise but the guys battled hard and tried their best. We do pity Mr. Smith, who thought he was off on a ‘Cummiskey-like’ junket… a few bevvies in the clubhouse, a few goes own the putting green, chatting up the house pro, etc… but ended up stumbling home, waterlogged and wind-burnt, at 9:00 PM!
JCT Clobber Clongowes!
A quick note from HOS Mr. Smyth about the JCT match last Wednesday:
We played Clongowes and won 26-22: a super result with a great display of aggression and resilience. Our boys came up against a side with raucous support from their classmates and experienced the booming chants that would usually be only evident on a Senior Cup day. They prevailed and, with determination, Rian Lawlor powered his way through the Clongowes defence. There were some superb individual performances, especially by Jamie MacNicolas who must have made fifty tackles! Also great to see Fionán Power back bossing the pitch, as he has had such an injury-plagued year. Other superb performers were James Power, Stefi Saroli and ‘Gentleman’ Cillian Cooke but, overall, it was a brilliant team performance. That’s two wins from two in the league!
Keep On Runnin’!
Some of us did get a bit more exercise over the Covid Era, walking the designer hybrid pup, who every day was getting a little bit noisier and little less cute, to the tip of the Dún Laoghaire Pier, but I doubt many our ‘step counts’ could match TY Luke Timmins’s over the same period: certainly not in quality, even if in quantity! For Luke has been steadily adding to his already impressive hoard of Track and Field medals and trophies, and now the shine off his swag would even please the crew of the Black Pearl! Luke won the Silver in the dash at the 2021 National Juvenile U16 Championships and then an unprecedented Quadruple Gold at the Dublin Indoor Juvenile U17 Championships: in the 400m, 200m, Long Jump and 4 x 200 relay. (Yes, he did allow three team-mates to run the other legs of the relay… but probably could have done it himself!) Well done, Luke, and we look forward to your appearance at the National Championship at the end of March.
The Jolliest of Hockey Sticks!
It has been some year for Lucy McGoldrick. While the rest of us spent the covid days moaning and endlessly adjusting our masks, Third Year Lucy was playing hockey for Leinster and leading her team, in true ‘goalkeeper-quirky’ fashion, through to the Leinster league Semi-Final.
Now, an even rarer, and more impressive feat has been accomplished: Irish Hockey has named Lucy to its U16 squad. There are plenty of challenges and adventures ahead for Lucy with a five nations tournament taking place in the Netherlands from April 14th to 19th, a series against Scotland in Edinburgh in early July and a further tournament in mid-July in Terrassa, Spain. We will be there with you! In spirit definitely, and thanks to the return of sanity and travel, maybe even in the flesh, via Ryanair!
Return of the Chessmen!
For too long we have let the basketball, the hockey and the rugby players dominate the headlines: we all know St. Conleth’s is really a chess school! Well, opening gambits have been played, and we have the first news of the season: Mr. Carvill The Younger has done his due diliogence, said ten ‘Hail Dr. Tonys’ and moved the boards outside for the start of the Annual St. Conleth’s Chess tournaments. And this covidy action has had an added side benefit: some of these kids have only seen the cold light of Gameboys and calculator watches since the lockdown began! So, chess al fresco it is and the competition and the fresh air will do these cave trolls some good! Stay tuned as the results roll in and the swagger starts!
Here We Go Again!
It seems just like yesterday that Coach ‘Giv ’em Hell’ Speller and I were arranging a hockey team on the legendary front steps of No. 28 Clyde Road for a pre-quarterfinal team photo, complete with lettered signs… but apparently it was three or four years ago! Tempus fugit! Well, Coach Speller and the girls are at it again, but this time we are starting with the Semifinals! See the photo below as well as some action shots from the recent league win which sealed that postseason date!
Swish Senior Cup Team
Louis ‘Hightower’ Magee wears a few hats: mindfulness guru; Head of Junior School PE; proud St. conleth’s parent; roving rugby specialist coach… and Head Coach of the St. Conleth’s SCT. This last job has been a tough but rewarding one this year as the boys have often been outmatched in numbers and size, but never in spirit or heart, and the unity that Louis has inculcated in the squad is evident at every match, no matter what the score. This past week the team lost a tough one to Belverdere but heads did not drop and there were plenty of positives, not least the scintillating play of two Weatherleys, Daniel and Sean, just as lil’ bro’ Ross was lighting up the JCT’s field of play. We do not whether it is the genes or the Weetabix, but we ask Mr. and Mrs. Weatherley to not change a thing about their boy-raring!
Our Sixth Years’ season and Conleth’s career is winding down now, and this is always a bittersweet time- made a good bit sweeter by Louis’s organisation of the purchase of new jerseys for the squad. Yes, our boys may not win every match but they always play with class and style… and are always the best looking team on the pitch!
‘Give ’em Hell’ Speller!
Ms. Speller may have picked some tips up, herself, from her History classes on the great dictators and generals of the Twentieth Century because when her hockey players take to the pitch, there is certainly a ruthlessness to her gameplan and approach… and it works! And like General ‘Nuts’ McAuliffe, Coach ‘Give ’em Hell’ Speller just will not surrender…. our sporting headlines!
Her Juniors beat the auld enemy St. Columba’s yesterday to remain top of their Leinster League. Juliet Donnelly and Greta Lawless were on the mark with Eli Strahan playing a stormer in the field and Lucy McGoldrick again unbeatable in goals. And Second Year Jane Sweeney stepped up and provided some backbone to our formation just when we needed it. Yes, top of the league, and marching onwards!
Rugby Rises Again!
Yes, St. Conleth’s still plays rugby… and we play it darned well! All that bball and hockey talk must take a backseat as Gav Maguire (Class of 1990) and his JCT are back to winning ways! Here, Gav gives us his spirited match report:
Our JCT got off to winning ways in the Junior Thirds league. With a 41 – 17 win against Belvedere. A great performance by the whole squad with special mention to Ross ‘Whippet’ Weatherly making such a big impact with his first game back since the before Christmas.
James ‘Hightower’ Power was again at his excellent best, with Andrew ‘Grrrrrr…’ Gore Grimes having that finishing touch. The team played some great rugby with moving the ball with width and all players playing a massive part in the victory. ‘Silky’ Stefi Saroli keeps the defences honest with sniping runs around the ruck while also feeding ross with some crisp passes.
The pack is pushed forward by Captain Fantastic (and D4’s most eligible batchelor) Cillian Cooke and with some big ball carries in the like of ‘Rampant’ Rian and ‘Lord’ George and the ‘Twinkle Toes’ Diego, he doesn’t have a hard job.
The team is shaping up nicely and are displaying nice attacking rugby with some great skills. The coaches ‘Sagacious’ Smith and ‘Never Say Die’ Nugent have put in some great work with the squad and it’s paying dividends!
Bunch of Jocks!
The Silver Screen and, even more so, its diminutive cousin, are full of high school scenarios and tales where the jocks are the thuggish, shape-throwing villains (remember Mr. T?) and the heroes are well-meaning, toilet-cleaning, dweebish guys like Screech or Gav Maguire. Well, at St. Conleth’s you don’t have to choose between being academic and sporty… or artsy and musical, for the matter: you can be anything you want, and in any combination you would like! Our reputation for music, debating, art and chess is well established but the way our sports teams are winning lately, especially the girls’ teams, we may just have to work hard to prevent other schools’ kids from scattering when ours saunter onto the DART or the No. 10… Watch out for those Conleth’s jocks! Or is that jockesses? Jockettes? Anyways… the latest sporting triumphs? The girls pulled a trifecta last week with First/Second Year basketball beating Wesley and both Junior and Senior Hockey teams winning, 1-0. Just make sure you don’t accidentally sit at their table in the cafeteria!
How are we doing in Díospóireacht? Unfortunately, our Irish debating team of Evan Power, Cariosa O’Farrell and Coleman Hegarty were knocked out of the Irish debating competition last week by two very polished teams from Loreto-Dalkey and St Leo’s-Carlow. But it was a glorious run for Gang Gaeilge and those involved picked up much more than just cupla focail. An-mhaith!
Luke Drops Another Dime
The big man with the knack for a pass has been around since the dollar Bills, Russell and Walton, led their respective NBA teams to glory by judiciously giving it up to a teammate as often as stuffing it in the hoop. Luke Gilleran (Class of 2021) was just that kind of player for St. Conleth’s: drawing double-triple-quadruple coverage and dishing to a teammate on the wing, usually the sharp-shooting Colin Bolger. That dynamic duo had a glorious schools basketball destiny derailed by covidiocy, but they still managed to groan our trophy shelf with accumulated basketball swag… and swagger. And Luke is back in the news, having just led his club, Marian, to cup glory, but his greatest ‘assist’ may just be the inspiration he has given to the ballers at his alma mater. See, at St. Conleth’s, now there are some New Kids on the Block: literally, in this case, as Coaches Ingle and Gahan often sample their favourite boy band when inspiring the troops in the court-side huddle. The recipients of these half-rapped, half-crooned ditties of zone-busting wisdom? A whole raft of teams, across the ages and genders, but particularly effective with the U-16 Girls who won the Ireland East D League with both grit and aplomb. And Head of Sport Mr. Smyth responded by laying on a pizza party for the girls (and the coaches… and Gav Maguire, for some reason). We are sure there will be plenty more celebrations in the future, and a seat at them will always be reserved for house legends like Luke!
Luke Leads Marian to National Cup Glory!
In Mr. Lonergan’s native Tipp, the lambs will soon be gambling around the pastures green, and nothing can better warm a country boy’s heart than that sight, but today’s cross country race at Blackrock College must come a very close second. After months of watching the students’ heads sag behind their masks and covid restrictions, the kids were finally allowed to run free in the sun and the wind and the cold! Mind you, the more stationary Mr. Lonergan and Mr. Keenan were happy to have worn their long-johns, but the sheer delight with which our motley group of First through Third Years took to the freedom of the fields was a joy to see. And the different relay teams competed well, especially the Third Years, as they kept pace with schools who have daily running regimens, and finished very respectfully. Perhaps, there was no podium place, but the boys and girls involved were winners, nevertheless: victorious over our endemic inertia!
Sticks and Style!
A good news story to start the year and the return to school: Ms. Speller’s and Ms. Handley’s hockey hordes all received their stylish new school jerseys before the break. 2022 promises even more hockey plates, cups and trophies… and now we have the stylish gear for proper team photos! A big thank you to the Transition Years who helped organise the whole, complicated process.
B-Ball Glory Days!
The Oblates Hall in Inchicore was once again the venue for a colossal Conlethian basketball triumph as Coaches Sean Ingle and Peter Gahan led the U16 Girls to the Dublin Basketball D League Crown with a thrilling victory over Gaelcholáiste an Phiarsaigh! Hi-Scorers were Jodi Ryan and Lucy McGoldrick, netting ten points apiece, but it was a real team effort and every single player deserves notice: Ciara Prendergast, Greta Lawless, Ru O’Sullivan, Ella Smyth, Charlotte O’Donoghue, Sadbh McGonigle, Anna O’Neill and Brook O’Connor.
The first half was close but a huge third quarter, in which the green-and-black outscored their opponents 15-0, enabled the St. Conleth’s girls to pull away, rooted on by Head of Sport Ciara Smith and a raucous gang of select supporters. Yes, after the Covid lull, St. Conleth’s basketball is back with a bang and the cups and shields are starting to bulge the trophy case, once again. Well done to the coaches, all the players and the supporters!
Our U16 Girls Basketball team are through to the Dublin Final and not only are the players accurate markspeople, so are their coaches. Here, Coach Ingle gives a straight-up account of his bball bro, Mr. Gahan’s, latest tactical triumph.
Adamstown started strongly, netting two quick baskets and getting out to an early lead. Ciara Prendergast got St. Conleth’s on the board and retaliated with a basket for St. Conleth’s but Adamstown Community College stretched their lead out further to 10 – 2 with a couple of baskets in quick succession. An early timeout by Coach Gahan and a change of team tactics to zone defence seemed to slow the scoring run.
After getting used to the physicality of Adamstown. St. Conleths roared back in the 2nd Quarter with baskets by Jodi Ryan, Lucy McGoldrick and Anna O Neill. With great teamwork on display from all of the girls, a lot of purposeful passing ended up with some wide open looks at the basket. The St. Conleth’s defence held firm and only allowed 2pts in the 2nd Quarter which allowed us to take a small lead into the halftime break.
The 3rd quarter was much of the same from St. Conleth’s with some defensive contributions from Brooke O Connor and great passing from Ella Smyth and Ciara Prendergast. More timely baskets in the 3rd quarter stretched the St. Conleths lead to 9pts by the end of the 3rd Quarter.
Another great start to the 4th quarter allowed us to pile on the points with great baskets from Charlotte O Donoghue and Anna O Neill. However, Adamstown weren’t going to lie down that easily. They scored a flurry of baskets to make it a 5pt game with 1 minute to go. The St. Conleth’s defense came through and held out for the win.
Final Score: Adamstown Community College (25) v St Conleth’s (31)
Top Scorers: Anna O Neill:16 pts; Lucy McGoldrick: 9pts; Charlotte O Donoghue, Ciara Prendergast, Jodi Ryan: 2 pts
Ismail Squashes the Opposition!
Dating from the glory days of Pat McGrath and William Prasifka, St. Conleth’s has always had at least one sneaker in the squash court, and current Third Year Ismail Abdelwahed has continued that storied tradition. Ismail was back playing squash after almost two years of covidiocy and he certainly came back with a bang: winning two trophies in the first few weeks of the season. Ismail won Gold in the Mount Pleasant Junior Open (not losing a single set in the final!) and Silver in the Connacht Open in Galway. Should the strong performances continue, Ismail is on course to be ranked the Irish No. 1 in his age group. Well done, Ismail!
The Toy Show had plenty of adorable kids jumping around the place, emitting affected roars, but there is one St. Conleth’s Third Year whose charming growl you had better listen to! Lucy McGoldrick has been chosen as goalkeeper for the Leinster squad and has even been put forth for Irish trials, a great honour for herself, her coaches and St. Conleth’s as a whole.
We have had Leinster rugby tennis players and Irish fencers, golfers and basketball players but this is certainly our first Leinster hockey player, and a a tribute to the remarkably quick transformation into a ‘hockey school’ which we have undergone since Ms. Speller’s arrival a few short years (and several trophies) ago. Lucy, of course, earned the honour, herself, and if anyone is lucky enough to have Lucy in class, they know of the talent, spirit and leadership skills she shows in every field of endeavour. Above we see Lucy with her coach and her Leinster teammates while below we hear more about her motivation and goals.
There were two stirring Rugby Cup matches for St. Conleth’s this past week, and both conveyed the same message: the boys in black and green are talented, committed and spirited and all opponents, no matter how big, must be ready to battle to earn every single yard of the pitch. The SCT fought bravely against the big boys of Good Counsel- New Ross, losing 14-5 but earning plaudits from the coaches, opponents and the ref. It was a real team effort, with our well-honed skill set trumping the opponents’ brawn and accomplishing a complete domination of territory in the second half but, alas, we could net get over the line.
The JCT were inspired by their older brothers and came out thumping against the ‘Auld Enemy’, St. Columba’s. It was a real team effort, and when star player Fionán went off early injured, we knew his teammates would respond with gusto. Stefi scored a scintillating try and super sub Diego came off the bench to cut stylish swathes through the opposing defence. In the end it was 17-12 to St. Conleth’s and we look forward to the next round. Well done to Coaches Mr. Smyth and Louis Magee, Assistant Gav Maguire and the whole staff!
Hoopsters: En Garde!
Never mind all that hoopla! We are still a Fencing School! Claudio Sosa was back on the podium recently- twice! At the
Irish Open he took Silver and at the Derry Open, he swashbuckled his way to Gold! Claudio is currently ranked as the No. 1 Male foilist in Ireland. And that is the senior/adult ranking. Not bad for a seventeen-year-old!
The girls are at it again! U16s and U19s Girls Basketball won the double over Mount Anville: 44-16 and 44-28, respectively. Lucy McGoldrick led the youngsters with 20 and Greta, Anna and Ciara chipping in 4 each while Timea returned to net a stylish 15 for the 19s with Vivienne adding 10 and Marie netting 4. Well done to both teams and Coach Sean Ingle! And the stylishly moustached Assistant Coach Adam!
Coach Gahan’s B-Ball Gangsta Girls are off to a fast start with the U16s beating Presentation-Terenure and the U19s getting nipped by a buzzer beater. Lucy McGoldrick and Anna O’Neill starred for both teams and 19s Captain Julia Huckfeldt provided the on and off court leadership. Charlotte O’Donoghue and Ella Smyth also stepped up for the U16s and Sixth Year Emile Boostrom marked her first ever basketball game with a brace of baskets! Stay tuned as Coaches Gahan and Ingle lead our basketball teams, of both genders, to further heights of hoopla!
They’re Playing Basketball!
Yes, the Covid cops tried to spoil the fun but Coach Ingle used his ‘hood connections to apply some pressure and , lo and behold, we were tipping off and snapping nets, once again! Yes, indeed, the Basketball Boyz are back in town! Sean and Coach Gahan were biding their time while all this ‘hockey school’ talk was in the air, and once given the chance, they made a claim for their own sport as their U-16 B-Ball Boys returned to winning ways with a thumping of our near neighbours, St. Michael’s. Fionán Power led the way with 26 points while Dylan Cosgrave and Joe Kelleher each chipped in with 6. Of course, the U-19s were also in action, narrowly losing to the same opponent. Below you see both teams, and some action shots from earlier matches against Marian College.
And while we are talking hoops… the First and Second Year Boys have also been in action, and we must not forget the girls, who train all together on Mondays, from First through Sixth year, in one gregarious but garrulous gang. Nor are the Juniors neglected, as Coach Ingle makes sure another generation of hoop heroes are ready to take the court for St. Conleth’s when their time comes!
We mentioned below how the St. Conleth’s rugby and hockey teams have hit the ground running, and we are soon to hear from the basketball teams, too, but sport at St. Conleth’s involves a lot more than the extramural teams. In fact, winning matches is great, but we are probably even prouder that all our students are encouraged to enjoy physical education and sport of the more everyday kind: in classes with Mr. Lonergan and the other PE teachers, at training sessions with the various coaches, on ‘Wellbeing’ brisk walks and even at break-time in the yard. Here are just a few snaps of what is going on at St. Conleth’s everyday, in a sporting way:
1) Shay Keenan, St. Conleth’s Games Master/Coach/Absolute Legend, gets the Sixth Year soccer boys lined up for a proper team photo at the grand re-opening of the Herbert Park Astro. They look great: a shame they will be crushed by the Staff Team in May!
2-3) Both the Transition Year girls and the boys get the opportunity to help improve St. Conleth’s sporting acumen. The girls are great helping Ms. Leary coach the Juniors… and the boys get to do Gav’s laundry!
4) Coaches Ingle and Gahan get the Basketball girls ready for the season, which is just about to tip off!
Art School? Music School? Debating School? Yes, we could be classified as any, or all, of those but maybe we need to reconsider and re-market ourselves…. as the neighbourhood jocks! So, stand aside when the boys and girls in black, yellow and green come sauntering into the DART station- we want that space to flex and pose, and we will have it! Okay… not very likely: our students are too mannerly to strut and strop like that, but we would have every right to! Just look at our recent results and add three more wins from Wednesday. Coach Speller’s Junior Hockey girls squeaked past St. Raphaela’s 1-0 in a close match, with Isabella Donlon assisting on Roisín Ingle’s goal and the rugby teams won the double over Newpark, with both the JCT and First Years winning close, fairly fought games. We certainly don’t want to lose our reputation for our creativity and intellect, but it is not bad being the big boys (and girls) on campus, too!
Well, in Transition Year at St. Conleth’s, we really don’t have to worry about the conclusion of that old proverb because the TY students are never idle: their hands or their brains or any other part of their body. Currently, they are enjoying Carlingford Adventure Centre but we will have to wait for news and pictures of their cool Cooley kicks. in the meantime, take a look at just two of the many active courses in which the boys and girls take part during the regular school day: fencing and sign language. It is such a joy to visit both halves of TY and not hear a solitary vocal sound! Maître Aaron puts them through their paces in full fencing gear and only the beeps and buzzes of the electronic scoring, and the shuffling of sneakers on gym floor can be heard. And Jenny teaches them sign language… through the language itself. ‘Talk’ about total immersion! What a joy to return to Victorian values: TYs should be seen, and not heard!
Now, we are not saying that the SCT headed into their first match of the season as absolute underdogs as the European Ryder Cup Team when they faced off against the stronger, more accurate, louder, more handsome and trimmer USA team but we were facing Templeogue, a much bigger school and one with quite a rugby pedigree. But Coaches Louis, Ger and Callum and the boys were certainly not intimidated and they all hit their tackles, ran their lines and heaved their scrums with the enthusiasm, if not quite the mass, of Shane Lowry. The boys kept it very close, with Luke O’Keeffe providing a spark off the bench, and climbed within two points before it got away. Overall, a good, hard-fought match and, with quite a young, a harbinger for better days to come.
The Junior Girls Hockey Team also earned a moral victory with their 2-2 draw with Sandford Park. Juliet Donnelly found the net twice with stylish goals but it was a real, strong team effort, with girls from different years melding together into a true team effort. Coaches Helen Speller and Jules Dale were thrilled with the progress shown. All that summer training is paying off! Particularly impressive was Leinster-chosen Lucy McGoldrick in goals, repeatedly stymying the opposition with stunning saves.
Jolly Ho, Jules!
In the short years since Hockey Czarina Speller first brought hockey to St. Conleth’s, there have already been several Cups, Shields and plaques added to the trophy cabinet, watched over, woodenly but joyfully, by St. Conleth of The Foyer. We so quickly became a ‘hockey school’ that it is easy to forget how far, and how fast we have come. And the fact that our Senior team opened this season with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Sandford Park is a tribute to that legacy: our still-small numbers make fielding a senior team a challenge, yet we make up in quality of effort and coaching what we lack in quantity of players. Helping Coach Speller lately has been Julian Dale, famous Irish international player and cutting-edge coach. Already, we can see a difference in the confidence and cunning with which the girls are making runs, playing passes and taking shots. Caioimhe Moore scored a scorcher and Lucia Waldron netted a brace: two Fifth Years, which bodes well for the future. And it looks like jolly hockey sticks are set to continue for the younger teams, too. First Years are turning out for training in their droves. Stay tuned!
If anyone had the ‘pleasure’ of supervising First Years at lunchtime last year knows, the boys and girls have a lot of energy and enthusiasm, especially of the running around and running into each other kind: perfectly normal and normally to be encouraged. but potentially bubonic during plague times. Keeping rats on a sinking ship is easier than maintaining social distance amongst this crowd! Well, they all survived and now with the return of after-school sport, the now Second Years have been given full reign to go out and run in to things- like the St. Michael’s rugby players, for instance. To be fair, the Michael’s boys made the first rugby match of the season a close-run affair, but with the might and bulk of players like Rían Wickham and Paul Jackson and the slashing moves of Ross Weatherley, the Kirwan Bros. and Diego O’Reilly, the Conleth’s boys were able to nip it in the end, chalking up a win under then guidance of Head of Sport Ciaran Smith and his coaching team. Now, hopefully we will get a more sedate crowd at lunchtime!
Yes, it was the Irish rowers grabbed Olympic glory over the summer but we believe we have, right here at St. Conleth’s, a few talented and experienced sailors who may soon be piloting their svelte-hulled vessels through the spray of the whitecaps towards international glory. Conleth’s parent Rowena Bolger kindly brings us up to date with the maritime exploits of Russell Bolger, Daniel O’Connor and Louis McGovern.
Russell Bolger competed in the Laser 4.7 Worlds which were held in the Royal St George and National Yacht Club in August 21. It was a gruelling 6 days of sailing with teams competing from all over the world. Russell Bolger (TY) and Daniel O’Connor (3rd Yr.) competed and represented Ireland. They made the silver fleet and reached 34th and 49th place respectively, very respectable scores indeed. They are pictured here below with the other Team Ireland competitors.
Russell competed in the 29erNationals as on the 3rd and 4th July, his first ever event. The 29er is the high performing skiff. He sails with his long standing sailing pal Peter Williams. The The Elmo Cup was held in the Royal St George at the weekend and of course Daniel and Russell competed along with Louis Mcgovern(TY). The 29er team Russell and Louis’ team, the 29ers were runners up, losing by inches in the last 2 races. Pictured here receiving their prizes from Daniel’s dad, the current commodore of the RSGYClub. I’m sure Daniel is glad to back Laser sailing along with his brother Robert and Russell and Louis are delighted to be back in the exciting 29er. Good luck to Russell and Louis who compete in the RYNA Youth championships in Carraigfergus on the 11th Sept 21.
Star of Track and Field
The so-titled pop song is a bit ambiguous about its subject but we are not, especially when in praise of TY Luke Timlin who is running and jumping to greater heights (and speeds and lengths!) each time he dons the racing flats. Luke has already run to Leinster and All-Ireland glory, never mind dominating the Conleth’s Sports Days like a certain youngster named Usain did at the William Knibb Memorial High School in Jamaica. Well, while the rest of us were sitting on the couch and eating crisps while watching the Olympics, Luke was out training and competing, and succeeding to the extent that perhaps we may some day be again eating crisps on the couch- but watching Luke run and jump for Ireland! In early August, at the National Age Group Championships in Tullamore, Luke did brilliantly, winning Silver Medals in both the U16 100 metres and the Long Jump. Luke’s next big competition will be the Tailteann Games, in which he will represent St. Conleth’s. Well done, Luke, and a message to the rest of the Transition Years: start training for your Sports Day, now. Second place is still up for grabs!
A Different Class!
Unlike Maradona, the dearly departed maestro, Morton did not need the aid of ‘the hand of god’ to score a memorable Superleague-winning goal. Gav reported himself on the exciting conclusion to the now St. Conleth’s sporting staple and then, apparently, met Florentino Pérez Rodríguez for a coffee at Lolly’s.
The final of Superleague took place on Friday evening. This year the Superleague had to be cut down to individual year groups. I was in charge of the 5th year one. The annual draft took place four weeks ago and the two teams were created Doncaster Rovers (Captain Daniel Weatherley) and Scunthorpe United (Oisin Thornton). The winner would be the team who had scored the most goals over the three games.
In the he first game, Scunthorpe create a comfortable two goal lead, winning 4 – 2. Daniel and his Doncaster rovers team mates made sure they corrected their mistakes in the next round but also had the mighty Conor Hyland return, after missing the first leg, to beat Scunthorpe 3 – 1 . So, with the aggregate score of 5- 5 going into the last game, it was all to play for: both bragging rights and reputations. Scunthorpe went into the lead which they held till after half. With two minutes on the clock Morton Ainscough controlled the ball on the break and hit a sweet shot into the back of the Doncaster Rovers net… a different class, indeed!
Final Score: Doncaster Rovers 6 – 7 Scunthorpe United
Before we praise St. Conleth’s Head of Sport Mr. Smith’s first ever Sports Day, we must pay tribute to the previous ‘HOS”: Gav Maguire. Gav has moved on to a more sedentary position, TY Co-Ordinator, which is more suitable to his advanced age, but we remember that Gav did do an amazing job as HOS when he was younger and spryer.
It was Gav (along with the ever-young and still-serving Gamesmaster Shay Keenan) who moved Sports Day down to Irishtown Stadium and really made a festival of it. And the sordid rumours about Gav’s exit from the ‘HOS’ position coinciding with the disappearance of the PA Burger Stand’s float are just that: sordid rumours. Gav’s subsequent purchase of a late model sports car and seemingly endless capacity to patronise premium burrito and donut franchises are just co-incidences.
Anyways, Gav is off to find some uncursed Incan gold, and Mr. Smyth is now running sport at St. Conleth’s and his first slate of Sports Days is off to a rip, roaring’ start. Due to covidity, every year is having their own afternoon, and though we have also been forced to re-locate to Old Belvo, Mr. Smith and his team of fellow staff members and TY volunteers still managed to put on quite a show, with the First Years enjoying the variety of running races as well as the traditional sports day favourites: wheelbarrow races, willow throws and the primal joy of the tug-of-war. Enjoy the pics and stay tuned for the other years!
TY’s Epic Finish!
Transitioning between a normal school life and a much restricted Covid-complicated version was not the transition our Fourth Years envisioned, but TY Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire has done an amazing job keeping the boys and girls busy. And they certainly are going to go out with a bang!
Above you see a snap of 4A during their visit to the Epic Irish Immigration Museum and, below, loads from their weekly sailing course. And the whirlwind finish to the term is just warming up! Here is the schedule and stay tuned for more news as TY’s Class of 2021 vanquish the virus and go out in style!
TY’s Whirlwind Wrap-Up!
17th May – Normal School
18th May – 4B Will visit the Epic Museum
19th May – Garden gigs workshop on public speaking / Portfolios must be completed.
20th May – First Aid / Photography- 4A Retreat
21st May – Sailing / 4B Retreat
24th May – Graduation times to be confirmed
25th May – Gaisce Hike, Marley park to Enniskerry
26th May – Sports Day
27th May – First aid and Photography
28th May – Morning of Activities
Back in Action!
Finally! Yes, the new gods have issued their decrees and the children can be children again! We have already seen how Louis has kept the Junior pupils moving, and how Mr. Lonergan has persisted with PE despite the mind-forged manacles, but now after-school sport is back, too, and back with a bang! Mr. Smyth, Head of Senior Sport, supervised as Coaches Speller, Morris, Sheridan, O’Brien and Maguire gathered the willing troops and retook the local fields and pitches. At first it was a bit awkward, understandably after months of distancing, dawdling and doodling, but with a few kicks of the ball, a few shots with the stick and the rising, life-renewing scent of wet grass, the kids (and the coaches) were back where they belong, as if they never left!
And to honour this historic restart, Mr. ‘Gav’ Maguire unveiled the latest evidence of his deep ties with the inner circle of Irish rugby, somehow getting the Leinster senior team to sign our JCT jersey!
One Shining Moment!
January 8th, 2016. Covid can’t take away our memories or our hopes for the future. TY Eric Lawless recalls one of the greatest games in St. Conleth’s rugby history and certainly the greatest touchline celebration!
Vinnie Murray Cup: Conleth’s v Castleknock
Match Report by Eric Lawless
Castleknock: Cathal Lacey (15), Andrew Hobson (14), Sean Gibbons (13), Jamie McGaly (12), Nico Eastmond (11), Patrick Murtagh (10), Josh Conolly (9), Carl Keogh (1), Michael Corcoran (2), Gavin Murray (3), Jack Horgan (4), Conor Stinson (5), Darragh McNally (6), Cathal Bermingham (7)(C), Cian Clancy (8)
Conleth’s: Michael McKay (15), Sean Bortolozzo (14), Ross Murphy (13), Nicolas Foreau (12), Finn Mulcahy(11), Ben Doggett (10), David McKeown (9), Robert Cripwell (1), Colin Duffy (2), Mati Remi (3), Cameron Ross-O’Reilly (4), Patrick Cahill (5), Brendan Connor (6), David Pogatchnik (7), Kevin Dolan (8)(C)
This clash between Conleth’s and Castleknock in the Vinnie Murray Cup was a fantastic game of rugby and a great show of talent throughout the 82 minutes. The first half was very defensive from both sides, with very few missed tackles. With no points scored halfway through the first half, defenses were beginning to buckle and it was the Castleknock side that went first. At 22 minutes past the first whistle, David Pogatchnik received the ball 10 metres out and beat two defenders for a fantastic finish. With an amazing conversion from Ben Doggett, the score was 7-0 and the Conleth’s crowd was roaring.
Castleknock were quick to retaliate though and a scrum was given on the Conleth’s 10 for an unfortunate knock-on. Cathal Bermingham picked from the scrum and went to the blind side. With good hands out to the wing and a few nice steps from Andrew Hobson, Castleknock scored a beautiful try. With the Castleknock 7 Cathal Bermingham knocking over 2 points, the game was now even with 10 minutes to go until half time. Conleth’s became more aggressive in attack and marched from their 22 to the opposite end. They were close to the 5 metre line when there was a deliberate knock-on. A penalty was awarded and Ben Doggett put another 3 up on the scoreboard.
Both teams took turns in attacking: no-one able to break through. A few penalties conceded by Conleth’s put Castleknock with a lineout on the Conleth’s 22. They came close but an overudged chip from Sean Gibbons closed out the half, the score being 10-7 to Conleth’s.
With just two minutes gone since the start of the second half, Castleknock had drawn up the game with a penalty under the sticks kicked by Bermingham. Conleth’s did not like losing their lead and attacked again and again until their captain Kevin Dolan made an exceptional break on the Castleknock 10, but was forced to offload to his back row partner Connor, who gave it to Nicolas Foreau for a wonderful try. Another exceptional conversion from Doggett and 17-10 was the score with 25 minutes to go.
Castleknock fired back their response with a try created by the pack. Brute force brought replacement prop Gibney over the try line for another 5 points, with the chance to make it 7 missed by Bermingham. Conleth’s quickly drove back, claiming the restart and moving the ball from wing to wing. A high tackle from Gibney on Brendan Connor. A penalty was awarded and in his usual fashion, Ben Doggett knocked over another three making the score 20-15 to Conleth’s.
Unfortunately, it seems Conleth’s took their foot off the pedal for a bit and Castleknock did not need an invitation to capitalise on this. They charged with determination from a lineout on the Conleth’s side of the pitch. A few gaps and a lovely break from Gibney put them on the 5 metre line, where the forwards drove over and Bermingham dotted it down on the line. Bermingham’s conversion put Castleknock in the lead. Again Conleth’s drove back against this lead, not letting their heads hang whatsoever. They gained possession and smashed the Castle