St. Francis College, Rochestown
Rebel Óg Award Winners April 2012
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Click Here to go to photos of presentation on Rebel Óg Website
This article appeared in The Irish Examiner on 04/05/12
Rochestown College set for return to glory
By Denis Hurley
Friday, May 04, 2012
Look at the Corn Uí Mhuirí roll of honour and the powerhouses of Munster Colleges football leap off the page.
Coláiste Chríost Rí with 15 titles, North Monastery and St Fachtna’s, Skibbereen with three each while newer additions to the list also feature in Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh and De La Salle Macroom.
But a thumb down through the decades may provide a signpost for the future. The 1950 winners of the competition were also from Cork, and it won’t surprise shrewd judges if their name will be inscribed onto the cup again in the near future. Indeed, at the ceremony this week to honour St Francis College, Rochestown as the April winners of the Rebel Óg Monthly Awards, the chairman of the selection committee Mick Evans said that he would be “stunned” if the school fails to restore past glories.
These are heady times for ‘RoCo’, with two consecutive Corn na gColáistí (Munster U16½B) titles claimed as well as two Cork U14 and one senior B win in the past two years. In addition, they competed in the Corn Uí Mhuirí this season again after a long absence, making it out of their group and into the quarter-finals.
The desire for achievement is instilled at an early age, according to student Kevin Flahive.
“It’s massive, you can see it when you walk in the door,” he says. “There are pictures of teams over many years. It’s a huge tradition in the school and it’s growing more and more.”
Principal Diarmuid Ó Mathúna elaborates on the factors contributing to the school’s recent success.
“The success of the school is directly related to the increase in popularity of the school. The population of the school has grown in recent years and with that we’re attracting a lot of first-class hurlers and footballers too.”
The increase in popularity is down to success in various areas, creating a positive vicious circle.
“We’re doing so well on a number of fronts,” says Ó Mathúna. “Academically, on the sporting front and even last week we had tremendous success in debating.
“We’re recognised as a school with a strong pastoral care ethos, developing the student academically and sports-wise. Success breeds success, without a doubt, on all fronts.”
Of course, any progress depends on teachers’ efforts in extra-curricular activities. Liam Sheehan, coach to the Corn Uí Mhuirí side among others, is happy to dedicate himself to helping the school’s efforts.
“From first year, we try to get them in the frame of mind that they need to train in order to be competitive, this year was a big step up for the senior lads in terms of commitment and that passes on down.
“The younger lads see what it takes to be successful. There’s unbelievable competition in Cork and Kerry, the standard is extremely high, so if you don’t put in the work you’re not going to get any reward.
“We’ve had some players be selected on Cork minor teams recently and it’s a great boost for the guys in first and second year to see that, it gives them something to aim for.”
The college has always placed a great emphasis on Gaelic Games since it was established in 1884. Well known Capuchins such as Fr. Nessan and Bro. Edward were prominent for many years in developing the college as a force in Gaelic Games. 1950 was our must successful year on the football field to date winning the Corn an Fhriunnaigh (U-16), with the Seniors claiming both the Corn Uí Mhuirí in Munster and the Simcox Cup in Cork.
In the 1980’s the school entered a leaner spell due to the loss of boarding school pupils and the inevitable contraction in numbers. However, in recent years the college has gone from strength to strength as our student population increased dramatically. Wins in the Cork Colleges U-14 A (2010 and 2011), Senior B (2011), and Corn na gColaistí (Munster U-16½ B) (2011 & 2012) have raised the spirits in the college. The U-15 team were narrowly defeated by Dingle in the final of the Corn Uí Mhoráin ( Munster ‘A’) in November 2011.
Due to the huge effort by so many players and teachers a return to the Corn Ui Mhuiri was imminent. In 2011 victory in the Corn na gColaisti paved the way and St. Francis College re-entered Munster’s premium completion in September of the same year. The present Corn Uí Mhuirí panel hosts a number of players from neighbouring clubs including: St. Michaels, Douglas, Nemo, St. Finbarrs, Carrigaline and Passage. The Corn Uí Mhuirí team qualified for the quarter-final of the competition beating St. Flannan’s College and Intermediate School Killorglin along the way before narrowly losing out to Tralee CBS. The majority of the team are underage again next year and hopes are high further progress can be made in the competition.
Corn Úi Mhuirí Football Team 2011/2012
We were delighted to welcome on board Terry Murphy, the proprietor of Centra, Rochestown, as our main sponsor for 2011/12 and the forthcoming years. Terry’s support for our senior football team has enabled us to bring our preparation to the next level and with his continued support we believe we can make further progress in the years ahead.
The crowning achievement of the year was the victory of our under 16½ footballers in retaining the Corn na gColáistí (Munster B) trophy. In the first round we defeated Rice College from Ennis followed by hard earned victories over St. Colman’s Fermoy and Bandon. We faced DLS Macroom in the final which was a very tense encounter all the way through. Some great football was exhibited by both teams on the day and we were delighted to come away with a victory on a scoreline of 1-11 to 0-9. Throughout the campaign the players displayed great commitment, skill and pride in representing the school.
Munster U16½ Football Champions 2012
Big strides have also been made on the hurling front in recent years. The Cork Colleges U16 B title was achieved in 2009. Since then the school has participated in all ‘A’ grade competitions in Cork. The school has come very close to Munster glory losing semi-finals on both occasions to eventual winners Clonmel HS in the U15 semi-final in 2010 and to Bandon HH in the u16½ semi-final in 2011. Landmark victories were achieved along the way with wins over Nenagh CBS and Midleton CBS demonstrating a major potential. The senior hurlers were also knocked out of the Corn Phadraig by eventual winners Doon CBS in 2012.
Making the difference
The success on the field in recent years in hurling and football reflects the spirit that there has always been in the College. We hope to continue to live up to our school motto and “make the difference” in the years ahead on the GAA field.
“Gaa in the college has been on the rise for a number of years. As a coach the job is made a lot easier by the support from fellow staff and management. The commitment and attitude of the players is second to none and they are a pleasure to train.” -Liam Sheehan, Corn Uí Mhuirí Coach.
“I really enjoy playing for the school. The coaching we receive is brilliant and the training is really challenging and enjoyable. I always look forward to playing games for the school and playing with your fellow classmates is something I will always remember. We are lucky to be so successful at the moment and have such a great team spirit.” –Andrew Murphy, (5th Year).
– Andrew Murphy Blackrock/ St. Michaels/Cork Minor Footballer.
A final word from the Principal
Sports of all types have always been an integral part of the educational experience in St. Francis College. Many years ago sporting endeavours were shored up primarily by the effort and enthusiasm of devoted Capuchin Friars such as Fr. Nessan and Br. Edward. In recent years the mantle has passed to many of the lay teachers who give of their time coaching and mentoring teams in a variety of sporting and non-sporting areas.
The last ten years has seen a resurgence in the number of trophies returning to the school. There is a direct correlation between the success on the field and the incremental growth in pupil numbers. With a pupil cohort of over 650, 2011 marked our return to the Corn Uí Mhuirí competition which was a source of great pride for present but also our loyal past pupils.
Great credit is due to our current team of coaches who have been laying the foundations for recent successes over a number of years. They continue to invest time and energy into extra-curricular activities which inevitably manifests itself in school pride and spirit.
Gabhaim buíochas leo agus guím gach rath ar an obair.
Diarmuid Ó Mathúna (Príomh-oide)