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.