Louise Browne, Evening Herald SCHOOL FOCUS
SCHOOL: Coláiste Dhúlaigh, Barryscourt Road, Coolock, Dublin 17
NUMBER OF PUPILS: 500
SPORTS PLAYED: Gaelic Football, Soccer, Boxing, Basketball, Badminton, Athletics, Table Tennis and Swimming.
Coláiste Dhúlaigh spent last year celebrating its 40th anniversary since first opening its doors to students in the heart of Coolock since 1969. The most popular requested pop song in ’69 was ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ by the Foundations and Kilkenny lifted the Liam McCarthy Cup for the 17th time.
Forty years later Kilkenny secured their fourth All-Ireland title in a row, and 32nd in total, while teachers inside and outside the PE department in Coláiste Dhúlaigh encourage individual pupils to particpate in a range of physical activities to create a healthy atmosphere along with enjoyment and self-satisfaction for the coming year.
Those involved include Richard Kelly, Ellen Scally, Jim O’Dea, Patricia Brodigan and Joe Vaughan with many of the staff getting involved in the sporting activity of the school supporting the students be it helping to train or supporting at matches.
The Coolock school competes in the CDVEC competitions run by the Sports & Cultural Council (SCC) alongside other sporting competitions throughout the school yer.
Boxing, coached by veteran Joe Vaughan, has been hugely successful with the school winning the Crowley Cup at the annual VEC SCC Novice Boxing Championship at the National Stadium last March for an historic 30th consecutive year.
It was double celebrations on the night when student Lee McDonnell was awarded the Best Boxer while second year student Richie McDonagh is another upcoming boxer for the future.
Boxing past pupils include Raymond Reilly, Mick Heavey, who was the Junior Irish Featherweight Champion in the late 80s, and Conor Aherne held twelve Irish titles, including Welterweight Champion of Ireland four times, and represented Ireland in the Olympics.
Vaughan also puts the students through their paces on the Gaelic football front with Dhúlaigh winning numerous titles at U-14, U-16 and U-18 levels in the Dublin Colleges league with a close relationship between the school and local GAA club, Parnells.
Exceptional past pupils on the field of play included brothers Mick and Jimmy Bissett, with both playing for Parnells and Dublin, David ‘Jap’ O’Hanlon and David Fitzgerald, while in the present sixth year, students Sean Holland, Dean Carberry and Michael Cooke prove sporting potential is alive and kicking.
Soccer and basketball, with the support of mentors Richard Kelly and Ellen Scally, are popular activities among the students, with the girls soccer team lifing the Puma Cup as far back as 1984.
Several studetns, including the talented Glen McCabe, are affiliated with St. Kevin’s football club and soccer training takes place on the Academy pitches at the Oscar Traynor Centre of Excellence.
Soccer past pupils comprise Darren Kelly (Shelbourne/St Patrick’s Athletic), David Kelly (U-16 Irish International), Stephen Murphy (Huddersfield), Philip Bermingham (Dunfermline), David O’Rourke (Bolton Wanderers/Nottingham Forest) and David Henderson (Bohemians).
Patricia Brodigan saw her young chargers led by captain Jamie Andrews left the CDVEC SCC Junior Perpetual Shield in last month’s badminton finals to the delight of Dhúlaigh’s Jim O’Dea, Honorary Secetary of the Sports and Cultural Council CDVEC.
On the athletics side, current Dublin VEC SCC champion students include Keith Kavanagh, Carl Kendellen, Michael Lewis and Shauna McGeehan alongside Karate black belt holder Adam Lawlor.
Participating in the Skipathon charity event for Dom Savio held in December where Kate Taylor, Kenneth Egan and Jim Rock annually attending and supporting the event is another fun sporting occasion for a great cause at the school!