Claudio’s Triple Triumph!

A new fencing season kicked off earlier this month; however, due to Covid-19 – the rewards announcement acknowledging the 2019-2020 season was delayed until recently. Our very own Claudio Sosa Smatralova won a rare triple: the Best Cadet, Junior and Senior Fencer in Ireland. A proud, longstanding Conlethian tradition lives on!

A Crown for Fencing!

There is at least one international jet-setter whom the Corona has not grounded! TY Claudio Sosa is seen here fencing in Warsaw and Porec, where he recently represented Ireland. Claudio’s international career continues to bring success, as builds up his skills and experience on ever bigger stages. His most recent senior scalp was winning a Bronze in Senior Foil at the Belfast Open. Remember: Claudio is only fifteen years old and is fencing against full-fledged adults!

Poetry in Motion!

Conlethian fencing parents, Robert Smyth and Cahir Davitt, make quite a pair of ‘adjunct’ sports reporters: Robert with his faithful reporting and journalistic flair, such as the headline above, and Cahir with his stunning photography. Their latest missives:

Last Saturday in Dublin, James Moriarty-Smyth ended just outside the last sixteen in Men’s Senior Sabre, after a very narrow 13/15 defeat to the Captain of Trinity University Fencing Club at the Direct Elimination stage. This is an incredible result considering James just switched his choice of fencing blade and is competing against seasoned adults.

And on Sunday in Belfast, Myles Moriarty-Smyth took Silver in the U14 Foil and Michael Davitt won Bronze in the U10 Foil, as well as Luke Sherlock taking Bronze in the U16 Boy’s Foil. Keep tuned for more news in this Conlethian sporting tradition!

Full-On Offensive!

Conlethian Dad Robert Smyth has recently been rehired as our specialist fencing correspondent. Here he fills us in on another weekend of our youngsters foiling any attempts to remove the from the podia!

Saturday saw the usual suspects fence foil and epee at this year’s 
Excalibur Cup, hosted by Pembroke FC. A significant number of entries 
from Clongowes dramatically increased the overall number of competitors, 
resulting in plenty of fencing and competition across all age ranges, to 
say nothing of the volume of refereeing for James Moriarty-Smyth, who as a Sabreur was not competing,  and Luke Sherlock, who officiated at least 50+ matches between them.

Results on the day were once again excellent:

Under 10s Men’s Foil: Michael Davitt finished just shy of the medals, having performed strongly in the Poules.

Under 12 Men’s Foil: Matthew Sherlock – Gold and Trophy

Under 14 Men’s Foil: Myles Moriarty-Smyth  – Gold and Trophy

Under 17 Men’s Epee: Luke Sherlock – Gold and Trophy

Matthew’s First place was made all-the-more special by the fact that he 
will be the fouth Sherlock to have their name engraved on the Trophy, so 
creating a piece of Irish Fencing history and continuing the high 
standard set by his uncle, mother, and older brother.

Next Saturday is the East of Ireland leg of the Senior Circuit, where 
James will be fencing Men’s Sabre and be looking to improve his current 
Senior Ranking of 17th, while Sunday sees Michael, Matthew and Myles (the 3 M’s of the ‘Conleth’s Contingent’) head to Belfast for Round 4 of the
Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series. Stay tuned!

No Holiday For Fencer!

Yes, we enjoyed two weeks of relatively low key lesson planning and curriculum development over the Christmas break, but not all our students were engaged in such relaxing activities: Transition Year Claudio Sosa, for one, was busy fencing against men twice his age… but no longer in size!

He represented Ireland at the Five Nations where the Irish team took Third place overall in all categories. He also participated in the 2019 Northern Irish Open in early December, where he won a Bronze medal in the Senior Male category. Claudio, at the ripe old age of fifteen, currently holds the No. 1ranking in the Senior Male Category in all of Ireland! He also qualified and was selected by the Irish Fencing Federation to represent the country at the European Championships and World Championships in Porec (Croatia) and Salt Late City (USA), respectively. Claudio is clearly committed to represent the community, his school and the country. Not many Christmas lie-ins for him!

Fencing: Ins and Outs!

You know that fencing has always been an integral part of St. Conleth’s. In recent weeks there was ample evidence both outside and within our walls. First, the extramural: Conlethians continue to excel in national (and international) fencing competitions.

Claudio Sosa won Bronze in the Senior Men’s Foil in the Northern Irish Open; Myles Moriarty-Smyth won gold in the U14 Foil in the Christmas Cup and Michael Davitt won bronze in the same competition’s U10 Mixed Foil. It is great to see Myles showing Michael the ropes… and the points!

And within the hallowed walls of 28 Clyde Road, we have recently witnessed fencing become part of the regular PE programme. Here we see First Years enjoying their foils… and foibles as they come to grips with the noble sport (and their classmates).

Off the Fence!

As with Jose Mourinho, we knew Luke Sherlock would not stay on the sidelines for too long! Luke has ended his temporary retirement and is back in fencing action! His exploits, this time, took him to Germany to the 18th International Open City Championships in Marburg. Luke fenced in both the U15 epee and foil, two weapons over two days. Final podium positions were 6th in epee and 3rd in foil. Well done, Luke, and good to see you back!

On the Offensive!

On the offensive! Conlethian swordsman continue to win plaudits and trophies! Claudio Sosa took Bronze in the Irish Open at the Senior level: yes, fencing against full-grown (and bearded) men! And in the the opening round of the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series, Luke Sherlock took Gold in the U16s and Myles Moriarty-Smyth took Silver in the U14s (fencing above his age level)!

Fencing Phenom!

It appears that we have a new budding fencing champion in St Conleth’s. Michael Davitt (3rd Form) competed in his first fencing competition and won bronze in the U10 Mixed Foil Category at the Lord Killanin Trophy in Loreto College, Dalkey last Saturday. Obtaining some helpful words of wisdom and assistance from his fellow Conlethian, Myles Moriarty-Smyth, this gave him the confidence to progress smoothly through the pools and onto the direct elimination phase of the competition, where he competed in the semi finals. Myles Moriarty-Smyth (6th Form) was also on piste and won bronze in the U14 category.

Claudio Captures the Killanin!

Don’t be fooled by Claudio Sosa’s friendly demeanour and his winning, winsome smile. Let your guard down a moment… and the tip of his foil will soon be stuck in your heart! Or, at least, scoring a clear hit on the electronic scoring of modern fencing. Claudio added to his already impressive trophy hoard last weekend when he won a Gold in the Lord Killanin Trophy at U17-Foil and took Silver in the West of Ireland Open, a senior competition, losing only to a ranked Italian fencer who is almost double his age! And stay tuned… news of Claudio’s Conlethian friends and competitors, the famous ‘fencing brothers’ is also on the way!

Blood Brothers!

There are not too many sports where competitors separated by 47 years (a rough estimate!) can face off against each other in a fair fight. Well fencing is clearly one, as last week, Claudio Sosa (Class of 2022) beat fellow Conlethian Philip Lee (1975) in the Semifinals of an international fencing tournament in Cork. Yes, fencing has been at the heart of Conlethian sporting endeavour for generations, and you can see from this website that a passion for it still runs in Conlethian veins. Thanks to electronic scoring, none of it was actually spilled during this intense but friendly civil war! Claudio was narrowly beaten by a world-ranked Italian in the final. But remember, he is only 15 years old!

I, Claudio…

Like his Roman Emperor near-namesake, Claudio is no slouch with the academic books, but unlike the bumbling, stumbling Claudius, our Claudio is also an all-star of agility, who would have given even the champion gladiators a run for their lucre and laurels in the Colosseum. Claudio Sosa, however, does not use the short Roman gladius, but the modern fencing foil and epeé. And how does he wield them! Claudio has continued his historic run from last year, competing and winning at well over his age level. Last week he won another senior national champion title, as part of a Queen’s University team which defended their second consecutive title in Belfast. And just this past weekend, Claudio was selected to represent Ireland in a senior male foil competition at the Five Nations Fencing Tournament. The Romans would have loved nothing more than an underdog taking down the big favourite, and despite an obvious growth spurt over the summer, the sight of this still mini (but mighty) fifteen-year-old warrior puncturing the defence and the pride of experienced professional swordsman, would have sent the terraces of the amphitheatre into rapture!


The Golden Sword!

Past Pupil Philip Lee (Class of 1975) has become Ireland’s first ever European Champion in fencing! He won the European Veterans Championships in Cognac in France in early June, in the ‘Over 60’ age category in men’s foil. Yes, just a few years shy of getting his free travel pass (not that he needs it), Philip is still travelling the world, still fencing and still winning trophies! And judging from the effervesecent energy levels evident in his winning hit (and cavorting celebration and gentlemanly condolence for his opponent) and his acceptance of his medal, fencing must be the sport that keeps the spirit as well as the body young. Well done to Philip, an inspiration to our young and up-and-coming student fencers.

The Last Fence… Really!

Yes, we officially ended the seemingly endless flow of fencing news some weeks ago but a operantly we were foiled again… we had forgotten about the in-house St. Conleth’s Fencing League/Tournament! Started a few years ago by Fencing Captain emeritus Michael Li, it is a great way to end the season and the school year: a friendly but competitive series of bouts between Conlethians of all ages and sizes.

Claudio Sosa instigated this year’s tournament but he needed help so Michael Li came back to both help organise (and compete) and Conlethian mom and alumna Kathrin Chambers kindly served as referee. The main combatants know each other well but still the competition was fierce, and even more exciting as it was conducted old school- sans electronic scoring! In the end the podium finishers were: First- Claudio Sosa, Second- Luke Sherlock and Third- Michael Li. See snaps of the action above and below!

The Last Fence

Yes, our Conlethian contingent of debonair duellists did approach their last ‘fence’ of the season but unlike the figurative horse, there was no stumble! Inspired by the Game of Thrones, we will organise their Annual Awards and Irish Open results by ‘clan’:

The Sherlocks: Luke Sherlock was named ‘Fencer of the Year’ in both the U14 Foil and Epee, as well as winning the latter, and finishing third in the former, category at the Irish Open. Brother, Matthew, he of the angelic smile but devilish thrust, finished third in the U12 Fencer of the Year category, a s well as third in the U12 Foil at the Irish Open.

The Moriarty-Smyths: (Nominally arch enemies of the Sherlocks, but actually good friends). Myles Moriarty-Smyth was named U12  Foil Fencer of the Year and also took First in that category at the Irish Open. Big Bro James also enjoyed a very successful season but wrapped up early due to his preparations for the Junior Certificate.

Claudio Sosa Smatrala: Claudio was simply crowned as the Cadet, Junior and Senior Male Foil Fencer of the Year, beating out hordes of competitors much older (and a little bit bigger) than him! He also added the small matter of First Place in U17 Foil at the Irish Open.

Whew! Well done to the Three Clans. Summer is Coming and maybe the boys can catch up on Scooby-Doo and the parents can reacquaint themselves with their gardens. But, as we have said before, the fencers and debaters keep this rag in business, and we look forward to more swashbuckling exploits next season!

Zorro Strikes Again!

Third Year Claudio Sosa has once again established his credentials as one of the best fencers in Ireland: notice, we did not limit that claim to ‘best young fencers’ …. because he is simply one of the best overall, full stop! He recently competed in the 2019 Irish National Championships and finished third in the category of Senior Males- Foil. He was also rewarded as the best Junior fencer in the Foil category at the Nationals, and he is still technically only a ‘cadet’ (Cadets are up to 17 years old; Juniors are up to 20!). 


Earlier this term, he represented Ireland at the 2019 Word and European Championships where he gathered much needed international experience to make his dreams come true in coming years. All this was accomplished as one of the youngest participants, aged 14, in both international competitions! Claudio is currently leading both the Junior and Cadet Irish rankings and he consistently seeds in the top ten at Senior level. And when he is not poking holes in the defences of the best adult fencers in the country, what is Claudio doing? Getting ready for his Junior Certificate! Take that, Fortniters!

Fratres in Armis!

Parent Robert Smyth mixes two noble professions, fencing and Latin, long associated with St. Conleth’s, in his latest report from the front lines.

Last Sunday marked the last round of this season’s Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series. And a markedly auspicious occasion it most certainly proved to be.  Continuing the union forged and tested under the proud Eagle of the XXIII Legion ‘Latvis’ during the recent Classics Quiz campaign,  fratres in armis  James and Myles not only each took Gold on the day, but also the season trophies for 1st place in Under 12 and Under 16 Boys, respectively. Of the other brothers in arms, Luke, absent due to being in action on the Spanish Front, took the season trophy and 1st place in Under 14 Boys, while Sherlock Minor, Mathew, finished in 5th place on the day.  Given the outstanding performance of the Conleth’s cohort this year, perhaps Belfast’s motto “Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus” has never seemed more apt!



Myles Better!

Junior School fencer Myles Moriarty-Smyth ventured to Scotland last weekend to fence in the Edinburgh stage of this season’s  Leon Paul Junior Foil Series. In a narrative worthy of Rosemary Sutcliffe’s ‘Eagle of the Ninth’, he wrestled 1st place, Gold, and the trophy from the amassed Scottish ranks 
of Under 11 Boys. He fenced extremely well, winning all his ‘DEs’ and the 
Final by comprehensive margins. What really added to the occasion was 
being refereed and subsequently awarded his medal by Britain’s 5-times 
Commonwealth Men’s Foil winner, Keith Cook. Big brother James and the other Senior School fencers had better watch out for this rising star!


World Class!

Fencing has been part of St. Conleth’s since the very beginning and regular readers would know how active and successful is the current crop of Conlethian fencers.  Now we have news of another incredible fencing achievement: Third Year Claudio Sosa has been selected to represent Ireland in the Cadet European Championships 2019 in Foggia Italy and Cadet World Championship 2019 in Poland… at the tender age of 14!  Claudio is pictured here with six times Olympic Gold medallist Valentina Vezzali, who kindly provided him with her autograph and huge motivation as a role model for the upcoming championships. Claudio qualified at a recent tournament in Rome, where he also found time to take in some Roman ruins, perfect preparation for his Latin Mock Exam!

Belfast…Paris…Where’s Next?

Fencing is cosmopolitan in the truest sense of the word: our band of brothers are racking up huge air miles (and bills for their parents) competing around the continent.  As you read below, the Conleth’s Moriarty-Smyths and the Sherlocks recently dominated the Northern Irish Foil Series.

 

Now it was time for those Parisians to fall to our swashbuckling heroes.  Myles Moriarty-Smyth took Silver on Saturday at the Tournoi De Fleuret Des Petits AS, hosted in Paris by CEP. He was the sole Irish entrant, and achieved a superb 2nd place finish out of a field of 46 Under 11 fencers. The competition draws foilists from all over France, ‎and the prestigious host club fielded a very strong selection. Myles narrowly lost the Final 8/6 to their No. 1 seed, having despatched all others on his way.  Another trophy for the shelf… and, undoubtedly, more to come!

 

 

 

New Year: Same Swag!

A New Year, another round of fencing…. The band of brothers headed North on Saturday for Round 3 of the NIJF series, and in time-honoured fashion, they returned with a full complement of medals:  James Moriarty-Smyth- Gold in Under 16 Boys; Luke Sherlock- Silver in Under 14 Boys; Myles Moriarty-Smyth- Gold in Under 12 Boys and Mathew Sherlock- Bronze in Under 12 Boys.  In addition to fencing, James, as qualified Level One referee, officiated throughout the day, including all of Mathew’s poule matches; needless to say fair play and impartiality prevailed.

 

A Trophy in Every Stocking?

Yes, the band of brothers (and Claudio) have been busy leading into the holidays, building up their supply of precious metals… perhaps for re-gifting at Christmas? There simply is no more room on the trophy shelf!  Pembroke Fencing Coach Olga Volga and Conlethian fencing parent Kathrin Chambers provide a round-up of our recent fencing exploits:

At the National Fencing Seniors Championship, Claudio Sosa won a gold with his team, the mysteriously-dubbed ‘Pound of Fleche Reloaded’, made up mostly of fencers from The Queen’s University of Belfast (which our young Claudio was welcomed to join!).  They were crowned as the National Champions for 2018 in the modern pentathlon premises in Blanchardstown.

 

 

Then Claudio and Luke travelled to Marburg in Germany for the 18th Marburg International Open City Championships.  The standard was high as every at the competition and both boys competed on both Saturday and Sunday. Their efforts were rewarded as Luke brought home Bronze in both the U14 Epee and U14 Foil competitions. Claudio brought home Silver in the U17 Foil and Bronze in Senior Foil.

 

And, finally (for now!),  the merry fencers travelled to Belfast last Sunday for the 2nd of the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series and they returned with their now customary haul of medals, with Claudio securing gold once again in the U17 category, Luke Sherlock gold in the U14 and Matthew Sherlock taking home a hard fought silver in the U12s.  Alas, it was a slightly depleted group as they were missing the Moriarty-Smyth brothers.  James suffered an injury playing a more modern (and less sophisticated) sport t break-time.  However, he is on the mend and will soon be back in action, leading the charge onto new fields of fencing glory!

 

Our Chivalric Heroes!

Well, technically they do not actually compete on horses (yet), but our young fencing heroes do display all the necessary knightly virtues:  fighting skill, courage, impeccable manners, an eye for the young fencing ladies… and the willingness to spend their weekends dressed up like medieval warriors!   And the most ‘ye olde worlde-ly’ of all the fencing competitions must be the Lord Killanin Trophy: the title alone fairly reeks of the antiquarian aspect of the noble sport.  But we fear that they may change that title soon to the ‘St. Conleth’s In-House Trophy’ if we continue to dominate the competition!

 

 

Last weekend, at Loretto-Dalkey, the band of brothers (Moriarty-Smyth-Smyth and Sherlock) and Claudio ‘Zorro’ Sosa once again bagged most of the shine available. In Cadets (Under 16s) Foil, Claudio won Gold and  James finished 5th.  In the Under 14 Foil,  Luke won Gold!  In the Under 12 Foil,  Myles won Gold and Mathew placed 5th, and in the Under 15 Epee, Luke won Silver.  That was just on Saturday.  On Sunday (after completing several pages of their Study-Books), the merry band headed north to Belfast, where they competed in the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series Round 1.  And our boys did not do the Brexit negotiations any favours!  In Cadets (Under 16s) Foil, Claudio won Gold and  James took Silver (another all-Conlethian final!) In the Under 14 Foil,  Luke won Gold and in the Under 12 Foil, Myles copped Gold and  Mathew finished 5th.  Whew.  And, yes, there are rumours of a jousting court being included in our next extension!

Our Own Little Zorro?

In the dark times of Spanish Colonial administration of California, a masked hero emerged from the shadows of the Los Angelean pueblo: a champion of the people who used his mastery of the sword and his quick-fire wit to fight injustice and puncture the pretensions of the arrogant and bloated overclass.  Well, Claudio Sosa is  obviously the Conlethian Zorro!  Anyone who has him in class knows well about his undisputed rhetorical ability and the senior fencers of Ireland are quickly learning about his skill with the blade.  Claudio (and classmate James Moriarty-Smyth) are competing now as adults, and Claudio has already racked up two bronzes and a gold on the senior circuit.  Recently, he finished third in the West of Ireland completion (notice the facial hair on his competitors!) and now he has been crowned Intermediate Champion.  Claudio is ranked 8th amongst Senior Fencers in Ireland and he is only 14!    In other St. Conleth’s fencing news, we proudly announce the passing of the torch (or saber?) from Michael  ‘Mr. St. Conleth’s Fencing’ Li to new Fencing Captain Stephen Rockett and Vice-Captain James Moriarty-Smyth-Smyth.  Also making moves is James’s younger brother, Myles, who we see below, accepting a bronze medal at a Newcastle competition.  With swordsmen like these, we are obviously in good hands despite that impending zombie apocalypse!

Over The Next Fence!

Another term, another fencing season….  This year the blade bar has been upped: James Moriarty-Smyth and Claudio Sosa, having been selected by Irish Fencing, are now fencing at Under 17 level on the European Cadet Circuit.  Last weekend the Conlethian pair, along with 10 other selected foilists,  represented  Ireland at the inaugural leg of the 2018/19 circuit amid the impressive surroundings of Bolton Arena, Manchester.  Despite both of them being two of the youngest competitors, they gave it their all. James very narrowly missed the DE tableau of 128 fencers, ending the day ranked 135 out of a field of 170. Claudio ended ranked 143.   The numbers may not seem that impressive at first, but remember, both boys are fencing above their age level and that the competitors are the best in Europe.  And the is just in: The European Fencing Federation website now lists both James and Claudio with European rankings, courtesy of last weekend’s competition in Manchester. James is ranked 400th out of 538, while Claudio is 417th out of 538.  Not bad for two kids who can barely get into a 15s movie on their own!  See some of the action below, as well as one last shot of Fencing Captain emeritus, Michael Lee, as he hands his foil to new Captain Stephen Rockett and Vice James. (Thanks to Robert Smyth for news and pics.)

 

 

 

 

 

Conlethian Fencers Rampage Through Europe!

The Conlethian fencers, again, went international and grabbed the gold in foreign fields of glory.  Poland, Durham (UK) and Northern Ireland all fell to our swashbuckling swordsmen.  Details from Robert Smyth…

The Easter holiday period saw the St. Conleth’s boys (come on, girls!) continue to fence across the waters of the Irish Sea:

Claudio Sosa and Luke Sherlock journeyed to Poland for the worldwide Challenge Wratislavia, with Claudio reaching the last 64 in the Boys Under 15 out of 220 and Luke achieving his goal of placing in the top 100 in the Boys Under 14 out of 240 fencers.  Meanwhile, James and Myles Moriarty-Smyth returned to Britain’s North East to compete at the Durham leg of the Leon Paul Junior Foil Series. They returned with Bronze medals for Under 15 and Under 11, respectively.

The second week of the holiday saw the whole band travelling North on Saturday to compete in the final round of this year’s Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series, and as usual, they returned with medals and trophies:  Under 10s – Myles won Gold and overall 1st place for the season and Matthew Sherlock took Silver, after an all-Conlethian final. Under 14s – Claudio Gold and overall 1st place for the season. James took  Bronze and overall 2nd place for the season. And Luke won Bronze and overall ‎3rd place.  And you just ate chocolate all break long!

 

 

 

Fencing

Fencing has evolved from centuries of duelling into an extremely safe but still incredibly exciting sport. The weapons used are blunt-ended, and fencers wear protective clothing which is reinforced to prevent injuries. Coaching by world-class professionals is available to all students. Current St. Conleth’s fencers and recent alumni are always near the top of the All-Ireland order of merit.