The High School U-17 rugby team took part in the East Munster Cup. In the quarter final they beat Colaiste Dun Iascaigh, Cahir 27-0. While the score may flatter the High School, the performance was exceptional, considering the team comprised of several members of the U-15 panel and some students who had never played rugby before, along with a few more experienced senior players.
This augured well for the semi final clash against old rivals the Abbey School from Tipperary. The High School was keen to retain the cup they won last year against the same opposition so this was always going to be a tense affair.
Unfortunately, due a try in injury time, the High School were beaten 20-18. For their efforts throughout the game, the High School probably deserved to win this match; their commitment and bravery was outstanding and they certainly showed their pride in the jersey. But, alas, it was not to be!
As ever, we must always be positive and there is great potential in this group of players; next season promises to be exciting to say the least.
To the 6th year members of the senior panel leaving the school this year, a big salute to your involvement with rugby in the High School. We hope you will take with you the memories and friendships formed on the training and playing field with you into your adult and working lives. Well done and best of luck!
Roger Cleary Rugby and French Scholarship 2008
In May this year the ‘Roger Cleary Rugby and French Scholarship’ was presented for the fourth 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 2008 scholarship was 5th Year student Stephen O’ Sullivan from Clonmel. Stephen plays in the centre on the High School senior rugby team and was delighted to receive the scholarship.
Stephen 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, Stephen also had the opportunity to partake in numerous other activities including surfing, sailing and kayaking.
The following is Stephen’s account of his time in France:
When I was first informed back in May that I had been selected to represent the school in France for the Roger Cleary French and Rugby Scholarship, I was ecstatic! I had heard from some of the past recipients of how beneficial and enjoyable the camp would be, so I couldn’t wait to experience it for myself.
The time finally came on the 18th of August when I headed for Dublin airport excited and a little nervous of what lay ahead. The group met up at the airport, recognisable by the complementary t-shirts we had been sent out earlier in the summer, and when I saw the size of some of the lads, intimidation was definitely the next emotion that kicked in!
As soon as I hit the ground however I had been introduced to many new people and made new friends. This was a testament to the camp as from the very first evening there was encouragement to mix and mingle and meet new people, as all of this was vital for co-operation on and off the rugby field. We were introduced to two of our coaches, Kelvin and Dave, who informed us of the daily schedule, showed us around the campus and set our aims for the camp. They talked to us about how the core of the camp and of rugby itself is honesty and that if we stuck by each other and were honest we would be winners.
The next morning was our first training, so we packed in a big breakfast, went to French class and headed for the pitch. This training was extremely tough and intense. Everyone had a point to prove to the coaches and it really set the standard for how the next ten days would go and how that was the level we all wanted to attain and exceed. Afterwards we got cleaned up and went for our three-course lunch, consisting of healthy, high energy foods. In the afternoon there was always an activity, such as kayaking, surfing, high wires and so on. All of this improved our team bonding and teamwork. We would then return to the pitches for a skill training or contact session for about an hour and three quarters. Dinner followed, another three-course meal, which filled us for the night! On the first night the evening activity was to unwind and watch a rugby DVD. This gave us a chance to chat, trade ‘war stories’ form matches and to find out each others interests. I found out very quickly how talented some of the players were, many playing at a provincial level and many others representing their schools and clubs at the highest standards. There was a fantastic camaraderie in the camp: it did not matter if a player was captaining his province or struggling for a place on their local team, everybody got on great and there were no divisions or different groups. We all worked together.
Our head coach was Nigel Osbourne. Everyone knew he was the man to impress to be considered for team selection against the English school we were set to play at the end of the camp. His presence alone at training made everyone work that extra bit harder and raise their game. He is a fantastic, straight-talking coach, with many small tricks that can make immense difference in the style someone plays. He would tell you straight away if you were doing something wrong and how to change it, but also gave due compliments which were always great confidence boosters.
Aside from rugby, we were always well catered for and always had a busy schedule full of fun, energetic activities. We had many water sports during the day as the weather was fantastic and hot…a welcome change from the Irish summer we were having at home! Also in the evening, we took part in group activities such as trips to the local market, watching rugby and quizzes (albeit with some controversial outcomes!) but it was all part of the fun. We were also very lucky as the coaches organised a trip to the local French Top 14 team Dax’s campaign opener against Stade Francais, a match bursting with international talent. Unfortunately for the home team it wasn’t to be as Stade came out victorious with a 31-9 thumping of the boys in rouge et blanc.
After the first few bruising days were over we were able to get into more rhythm in training and before we knew it we were looking at our last few days. We did not know how the days were stolen away from us but we all now had the chance to accumulate our week’s work on the English school from Brentworth. I was delighted to find out I had been chosen in the starting 15 as scrum half. From the very first whistle we all went at them hammer and thongs, everyone trying to outdo each other and make a powerful impact. Although they were physically a very big outfit, with the depth and quality of our players, we ran out fairly easy winners. The match showed that there were many leaders in the team and many mature disciplined players. This was the last bit of rugby we played together as senior players of the camp.
The next day we left for home and said our goodbyes in Dublin airport. For many of us we knew we would see each other again, whether on the pitch or otherwise: I have made some genuine, great friends. For this I cannot thank Mr. Keiran Cleary and Co. Solicitors enough for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity and some of the best memories I will never forget. I would also like to thank Mr. Mullan, Mr. Bannon and all involved from the High School who gave me fantastic support and help throughout.
– Stephen O’ Sullivan
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 2009 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.