May 13, 2013


Roger Cleary Rugby and French Scholarship 2007

In May this year the ‘Roger Cleary Rugby and French Scholarship’ was presented for the third time to a High School student.

The scholarship has been established by Kieran Cleary & Co. Solicitors in memory of the late Mr. Roger Cleary who taught in the High School for many years and retired in 1964.

The recipient of the 2007 scholarship was 5th Year student Mark Corby from Clonmel. Mark plays prop on the High School senior rugby team and was delighted to receive the scholarship.

Mark spent ten days in August at the French Sports and Language Centre in Soustons in the south west of France, near Biarritz. He received professional rugby coaching and tuition in French for the duration of his stay.

The centre boasts sports facilities of the highest quality and is used by international teams. As well as rugby, Mark also had the opportunity to partake in numerous other activities including surfing, sailing and kayaking.

The following is Mark’s account of his time in France:

On Saturday 18th August our 30 strong group departed from Dublin airport for Biarritz. We left the cold and wet shores of Ireland behind headed for the warmer climes of France.

We arrived on site in Soustons, about an hour from Biarritz, at 7 o’clock. After some dinner we made our way to our tents and beds to turn in for the night after our tiring journey.

The next morning we got up at 8 o’clock and had our breakfast. Our first rugby session began at 9am. The rugby sessions generally consisted of passing, tackling and rucking. During some sessions we would practice running lines and how to beat the defender and offload in the tackle.

After our morning training session we had our first French class of the day. I enjoyed this as I got an opportunity to practise my linguistic skills in such a stimulating environment.

We had lunch each day at 12.30pm. The staff was very obliging and if more food was wanted it was always there. We generally ate a lot of pasta, chicken and rice. There were baskets of bread with every meal.

After a short break we began our second rugby session of the day at 2 o’clock. This usually followed the same format as the first, but it was more intense and challenging. This was then followed by our second French lesson.

Each day we had an afternoon activity. Some of the activities included onsite sailing and kayaking. We also went to an adrenalin park which was mentally and physically challenging, especially for the lads with a fear of heights!

After our dinner at 7.30pm we could watch a DVD, play cards, ping-pong or tip-rugby. We went to bed at 11pm.

The rugby sessions themselves were of a very high standard. The two principal coaches were Nigel Osborne, who trained the backs and did passing drills, and Kelvin Leahy (former Ireland, Barbarians and Leinster player), who focused on rucking, set pieces and forward moves.

On Wednesday we played and English school team called St. Andrews, which was a quality workout. On Thursday we did an intense fitness session along with a training session for a 10-aside tournament on Friday. We entered four teams while there were also teams there from Presentation Bray and Milfield (England). Our A team won the competition. We played 15-aside games against Pres. Bray and Milfield at the weekend.

On Monday some of the group returned to Ireland and the rest of us went to Biarritz. We got a guided tour of Biarritz’s rugby stadium and also watched the Biarritz team train. We then went shopping and sightseeing in the city, which was pretty impressive.

Overall this was a very positive experience and I really enjoyed myself. I played lots of rugby, met lads literally from the four corners of Ireland and improved my French.
I would advise anyone who is interested to apply for the scholarship next year. I would like to thank the Cleary family and the High School for providing me with this wonderful experience.”

– Mark Corby.

The ‘Roger Cleary Rugby and French Scholarship’ is open to High School students in 5th Year who study French, and who played and continue to play rugby for the school. The scholarship is awarded on an annual basis following an interviewing process. Details of the 2008 scholarship will be available from the school in January.

It is envisaged the scholarship will encourage more and more students to appreciate the importance of languages and team sports in the High School.