Yes, even the calamitous cloud of Covid has provided a silver lining for some: Netflix, knitting supply shops, the dog-pound, the producers of Tesco purple box ‘Indian for two’… and any south-side school girls hockey team! Why? Well a few years ago, a new girl moved onto the block, and, boy, is she a bully! The traditional powers of hockey were probably laughing through their gum shields when they heard St. Conleth’s was fielding girls hockey teams for the first time. They are not laughing now!
Ms. Speller, Ms. Leary and dearly decamped Ms. Stanley forged a formidable force in a few short years, winning trophies, shields and the respect, even the fear, of the hockey powers-that-be. So, with restricted circumstances, everyone is just training this year and while our girls are champing at the bit, others may be sighing relief! Until they allowed to take a slap-shot in anger, enjoy some pics of past glories and the training which will bring us even more!
Yes, afterschool sport is back at St. Conleth’s Senior School! Only rugby and hockey for now, but it a welcome start to a return to normality for our school community. We have noticed that for all the success and many positives of our ‘coping with covid’ existence, many students noticeably missed the exercise, competition and camaraderie of organised school sport. Mr. Smyth, our Head of Sport, gives all the details:
We are delighted to announce that After-School Sports Rugby and Hockey are returning this week. At the minute we can only have training sessions in small groups but all the coaches have plans in place to make sure we are following the guidelines set out by the Government. Students will remain in the same groups that are set out their coaches for the coming weeks so mixing between students will be at a minimum. With regard to Covid and training, it is imperative that all students who attend training follow the instructions set out by the coaches. There will be a very strict policy in place with regard to behaviour and if a student is in breach of any instructions regarding behaviour or Covid guidelines, they will not be allowed to train for the rest of the School year.
Hockey 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th year girls will be training in Pembroke Hockey Club on Tuesdays (4-5pm), Wednesdays (1:30-2:30pm) and Thursdays (4-5pm). Please make sure students are collected on time unless they are travelling home by foot, bicycle, bus or train.
Rugby 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th year boys will be training in Wanderers Rugby Club on Mondays (4-5pm), Wednesdays (1:20-2:20pm) and Friday’s (4-5pm). Please make sure students are collected on time unless they are travelling home by foot, bicycle, bus or train.
If students are unable to attend training, it is up to them to inform the coaches. Students may NOT attend training if they have not in school on that day.
Hopefully we can get back to some sort of normality in the coming weeks but for now, we are delighted to able to get the students training with their classmates, even if it is in small groups.
With regard to other sports, we are monitoring the guidelines set out for each level but for now, all we can allow is Rugby and Hockey. Hopefully we can change that in the not too distant future.
Kind regards, Ciarán Smith Head of Sports, St. Conleth’s College
Juliet Donnelly has lit up St. Conleth’s since she first walked through the door, as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as her older brother Michael and almost as winsome! But don’t let that sweetness fool you: once Juliet takes to the hockey pitch, a cold-hearted executioner emerges: case in point, her four goal demolishment of Sion Hill in the Dublin South Minor B Girls League Final! Yes, Coaches Speller and Stanley have another trophy for the shelf and the pressure is on the B-Ball boys to follow suit. Juliet was no doubt the star of this one, but it was also a whole team performance, as it has been all season, with Captain Meabh Joy and all the girls playing their hearts (and lungs) out for each other and the school. Such has been the hockey success these past two seasons that rumours abound that one of the seven science labs planned for our next extension may well be converted to a Hockey Trophy Room!
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St. Conleth’s Strikes Again!
The Hockey Girls are really setting some high standards for the years and teams to come! With the first St. Conleth’s Hockey team only taking the field a few short years ago, it is amazing that we already have a trophy case shelf groaning under the weight of hockey cups and plates! The latest was won this past Saturday. While the rest of us were sleeping off the lingering effects of the PPU festivities of the night before, Ms. Speller, Ms. Stanley and and Georgia Weir McErlean were up, putting the girls through their paces. And when the last shot was taken and the last net had rippled, St. Conleth’s Juniors team had beaten Sion Hill – 1-0 and St. Raphaela’s 2-0, bringing home the Plate of the Dublin South Girls League Junior A Division! So much for a lag after being promoted after last year’s championship season!. Well done to all the girls and their coaches.
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Yes, the rugby boys had their heavy metal year in 2016, when they added a treble of trophies to that groaning trophy shelf in the foyer, and our basketballers usually clean up each year with shields and SDBL plaques at the very least, but the hockey girls have won a serious amount of ‘shine’ this year, themselves. The Minor Girls won another league last Tuesday – the Dublin South and Central School Girls League Shield. They played two twenty minute matches: the first against Sion Hill – winning 1-0 with an excellent goal from Sydney and the second match against St. Raphaela’s, which the girls also won, 1-0, with a goal from the combined efforts of Sasha and Katya. Great wins and a fitting close to a fantastic season!
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The Senior Girls did not hit the headlines as much as the Minors but they also had a successful season, even though they are extremely young for their age group and were often outnumbered. Below we see some snaps from a recent close loss where the girls once again showed great skill and spirit even though they were quite the underdogs.
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They have done it! It was a happy, historic hockey happening for St. Conleth’s, as the whole school downed tools and headed to the wilds of Rathfarnham to watch as our Minor Girls beat Loreto-Beaufort in a ‘1 vs. 1’ shootout to decide the Leinster Final and bring home the cup! Ms. Speller, Ms. Stanley, Ms. Purcell and Ms. Leary were justifiably proud of the girls as they fought tooth-and-nail in a mighty defensive struggle which lasted the length of regulation time.
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Sydney was, as usual, omnipresent in midfield and Caoimhe set our hearts racing with some scintillating runs. And Meabh, Siobhan and Ciara were all making game-saving stops and clearances in a see-saw battle of wills. In the end it went to a ‘one-vs.-one’ shoot-out and the girls were confident stepping up to the mark, having dispatched mighty Mount Anville in a similar showdown. The pressure was on but the Conlethians did not wilt: Vivienne came up huge in goals, stonewalling the opposition by bravely dashing from her line and then Alanna cooly circumnavigated their goalie and scored emphatically. It all came down to Sasha.
She had been there before, and perhaps Beaufort did not know, but she has ice in her veins. Some impressive stick-play, a burst of speed, a confident shot…. and the crowd goes crazy! And what a crowd it was, with the numbers and the enthusiasm recalling glory days of the past in rugby and basketball. Well, those sports have made room on the top shelf for a new trophy: one that says ‘Leinster 2019 Minor Girls Hockey!
Into The Final!
Our Minor Hockey Girls are into the Leinster Final! A first in Hockey for St. Conleth’s. They beat Dundalk Grammar in the Semis in a hard-fought defensive match, winning 1-0 on a short corner by Sydney Weir McErlean! A charming footnote to the match is that three players had older Conlethian siblings on the sidelines- granted special release from classes: Sydney, Vivienne and Ciara were cheered on by Georgia, Pierce and Oisín. But for the next match, there will be more than just siblings: the Leinster Final is on Monday against Loreto High School Beaufort- and the whole school is going to witness this great moment in St. Conleth’s sporting history!
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Our Minor Hockey Girls Team is through to Leinster Semifinal! This historic hockey happening will take place on Friday vs. Dundalk Grammar at the YMCA grounds in Sandymount. It is simply amazing that in a few short years, St. Conleth’s has become a legitimate power in girls school hockey and it is a credit to Coaches Speller, Leary, Stanley and Purcell. We will also see, below, the First Year team join with the Junior School players for a combo training session and pics from the Junior School team’s recent blitz at Mount Anville. It looks like hockey is here to stay at St. Conleth’s!
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Hockey Hits New Heights!
Our Minors won a thrilling penalty shoot-out over Mount Anville in the Quaterfinals of the Leinster’s. Head Coach Ms. Speller reports:
Today was the tensed match we have played. It was 0-0 at half time after some great defensive play on both sides. Into the second half and a Mount Anville goal in the first few minutes crushed Conleth’s hopes of a semi final win, but with determination they fought on to live another day! A late goal by the combined efforts of Sydney and Sasha meant that Conleth’s spirits soared. As the final whistle blew we stood at 1-1. The refs conversed and decided that ‘1v1s’ (hockey’s version of a penalty shoot-out) was the way forward.
With eight seconds each to score, the girls lined up: Sydney, Sasha, Maebh, Alanna and Caoimhe. Mount Anville had the first shot and scored. Syd stepped in and also scored. Mount Anville missed their next three, while Conleth’ss Sasha scored a secnd: 1-2 to Conleth’s! Alas, Maebh and Alanna missed the next two, leaving the score at 1-2 to us. Mount Anville stepped up for their last shot and scored. 2-2. Tensions were high. Mr ODulaing even looked rattled. All went quiet with nerves. It’s Caoimhe time to shine…. She steps up, goes right and shoots! In it goes and the crowd goes wild! St. Conelth’s live to fight another day and are through to the semi-finals! Ms Stanley’s brilliant (but unbiased) reffing and Ms Purcell’s coaching definitely had an impact. A great day out!
Don’t tell Gav but the word on the DART, in the queues at D-Brook Fair and at the pilates and spinning classes is that there is a new hockey school on the block and its name is…. St. Conleth’s! The ever-enthusiastic Helen ‘Rah-Rah’ Speller, and her coaching crew of Mses. Leary, Stanley and Purcell, have engineered a quiet revolution in St. Conleth’s sport. Actually, it has not been that quiet at all, as you would know, if you ever hear the hockey girls traipsing through the hallways en route to another amazing upset. The latest was when the Minor girls beat hockey-hallowed Mount Anville to qualify for the Leinster Quarterfinals, another notch in an already impressive list of hockey achievements. Below you see the minors celebrating that accomplishment and the Seniors saluting the sunset after another rambunctious training session.
A Thousand Words…
…is the supposed value of a picture but the frequent visitor to these pages knows that we often throw in the thousand words anyways, for good measure! This time, however, we will let the photographs speak for themselves. Our usual TY ace reporters Edwin and Seoyeon were joined by new recruit, Adam Rafter, and he proved a quick learner as he traipsed around the various sporting venues, snapping away with his usual good humour, despite having just roused himself from his sickbed . The events themselves were a trifecta of moral victories but actual losses: our JCT went down to Blackrock College (yes, that Blackrock College!) but put up a darn good fight; our Senior Hockey girls lost to Louth powerhouse Dundalk Grammar; and our U16 Boys Basketball team was edged out in the SDBL Semifinal by perennial foreign student-enhanced powers, St. Andrew’s. Three losses yes, but all against top-notch competition, and there is more to come in each sport as the JCT face the rugged farm-boys of Ardee (pronounced ‘AR-deeeee’) in the Duff Shield quarters; the Minor Hockey team is steaming into the post-season; and the U19 Boys have a SDBL Semifinal vs. St. Andrew’s later this week. We feel that… oh yes, enough said. Now, the photos!
It is getting rather repetitive reporting on hockey victories, such is the run of success currently being enjoyed by both our Senior School girls teams…. but we still enjoy it! Yes, Ms. Speller, Ms. Stanley, Ms. Leary and Ms. Purcell have built in just a couple of years what is starting to look like a sports dynasty and the Minors added another win to the total last Thursday, beating St. Raphaela’s soundly 3-0. All the usual suspects were at it in a comprehensive victory but Siobhan particularly stood out for both her effort and skill. The Minors will have more matches to come, but now attention turns to the Senior team’s momentous showdown with Dundalk Grammar School. The Louth girls come from the furthest recesses of the Pale, and they are tough on and off the pitch, so our girls will need all the support we can muster. So come on down and cheer them on in this league group decider!
Senior Hockey Girls in Action!
We recently broke the bank with the purchase of a new camera which is capable of catching those split second moments of pivotal action during basketball games, debating meets, musical concerts, chess showdowns… and, yes, hockey matches! So, our first assignment with our new toy was for intrepid TY reporter Edwin Chang to follow the Senior Hockey Girls to their match versus Wilson’s Hospital at the nearby Pembroke Hockey Club. The girls maintained their incredible unbeaten record, drawing 1-1 with the team from this long-time hockey school, with Eve Harvey Graham scoring in a tough, defensive match. The girls were understandably pooped after their exhaustive efforts but joining them at the oxygen tanks was Edwin, who spent the whole game running up and down the sidelines! Coach Speller said she was so impressed she might sneak in a new player on the wing into the next match: exchange student Edwina Chang!
Hockey Win in the Wilds of Wicklow!
Just in case you have yet to acquire the ‘postmodern patter’ dialect common amongst our youngsters and used below in the players’ match report, let us just give you the facts: yes, the Minor Hockey Girls won again, 1-0 over Dominican- Wicklow, scratching out a tough victory over worthy opposition. Or, as the gurlz put it:
The brave Conlethians girliepops set off down the N11 motorway to go over yonder in Wicklow Town they arrived only to be greeted with a pitch that was, like, we had only heard horror story’s about… a grit pitch…omg! Although the pitch was… like…different… it still didn’t stop the brave Conlethian girliepops from competing in a game that didn’t lower their standards (but did their speed). The game took a slow start but after a lot of grit in eyes, socks, shoes and everywhere you could think, yes you guessed it: our very own girliepops from our very own St. Conleth’s managed to put a breathtaking and unstoppable ball between the two goal posts of the D.C.W goal. 25 mins of hard hockey later our girliepops regrouped on the sideline and after a spontaneous photo shoot came back with a 1-0 victory over D.C.W. By 2nd year girliepops Alanna, Sydney, Caoimhe and Sasha
Sisters in Arms!
The St. Conleth’s Hockey Machine keeps rolling! You have already read about our Minor team’s stunning early season success. Now the Senior team are demanding their share of the headline, with a stylish win over Sandford Park. Below you see the pre-match team talk huddle, led by Georgia Weir McErlean (Captain) and Emily Mansfield (Vice) and the post-game celebrations with Georgia again leading the festivities. In-between these moments, was a great game with some lovely team work displayed by all involved. Georgia and little sister Sydney both scored, with Georgia’s coming from a strike from a short corner and Sydney’s from a lovely reverse sweep at the top of the D. Ava’s two goals both resulted from some impressive attacking ‘in the D’. Georgia and Emily’s instructions could be heard throughout, showing their great leadership and passion for the game. And, just like in class, adding a few comical moments to the game too!
This follows a blitz vs. Sanford Park, where our Minors teamed up with the Junior School’s Sixth Class, for an afternoon of good-natured but competitive hockey. We were on the winning side in all the matches, and though our goal-keeper got a bit bored, it was great to see the different age groups working together.
Our Minor Hockey Girls are on a roll! Now 2-0, after beating Our Lady’s- Terenure 5-0. They have scored 10 goals in League play and allowed none. Well done to the girls and coaches Ms. Leary, Ms. Speller and Ms. Stanley. Here are match reports from some of the players, themselves.
St. Conleth’s vs. Our Lady’s Grove
It started off with a very unusually quiet bus ride to the scarily big grounds of UCD. With the aid of Ms. Stanley, we finally conquered the grounds and made it to the pitch. We started our warm-up: a treacherous two laps of the pitch, followed by stretches. Finally, the very late Our Lady’s Grove showed up to face their fears. Then it began: Sasha took tip and we were off. After many unsuccessful trips to the D, we finally got a goal an amazing full power shot by Sasha, followed closely after by another. Then it was half time and our amazing team talk followed by our cheer that could be heard everywhere on the campus. Within no time at all, we were already up 3-0, all goals thanks to our amazing striker Sasha.
Then the magic happened…. Our Lady’s hit the ball over their own end line and it was a long corner to us. Caoimhe raced and got the ball and with an amazingly powerful shot (for such a small human being) she hit the ball into the back of the goal scoring a tremendous fourth goal.The match finished with an amazing score of 5-0 to us and all of us went home with smiles on our faces until it started to rain. Simply amazing! By Caoimhe & Alanna
St. Conleth’s vs. Our Lady’s- Terenure
It started off with a not so quiet bus ride which was thanks to the return of Sydney, after she had been previously injured and not been able to play with us. We bopped along to some classic pop while the First Years looked on in confusion. We arrived at Our Lady’s- Terenure with Caoimhe and Sydney battling it out to lead stretches. Then it was quickly onto the pitch and we got Tímea all kitted out in her amazingly marshmallow-like goalie gear. The captain for our first league match was Caoimhe, with Alanna as vice-captain. We lost the toss-up but still started strong. There wasn’t much activity in the backs as the forwards battled for their first goal. After slight toing and froing Jennifer got our first goal after being set up very nicely for the deflection from Sasha’s powerful shot. She managed to get the ball into the bottom left corner. After our first goal, Caoimhe and Sydney both got a goal each, making the score 3-0 at half time. A few substitutions later, the three first years, Ciara, Olivia and Sophie, joined us on our battle towards victory. With some amazing passes, outstanding blocks and great teamwork we managed to make the final score 5-0. By Alanna & Caoimhe
Hockey Teams Fire First Salvos!
The revolution continues. And this is no long, drawn-out insurgency in the hills. This is Castro riding into Havana, with all guns blazing! Yes, a couple of years ago we went fully co-educational. And yes, we allowed them to play their rather darling girls’ sports, encouraging them with the politest patter of patrimony…. but we did not expect them to take over the gym and the pitches and hog the headlines! Coaches Helen Speller, Elaine Leary and Chloe Stanley must be beside themselves with joy (and HOS Gav Maguire, too, of course!) as both the Minor and Senior teams started their seasons with stunning success at Alexandra College on Saturday. The Minors (1st + 2nd Years) battled manfully to a 0-0 draw, in their first match on a full-sized pitch, with Sasha and Katya leading the charge. And the Seniors, in the first-ever official St. Conleth’s Senior Hockey match, won a thriller 3-2, with Eve (twice!) and Vanshika rippling the nets and Georgia proving a stalwart in defence and Eva immense between the sticks. So, rugby boys and basketball boyz, it is over to you!