Work began on the building of the new school in June 2000 and was completed by the 1st September 2001. This brought about enormous improvements in the promotion of various sporting activities in the newly titled ‘Desmond College’.

There was a dramatic increase in student intake and with the availability of a state of the art gym; it gave students the opportunity to partake in physical activity all year round – unhindered by winter weather.

During the building of the gym, it was Jim Kelleher’s observant nature and interest in sport that saw it could, and should be increased in size during its construction. If it were not for that, the gym would have only been two thirds the size it is now. Richard’s determined re-negotiation paid off to gain us this fine structure – a testament to their commitment to sport and its value, which the VEC recognised.

U.14 County Champions 2000
B/Row: Graeme Sheehan, Neilus Brouder, Alan O’ Mahony, Oliver O’ Connor, Robert Egan,
Kevin Walsh, Malachy O’ Connor, Ger Downes, Jimmy Kelly, Seoirse Joyce, Liam O’ Brien,
Michael Copse and Paul Connaghan.
F/Row: John Copse, Brian Walsh, Stephen Nix, ___ , Tommy Crawford, Mark Collins,
Mícheál O’ Sullivan (Knockaderry), Noel Mullane and Paudie Whelan.

Ceard Scoil Newcastle West, U14 Cup
B/Row: Nielus Brouder, Oliver O’ Connor, Robert EGAN, Kenneth Walsh, Malachy O’ Connor,
Gerard Downes, Jimmy Kelly, Seoirse Joyce and Liam O’ Brien.
F/Row: Brian Walsh, Stephen Nix, Tommy Crawford, Mark Collins, Michael O’ Sullivan (Knockaderry), and Mike Copse.

The jubilation shared by the Ger (captain) and the victorious team is evident in this photograph.

Ladies Football Team

All Ireland winners, Limerick U.21 team members with their silverware on a visit to the school promoting Gaelic Games

Gaelcholáiste Uí Chonbá Are County Champions (Ladies Football)

Gaelcholáiste Uí Chonbá………………………. 3-4
Dromcollogher…………………………………… 2-4

The Gaelcholáiste realised their dreams when they won their first Vocational Schools and Colleges County Football Championship in windy conditions in the Demesne 16th Feb 2000. This they can add to last year’s camogie win. Playing with the wind, the local girls settled early and within ten minutes they were ahead by 1-1 two great scores by their midfield colossus Deirdre Ní Ghiolla Phádraig.

The local girls continued to dominate but found scores hard to come by. Another point by Deirdre and a goal by Dianne Carroll left the Gaelcholáiste leading by 2-2 to 0-1 at half time. Facing the wind and the hill in the second half, the Gaelcholáiste girls knew that the Dromcollogher girls would come at them with all guns blazing and indeed they did and within ten minutes, the deficit between the two teams was reduced to one goal.

However, the backs for Gaelcholáiste marshalled by the indefatigable Meadhbh de Nais and with great assistance from Ide Ní Domhnaill. Sarah Moloney and Clár Ní Ghiolla Phádraig, another stalwart of this team refused to surrender and on one of their frequent attacks, Aoife Kenneally, had a goal and shortly afterwards Dianne Carroll scored a point.

Dromcollogher never gave up and by seven minutes from time, had scored 3 more points to leave just one goal separating the two teams. What a nail-biting seven minutes we had when both teams believed victory was there for the taking. But it was in these final minutes that the Gaelcholáiste defence showed their true mettle. Others to play their part in this historic victory were Sorcha Ní Domhnaill, Sarah Mulcahy, Máire Ní Anglim, Máire Ní hAongusa, Rena Ní Chonchúir, Niamh Ní Chonchúir and Fiona ní Fathaigh in goals. The girls in their march to the county title were undefeated with wins over Coláiste Iosaef, Kilmallock, Gairmscoil Newcastle West and Vocational School Abbeyfeale.

Team: Fiona Ní Fathaigh, Ide Ní Domhnaill, Clár Ní Ghiolla Phádraig, Sarah Ní Maolcatha, Máire Ní hAongusa, Meadhbh de Nais, Sarah Ní Maoldomhnaigh, Deirdre Ní Ghiolla Phádraig, Sorcha Ní Domhnaill, Dianne Ní Cearbhaill, Aoife Kenneally, Máire Ní Anglim, Rona Ní Chonchúir, Niamh Ní Chonchúir

The Clash of the Ash… Plus a whole lot more
by Meadhbh Nash (written in 2014)


When I was asked to write a short piece on my experience of sport in the Gaelcholáiste Uí Chonbá and Desmond College, all the memories started to flood back. From my early days, as a young, enthusiastic first year, right through to my sixth year days, sport in the school has been an integral part of my happy days as a student. The common denominator of all this has to be Mike Nash, my father. Whether it was a hurley, a football, a basketball or runners he was handing you, he always did so with a few words of encouragement and that look that said you may as well participate, because it was the easier of the two options in the long run! This worked for the whole of the student population, whereby anyone that attended the school got to know him sooner rather than later! Even now, the majority of parents I meet always say “Are you Mike Nash’s daughter? He got me to play……”
In first year, we were lucky enough to take part in Munster camogie and football competitions, that took us as far north as Mary Immaculate College, and as far as south as Mallow. Looking back, the comradery and craic in the bus on the way was a testament to the integration of the two schools, a bond that was evident for whatever opposition we came up against.

Deirdre Fitzpatrick and myself shared midfield, and later ended up playing side by side for the county team for over a decade. When you look at the talent and consider the mix that our camogie team in particular had, you would never question the level of effort and dedication that was put in at the groundwork level to maintain the interest and commitment of all these players.

The Vocational School as it was then boasted an array of great players- Mairead Hartnett, Bridget Downes, Margaret Doyle amongst others, while the Gaelcholáiste’s impact was shared by Deirdre Fitzpatrick, her cousin Claire and the Mac Domhnaill twins, to name but a few. The automatic presumption also was that once you could play camogie, you also played football and basketball- no excuses!!!

When I was lucky enough to start teaching in Desmond College, it was natural for me to get involved in the school football and camogie teams. We played blitzes, county- wide competitions, and much more. Margaret O’ Connor and Catriona Quaid were two players that stood out for me. They washed water bottles, they planned, they encouraged, they were real role models for the younger players coming on and last by not least- they played with such heart that the green and red of our school was always a force to be reckoned with.

More recently, the school has become a steady conveyer belt for the county teams in both camogie and football. Hugely talented players who are currently in our school such as Leanne Browne and Deborah Murphy have represented the county team in Croke Park for example.

To conclude, I’d like to emphasise the role numerous staff members and Management have played to enable sport to play a vital role in our school and the lives of our young people.
Meadhbh Nash in 2014

Munster Final

Co. Limerick VEC………………………….1-16
Co. Tipperary VEC………………………….1-7

County Limerick VEC won the Munster championship final at the expense of a highly fancied Tipperary side, joined by both the North and South Tipperary Ridings.

James Windle at full back played very well in this great win.

Jim Kelleher presenting James Windle with ‘Man of the Match’ award.

A reflection of Jim Kelleher’s major contribution can be revealed with this excerpt from the following student’s appreciation:

He is a devout supporter of the GAA, rarely misses an All-Ireland Final. Having won many awards for hurling in the Cork County Championships, he passed on his insight and ingenuity to the teams he trained. He was involved with almost every team and also coached athletics. If you were ever looking for him at lunch time, you could be almost certain that you would find him down on the playing field coaxing his students to do that extra lap and that it would pay off in the end. He encouraged his students to participate in any and every sport, and was always very “flaithiúil” in his praise for them. Mr. Kelleher would regularly use our Irish names which made us feel special.” Jim was very vocal and active on the side-line. He ran every step, and hurled every ball – ‘encouragement’ was his middle name.

Ciara Mulcahy

County VEC Schools and Colleges Senior Football Team

Seán Hanlon, Aidan Carroll and Daithí Nash were our three representatives on the County VEC senior football team that were defeated by Tipperary in this year’s championship.

Every player that gets an opportunity to wear a County jersey is appreciative of that privilege and always give of their best.

Munster Ladies Football
Super Victory for Vocational School/ Gael Choláiste Uí Chonbá

Vocational School/ Gael Choláiste Uí Chonbá Newcastle West…….. 6-4
St. Ailbe’s Tipperary……………………………………………………………….5-6 (after extra time)

Yes it was down to the wire, after extra time, and the local school savoured a sweet victory by the narrowest of margins. What a fine advertisement this was for Ladies Football with both sides scoring freely at times and on other occasions failing to take vital scores which was particularly true of the local school.

The match began at a lively pace played in Bruff and the local school failed to score until the 7th minute when Jessie Quaid had a fine point to level the scores.

During the first half, NCW had the upper hand but failed to convert their superiority into scores. However all sections of the team were playing well and reached half time with a two point lead. During the first half, all the backs played very well especially Kathleen Costelloe alternating between centre back and full back and Deirdre Magner who at an early stage was delegated to be ‘minder’ for St. Ailbe’s full forward Sheila McGrath who was their best player.

These girls were very well supported by Íde NicDomhnaill and Noreen Kiely at wing back and Ciara Mulcahy and Lisa McCoy in the full back line. Throughout the match, we had a slight edge at midfield through the efforts of Sorcha Nic Domhnall and Jessie Quaid. In the first half Aoife Kenneally playing very well at full forward had two fine goals while Dyann Ní Cearbhaill had a lovely point and Jessie Quaid had a further goal.

The Tipperary girls began the second half in determined fashion and within 11 minutes were leading by 4 points. However with Máire Anglim, Linda Murphy, Ann McSweeney, and Eilis de Nais introduced at half time working tirelessly and harassing the St. Ailbe’s backs, our scores came and we entered the final 6 minutes, 2 points ahead after a goal by Jessie Quaid and a point from A. McSweeney.

What a nail biting 6 minutes! With 2 minutes left on the clock, the Tipp girls had a point and then with the seconds ticking away, had their second point which resulted in extra time.

The St. Ailbe’s girls began extra time in a whirlwind fashion and within 4 minutes we were behind by 2 points. Then the local girls hit a purple patch, which resulted in a peach of a goal by Eilis de Nais, and a further goal by Dyann Ní Cearbhaill which was our last score.

Once again we reached a nail-biting finish, with our backs under enormous pressure who, led by Kathleen and Deirdre responded with magnificent defending. Within one minute of the end, St. Ailbes were awarded a penalty and Sheila McGrath converted and so again we were left leading by the minimum at the final whistle which sounded sweet to all the girls.

All the girls played their part and none more so than Mary O’ Connor in goals, who played a captains part and was awarded together with Kathleen Costello, by the St. Ailbe’s mentors the Player of the Match.

May 2001
Munster Final Defeat for Newcastle West

NCW VEC…………………………………………………………2-7
Kilmihill Community College, Co. Clare…………………3-6

During the last 5 minutes of this match played in Glin in ideal conditions we bombarded the Kilmihill goal seeking a goal, which would give us the lead, instead of taking our points which would have served us better, however the girls all gave a great exhibition of football and covered themselves in glory by putting up such a gallant effort especially in the second half when they restricted the Kilmihill girls to a single point and scoring 1-4 themselves.

The Clare girls led at the interval by 8 points.

We started well but the Clare girls were first to score with two lovely points. We responded with a point by Catriona Davis.

Catriona Davis, Ann MacSweeny and Eilís de Nais were creating problems for the Kilmihill defence. On the stroke of half time, Kilmihill scored a goal leaving us with a mountain to climb. Ide Nic Domhnaill, Deirdre Magner and Ciara Mulcahy in our half back line had a superb match.

Team: Mary O’ Connor, Fiona Fahy, Kathleen Costello, Lisa McCoy, Ciara Mulcahy, Deirdre Magner, Ide Nic Domhnaill, Jessie Quaid 1-3, Sorcha Nic Domhnaill, Ann MacSweeney 1-2, Dyann Carroll 0-1, Máire Ní Anglin, Catriona Davis 0-1, Sarah Moloney, Eilís de Nais, Linda Murphy & Rona Ní Chonchúir

Our team of 2001 includes C. Davis, D. Magner, A. Lawlor, C. Conaghan, E. de Nais, K. Herbert, J. Quaid, A. McSweeney, M. O’Connor, Sorcha and Ide McDomhnaill, Eilis Mullane, cousins Claire and Aine Mulcahy, Catherina O’Callaghan, Dyan Carroll and C. Copse. Again, this was before sponsors were allowed to put their names on jerseys.

In the 1990’s, we had a very good ladies football team and in the middle years 1993-1997, we were unbeaten and won the County Limerick Vocational Schools Junior and Senior Championships seven years in a row. Most of the team in these years was made up of players from the Gaelcholáiste; Meadhbh Nash, Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Fiona Fahey, Sarah Moloney, Claire Fitzpatrick, Sorcha and Ide MacDomhnaill, Dyann Carroll, Eilis De Nais. These were golden years for the Gaelcholáiste as they had many very good and outstanding players.

Richard presenting a Limerick Jersey to one of the talented lady footballers of Desmond College, Jessie Quaid in recognition of her being named player of the match in the All-Ireland Semi- Final between Limerick and Roscommon.

Desmond College too strong for St. Mary’s Newport.
Desmond College …………………………4-2
St. Mary’s Newport……….………………2-5

Desmond College played this match in the GAA field by kind permission of the club and it was a fine sporting game which ended in a narrow win over the Tipperary school. Rachel O’ Connor in goal had a fine game and made several excellent saves. The full back line of Caitriona O’ Callaghan, Kathy Herbert and Kerrie Moone made a slow start but tightened up considerably in the second half and Kathy made some great clearances.

Ciara Nolan played at centre back and improved as the game went on. She was well assisted by her sister Yvonne particularly in the second half. Caitriona Davis went on some fine solo runs and played with her usual competence. She was partnered by Catherine Hartnett and exhibited great determination. Eilis de Nais was our centre forward and contributed enormously to our success. Others to try hard were Abigail Richards, Katie Mulcahy, Siobhán Dowling and Lorraine Murphy. Claire Mulcahy at full back had a very good game.


Camogie Team

Back: Eilís de Nais, Róna Ní Chonchubhair, Dyann Ní Chearbhúill, Aoife Ní Kenneally, Ide Nic Dhomhnaill, Noreen Kiely, Katie Costello, Ciara Mulcahy, Sorcha Ní Domhnaill
Front; Linda Murphy, Anne McSweeny, Jessie Quaid, Rachel O’ Connor (captain), Lisa McCoy, Anne-marie Walshe, Deirdre Magner, Máire Ní Anglim.

Ladies Football
County Limerick VEC Schools and Colleges Ladies Football Semi – Final
Gaelcholáiste Uí Chonbá…………………….. 3-6
Abbeyfeale…………………………………………. 2-4

The local girls took another step in their quest for county honours when they accounted for a spirited Abbeyfeale side which contested every ball in a tough and demanding game. The Gaelcholáiste team are a formidable bunch and their never say die attitude ensures that defeat is unacceptable. A word of thanks to Noel O’ Connor who refereed the match so well

October 2001
1st Year Football

Desmond College……………………………. 7-9
Dromcollogher C. C…………………………. 5-2

This was a high scoring first game for the first years of 2001. Desmond College boys played great football and had some fine individual performances – especially Raymond Cahill who was awarded man of the match for his control of centre field and his display of the skills of football. He exhibited some great attacking and defending abilities and had a total score of 2-4. However this was not a one man team and S Magner in goals had a solid game. In front of him Jason Shiels, Thomas Doherty, John O’ Connell, Tony Costello, Seán Liston and Mark Scanlon defended stoutly.

The Desmond College boys turned over at half time leading by 4 points. They continued during the second half as they had in the first with the forwards clicking as a unit and some great scores were made by Mark Barry, Pat Ryan and Jeff McMahon. Others who showed great promise were Leon Moloney at centre field, Niall Riordan, Ian Coffee, Edward Egan, Mike Flynn and David Normoyle.

Team: S Magner, Jason Shiels, Thomas Doherty, John O’ Connell, Tony Costello, Seán Liston, Mark Scanlon, Raymond Cahill 2-4, Leon Moloney, Niall Riordan, Ian Coffee 0-1, Edward Egan 0-1, Mark Barry 2-0, Pat Ryan 1-2, Jeff McMahon 2-1, Mike Flynn and David Normoyle.

Raymond Cahill, receiving Man of the Match Award from Catherine Hayes for his display when Desmond College defeated Dromcollogher in Co. Limerick VEC 1st Year Football Championship. Also in photo is Ms. Shirley Supple-Looney.

Desmond College, Newcastle west who were defeated by Askeaton in the U14 County Football Final of Limerick V.E.C. schools and colleges.

Pictured at the County Limerick VEC Sports Committee AGM, back row: M O’ Donoghue, T Joyce, — Jerry Bennis, P Cunningham, and Pádraig Hynes. Front: Noel Molone, Mike Nash (secretary), N Westropp Bennett, S Supple, E Cregan and T Moore.

Athletes with Seán Burke and Jim Kelleher at sports

U.16 Football team
Back: Shane Guiry, Seán Hanlon, Trevor Collins, Barry Keane, Jonathon Carey, Kieran Ambrose, Thomas Greaney, Timmy Dore, Pa Kelly, Michael O’ Sullivan, Darragh Hennessy, Liam Keogh.
Front: Michael Daly, Paul Reidy, Liam Kennedy, __Guiney, Brian Fitzgerald, Anthony Molyneaux, Dermot Hayes, Pa Sullivan, Thomas O’ Connor, Luke O’ Brien.

Jonathon Carey receiving one of his many AIB Man of the Match awards.

Desmond College Senior Hurling Team

Back Row: Aidan Carrol, ———-, Malachy O Connor, Ger Downes, ———, ———–, ————-,
Seoirse Joyce, ———-, Daithi Nash, Des Roche.
Front row: ———-, ———, Sean Hanlon, ———, Robert Egan, Stephen Nix, Michael O Sullivan, ——, ———-.

The U.18 hurling team were defeated by Coláiste Íosaef, Kilmallock. Of all the teams that this good team played against, Kilmallock were by far the most impressive and skilful opponent. That Kilmallock team were the nucleus of the team they entered for the Harty Cup the following year. This NCW team played some brilliant matches with the right spirit. This particular year, Aidan Carrol suffered and accidental hand injury and accepted it with exceptional bravery.

C. Davis, A. Power, C. Harnett, after a Cross Country race in 2001.
These three girls would train at every opportunity.

All forms of sport were catered for in the Vocational School/Desmond College and indeed in many years we had some very good athletes.


At Richard’s retirement; Vourneen Gavin-Barry (Deputy Principal), Richard Barry (Retired Principal) and Pádraig Flanagan (Principal

by Richard Barry

Having been involved in sporting activities for more than thirty years in the school, this book has rekindled very pleasant memories. Pádraig Collery was the pioneer of a wide range of sporting, social and cultural activities during his teaching years in the Vocational School, Newcastle West. Later on Martin McNamara RIP, Jim Kelleher and myself soldiered together in promoting games within the school. Mike Nash, Pat O’Connor, Pat Harnett and Mike Daly also got involved during their years in the school. Many other teachers also made a valuable contribution.

During these years we lived in an era of commitment and discipline when students had an unquestionable loyalty and dedication. Students gave up part of their lunch time to train for matches and until the ‘free’ school bus scheme commenced we often trained after school, especially if we reached the advanced stages of a competition. In the earlier years, matches were played after school or at weekends. The students loved playing and always gave of their best – win, lose or draw. We were blessed with the calibre of player we had at our disposal and I cannot recall one unpleasant incident on or off the field over the years. On the contrary, the satisfaction, the pleasure and the fulfilment for both students and teachers could not be bought for love or money.

Perhaps the most awkward task was selecting teams. It grieved us to have to leave someone out. We tried to make amends by having as large a panel as possible and assigning tasks to those who would not be playing on the day. Some acted as umpires or linesmen. Others were in charge of jerseys, hurleys or refreshments. I often felt that if we could channel the same interest, energy and enthusiasm of the players into the classroom for the different subjects, life would be a dream. I would not even dare to attempt to name some of the players and athletes I was privileged to know during my 30 years or more teaching in Newcastle West. I hope that they all reached their full potential in sport and in life.

We had one great asset in our school campus i.e. the field adjacent to the school. This provided the space for students to play and develop their skills at every opportunity. It has now been developed into a recognised playing pitch thanks to the efforts of management, staff, parents, students and the community under the inspiration, vision and commitment of Mike Nash. Rath Dé ar an obair.

Richard Barry

Seán O’ Connor, receiving his Man of the Match award from Hugh Keaveney AIB, for his performance in first year football.

Neilus Brouder receiving his Man of the Match award for his performance in the Munster U.18 hurling championship from D. Keaveny AIB.

Back: Seoirse Joyce, Jimmy Kelly, Des Roche, Kevin Walsh, Oliver O’ Connor, Pa Kelly,
Malachy O’ Connor, Stephen Nix, Robert Egan, Matthew Monahan, Liam O Brien, Ger Downes
and Pat O’ Connor (Teacher).
Front: Declan Murphy, Michael O’ Sullivan, David O’ Connor, Seán O’ Hanlon, Michael O’ Sullivan (Knockaderry), Daithí Nash, Neilus Brouder, Brian Walsh, Mark Collins and Alan O’ Mahony.

During their five years in school, the above panel of players were very successful in both hurling and football.

Back: Paul Quaid, Malachy O’ Connor, Jimmy Kelly, Oliver O’ Connor, Liam O’ Brien,
Michael O Sullivan, Kenneth Walsh, Neilus Brouder and Mr. Richard Barry (Principal).
Front: Mark Collins, Michael J O’ Sullivan, Brain Walsh, Robert Egan, Stephen Nix, Gerard Downes, and Seán Hanlon.
Missing form photo: D O’ Connor, A O’ Mahoney, T O’ Connor, C Looney, M Roche, M Lenihan,
W Normoyle and R Cahill.

Presentation of jerseys by Desmond Credit Union to Desmond College, Newcastle West.
Back Row: P. O’ Connor (Coach), D Callaghan (Credit Union), P. Kelly (U.18 Football Capt.),
Stephen Nix (U.16 Hurling Capt.), Aidan Carroll (U.18 Football Capt.), Michelle O’ Gorman,
R Barry (Principal).
Front Row: Brian Byrnes (U. 14 Hurling Capt.), Ray Cahill (U. 14 Football Capt.)
and Mark Collins (U.16 Football Capt.)

2002 County Senior Football Championship

Abbeyfeale…………………………….. 4-11
Desmond College……………………… 3-7

This match was played in NCW, where conditions were perfect for a great game of football, with the lead changing several times, until the final 3 minutes when Abbeyfeale had 2 great goals by David Roche in the 57th minute and Steven O Connor in the 59th minute to give them a lead of 6 points. To this was added a point on full time by Jeremiah Healy.

The match began on a low note, with no score until the 9th minute when David O Connor had a point for Desmond College. 2 minutes later, Michael Curtin had a point for Abbeyfeale, from a 30m free. On the 15th minute, David O’ Connor had a marvellous point from all of 40m out on the wing.

Steven O Connor answered with a lovely point following a swift passing movement which originated with the Abbeyfeale centre back.

Then the NCW boys struck a purple patch with goals by Pa Kelly, and Michael O’ Sullivan in the 20th and 21st minute. Stung into reply the Abbeyfeale boys responded with points by Michael McCarthy 21 mins, Michael Curtin 23 mins, Mark Reidy 25 mins, Michael O’ Grady 26 mins, J. Healy a goal 27 mins, and Pádraig Dillon 30 mins. Thus we were set up for a good second half which turned out to be superb. The ball was passed at great speed especially by the boys of Abbeyfeale. Seán Hanlon now playing at centre field opened the score for Desmond College and Daniel Power had another point. Michael Curtin answered with a goal for Abbeyfeale on the 12th minute.

Steven O Connor had another point on the 16th minute, and Abbeyfeale were cruising and leading by 5 points. The boys from Desmond College dug deep, and points by David O Connor, in the 18th and 20th minute, followed by a goal by Daniel Power in the 23rd minute left the teams even. Star midfielder Seán Hanlon left the field with an injury and was replaced by Paul Conaghan. As already stated Abbeyfeale inflicted a severe football lesson in the remaining few minutes. This was a great game of football, played with great commitment by both teams and played in the correct spirit

Desmond college: John Copse, Kenneth Walsh, N Brouder, P Duggan, M Collins, Seán Hanlon, D Nash, P Kelly, D Cahill, D O’ Connor, P Egan, M O’ Connor, M O’ Sullivan, D Power, E Guiry, P Conaghan, D Murphy, R Cahill, P O’ Connor and D Roche.
Best for Desmond College were; Pa Kelly, John Copse, Seán Hanlon, David O’ Connor, Mark Collins.

Patrick Kelly receiving one of a number of AIB ‘Man of the Match Award’ from Fergus Breen.
Patrick Kelly was an extremely talented footballer. Patrick could have been considered in the top 5 stylish fielders of a football that played with our school.

Dáithí Nash, Michael Walshe (referee) and the opposing captain line out for the toss of the coin.

2002 Senior Hurling
Limerick VEC……………………………………….. 3-6
Kerry ………………………………………………….1-10

Kerry had 12 county minors in this game which was played in Causeway. Patrick Kelly played very well in centre field, and contributed in a big way to this success. Steven Nix scored and other school players were Michael O’ Sullivan, Robert Egan and Ger Downes.

Gerard Downes, Mícheál O’ Sullivan (Knockaderry), Patrick Kelly, Stephen Nix and Robert Egan (NCW) who were members of the Co. Limerick VEC football team.

Robert Egan being presented with his Man of the Match award.

Kenneth Walsh receives his man of the match reward from Fergal Breen AIB for his display when Desmond College defeated Mercy College Rathkeale in the U.16 hurling county final.

Paul Quaid receiving his Man of the Match award from Fergus Breen AIB for his display in the U.16 Hurling semi-final.

Liam Keogh being presented with his Man of the Match award for U.16 Hurling

Students displaying sports trophies.
Back: Seán Hanlon, Malachy O’ Connor, Kenneth Walsh, and Damien Cahill
with Pat O’ Connor (coach).
Front: Jerry Bennis, Gerard Copse, Robert Egan, Stephen Nix, Ger Downes
and Ms. Gavin-Barry (Deputy Principal)

Pat O’ Connor and Feenagh Loughnane pictured with a group of students after receiving their Player of the Match Awards.
Back Row: Kenneth Walsh, Liam O’ Brien, Stephen Nix, Robert Egan, Neilus Brouder and Des Doherty.
Front Row: Raymond Cahill, Seán O’ Connor, Caitriona Davis, David White and Paddy O’ Reilly.

Semi-final U.16 Football team
Back row: D Cahill, D Power, P Kelly, N Brouder, J Copse, R Egan, M O’ Connor, S Hanlon, D Nash,
D O’ Connor.
Front: D Roche, M O’ Sullivan, P Hartnett, E Guiry, K Walshe (captain), M Collins, R Cahill, P Conaghan, D Murphy and P Duggan.

Paddy O’Reilly, Ms. Veronica Ryan (coach), F. O’Connor, Michael De Sousa, Gerard O’Reilly, showing medals won at County Limerick V.E.C. track and field in 2002.
The athletes pictured above, along with Martin Davis gave memorable performances in UL, Castleisland, Dungarvan and especially when running cross country in the Demesne.

Ger Downes, captain of the U.14 County Champions 2000 with Mike Nash.
Patrick and Ger won many AIB Man of the Match Awards in all age groups .If there were men of the match awards in the earlier yeas Mike would have been a worthy recipient. Great sportsmen in the Downes family from Knockaderry and Ardagh also excelled on the GAA fields of Limerick.

Letter from Past Pupil
Ger Downes (written in 2014)

My earliest memory of the now Desmond College is the old building and the words “An Ceard Scoil” over the door. The two-storey, by then, the tallest building in the yard, was home to many classrooms. From memory I believe Mr Barry had his Irish class & office upstairs along with the staff room. The school reception and Principal’s office, thank God I only ever saw it once, were on the bottom floor. The rose bushes, protected by a chain link fence surrounded that pink building which stood tall and proud by the roadside. I was inducted into class 1B on my first day and along with 30 something other fresh faced and extremely nervous young men and women our journey through the Vocational school began.

As a year we had a very special privilege, one that would not be realized until years afterwards, we were first leaving cert class of the brand new Desmond College and we had also been taught in the old Vocational school. We were the link class from the old to the new so it was. As a teenager I was like most boy, obsessed with sport and having grown up in the glorious nineties with Limerick hurling at its peak, my love for Gaelic Games and hurling in particular dominated my life. My brother, John Paul & my cousins Michael, Martin, Patrick, Teresa, Denise & Bridget had all attended the Vocational school before me so I was the next Downes in lineage to attend a school that had served our family greatly for as many years as we could remember.

This was, in my clearest memory, a hurling school & one in which I wanted to ply my trade and emulate those great exploits of the three in a row Munster winning schools teams of just a few short years previous. I remember the Knockaderry contingent visiting Ahalin NS with the cup one time and recalling the tale of glory to an encapsulated band of young children. We used to look at that photo a lot at break time, of the team that had won the last of the three in a row, as it hung proudly in the school. It was like a mark of respect to stand and peer at it, one day hoping that we in turn could emulate such a similar feat on behalf of our school.

Mr. O’Connor, Mr. Kelleher, Mr. Barry and Mr. Nash all took prominent roles in promoting Gaelic Games in the school. The earliest match I can remember with the school was in Mick Neville Park Rathkeale on a wet Wednesday afternoon. We played Coláiste Na Trocaire Rathkeale in what was an epic encounter. I was centre back and honoured to be team captain. It was the u14 Limerick hurling competition and after a tight affair we won on the day by something like 0-17 to 0-12. I remember in particular that there was no goal in the game and that my fellow clubman Oliver O’ Connor gave a sterling performance at full forward. Mark Collins of Carraigkerry too was very good on the day as was Stephen Nix of Newcastle-West, a player who always gave his all.

The final was played in beautiful sunshine in Newcastle-West some weeks later against Askeaton and in the end it was a timid affair as we wound up well in front on the day. Mr Barry was our mentor and I remember him giving us a rousing speech at half time that made all the difference for the second half and he could hardly contain his delight at the end of the game. Tony Quaid from Newcastle West along with his fellow clubman Robert Egan were our stars.

The majority of players get very few opportunities to represent themselves and compete outside of playing for their own club. When you think of it a player may only get the chance to play with his school as the only other team he could play on for the duration of his career. This was true for so many young players coming through “the Tech” as the school was affectionately known by the student masses. Gathering together players from Tournafulla, St Kieran’s, Monagea, Newcastle-West, Feohanagh/Castlemahon, the school had a very healthy supply of players keen to hurl.

For me representing the school through Gaelic Games gave us a shared identity with boys from clubs that we more often than not found ourselves pitted against at club level. It taught us all a new form of sportsmanship & respect for one another. We were teammates for our school, which was something very big, we were rivals for our clubs, which was our core, but above all we were friends every day. That gave us identity, a shared purpose in a common goal, we had hurling and football with the school together, with our friends and that gave us a real since of pride in our school & representing it as best we could with our greatest friends.

It also gave us leniency and leverage with certain teachers and in a lot of ways the punishment for misdemeanours wasn’t as great as for those who weren’t part of the school teams!

I remember playing for the u16 and halves that year and suffering a heavy loss in Claughaun at the hands of Nenagh. I was corner back & wound up full back that day. Aidan Carroll from NCW was hurling a storm and suffered a misfortunate injury that curtailed our challenge. He wasn’t the only one.

With time nearly up I remember hurting my ankle that eventually put me in crutches for a few days. Liam Keogh of Tournafola was our goalkeeper and I remember Tomas O Connor and Damien Scanlon of Knockaderry hurling on that team also with Stephen Nix playing in the half back line that day.

We travelled to Emily to play Cashel in the u18 and a half Munster competition in hurling in our final year, I remember vividly how poor conditions were that day. We competed well in defence but our forwards lacked penetration and we suffered defeat to the hands of the eventual winners by a good few points. Mr O Connor and Mr Barry looked after the team. We did however win a Limerick college’s football title that year defeating Askeaton, in Askeaton, with Damien Cahill of St Kierans giving an exhibition of footballing skill in the final.

I look back on those memories as ones I cherish dearly and while I do find it difficult to remember real specifics of games and teams what stands out for me is the sense of camaraderie, friendship, togetherness and a shared pride in our school and representing it by all my school mates. True success does not come from winning trophies. It comes from how you represent yourself, your place and how you go about your business and I look with great fondness and pride in the way in which my time in the school that the teams I was part of represented themselves.

The influence of our teachers could not be understated, the values they taught us, the standards they set for us, the belief they had in us still influences me in my life to this day and as a person who works in promoting Hurling every day and talking with young people on a regular basis its gives me the greatest pride to tell young people about my time in school and how it was in so many ways the very best years of my life.

Ger Downes

U.14 Boys from Desmond College at the County Sports.
Ian Mackessy, Paul Quaid, Mark Barry and Raymond Cahill.

Shows our team in 2002 and these were the old jerseys before the camogie association allowed sponsors to put their names on the jerseys.

Illustrates how we have progressed to having a complete set of jerseys and sponsors Desmond Credit Union. The Credit Union has been a great supporter of the sports department in the school down through the years and we much appreciate their support.

Limerick Post-Primary Junior Camogie
Desmond College, NCW………………………2-3
Coláiste Mhuire, Corbally ……………………2-2
Limerick Too Strong for Clare

Co. Limerick VEC…………………………………………..3-8
Co. Clare VEC……………………………………………….0-7

In perfect conditions in Askeaton, Co. Limerick VEC senior football team was much too strong for the Co. Clare boys. The Limerick boys led by 2-6 to 0-4 at half time and remained in control until the final whistle. Paul Quaid (Desmond College) caused many problems for the Clare defence. David O’ Connor and Seán Hanlon gave the home side the upper hand at midfield and gave the forwards a plentiful supply of ball. Mark Collins also played well.


Back: Enda Shine, David White, James Muckell, Seán Neville, Daniel Collins, Jimmie Falvey,
Pádraig McCarthy, Daniel Sexton and Seán O’ Connor.
Front: Paul Egan, Andrew Curtin, Kevin Enright, Jack Harnett, Raymond Brouder, Alan Roche, Anthony Greaney, David O’ Callaghan and Kevin Sheehy.
Not in picture: Steven Browne and John Collins.

Back row: Jimmy Falvey, Jack Hartnett, Thomas Doherty, Ciaran Scanlon, Enda Shine, Michael Flynn, –, Padraig O Connor, –, –, —
Front row: James Muckell, David O Callaghan, Anthony Greany, David White, ——–, Kevin Sheehy, John Collins, Paul Egan, Sean O Connor.

Desmond College U.18 hurling team
Back: Ray Cahill, Jack B Hartnett, A Greaney, Alan Roche, Jake Greaney, Leon Moloney, Enda Shine, John Collins, Seán Neville, Paudie McCarthy and Seán Hanlon (on crutches).
Front: Kevin Sheehy, ___ , Shane Magner (captain), Declan Reidy, David O’ Callaghan,
James Muckell, Seán O’ Connor and Patrick Madigan (off camera).
This game which was played against Croom was one of the finest games that a young Jake Greaney ever played for the school.

Paudie McCarthy receiving his Man of the Match Award from the AIB representative with Pádraig Flanagan.

Jim Carey, from Tipperary, who earlier was a player in St Coleman’s in Fermoy, began teaching in Desmond College in 2003. His energy was infectious. Jim had exceptional communication skills with his players and a great motivator. On the training pitch, he possessed that rare quality of character to seamlessly transform from the role of teacher-coach to the mind-set and role of a player regularly.

In 2003-04 Colm Lowe, joined the staff and introduced rugby. He harnessed the rugby skills of players who had played with local clubs and coached other first-timers.

Seán Shields coached with Colm and they had a very successful run of matches. The main benefit was that some of the boys who were not interested in playing the established games in the school got the chance to play rugby if they had the temperament and skill. It gave them the opportunity to represent Desmond College in Rugby for the first time. They always appreciated the support they got from Newcastle West RFC.

Another new staff member a native of Carrickerry, Stephen Geoghegan, took over the responsibilities of soccer and with Jim Casey coached very successful soccer teams of all ages in Munster competitions. Stephen and Jim’s contribution gave a great outlet to so many young soccer players who play with the surrounding clubs and it also gave an opportunity for some of the international students to be included in a sports set up.

Enthusiastic teachers like these can bring a new outlook and a sense of freshness to our school’s sport. They get to know their students at a more recreational level and can help teachers from outside the area to get to know the community.

Senior Football Team Photo: Back: Michael O’ Sullivan (Knockaderry), Brendan Hayes, Paul Quaid, Michael Cunningham, Patrick Kelly, David O’ Connor (captain), Seán Hanlon and Tom O’ Connor.
Front: Brian Brynes, T Doherty, Raymond Cahill, Neilus Brouder, Alan O’ Mahoney, Gerard Moran and Leon Moloney.

Ladies Football who defeated Kildysart Community College in the Munster Semi-final; included in the picture are: R O’ Connor, B Scanlon, L Power, L O’ Connor, C Copse, A Mulcahy, K Moone, L Nolan, E Nash, C Nolan, C Conaghan, P Flavin, E Mullane, C O’ Callaghan, M O’ Donnell, M Brouder C Mulcahy, C Harnett, C Davis, D Carroll, K Herbett.

Our team of 2003. We were beaten in the County Championship Final. Girls’ football was a very popular sport then and many more girls took part in it than in camogie.

The O’Connor Family
The O’ Connor family from Knockaderry in a photograph taken by The Observer newspaper with their collection of medals.

It was a pleasure to receive this submission from Noel O’ Connor with contributions from his brothers.
Denis, my oldest brother, attended the school from 1991 to 1996 and won an U.14 County Championship in hurling in 1992 when Newcastle West beat Hospital.

In the U.18 county final of 1996, he was on the losing side, but he always took great pride in playing for the school and played in the back line.

I was on teams that contested two county finals I remember Croom were strong favourites in the football and some considered that we did well to lose by only two points but we lost, Pat O’ Connor and Jim Kelleher were over the team. The hurling final was against Hospital. I played at full back, Richard Barry and Mike Nash were over the team. Newcastle were winning most of the game. A player from each side was sent off with fifteen minutes to go and Hospital won. It was very disappointing to lose two county finals in one year.

James O’ Connor

Noel (school from 1996 – 1999)

I remember how great it was to be able to play in the Munster series for the school, it sounded very prestigious. In our first year we played a round of matches to reach the Munster final. The players loved that we had to leave school early to travel to the likes of Ennis, Millstreet and Clonmel along the way to the final. My own village Knockaderry was strongly represented by Patrick Downes, Joe Barry, Maurice Hartnett, Thomas Mc Grath, Seamus Copse and myself (there’s club loyalty).

Probably our best player over my time in the school was Donal Horgan. Donal was the strongest player on the team and could easily play senior hurling at the age of fifteen. He dominated the mid field area throughout our victories. It was the first Munster Hurling Title for the school and we went on to win three in a row. I was delighted to be made captain for the third title. I was injured going in to that match and probably shouldn’t have declared myself fit, but I was determined to play and I scored a goal by kicking the ball into the net. Two minutes later I had to go off and I remember feeling disappointed at going off, but at half time I felt as captain I needed to get behind the players. We went on to win this three in a row. This was one of my proudest moments playing hurling. Club mates on this team were cousin Muiris O’ Connor, Pat Downes, and Damien Scanlon, may his soul rest in peace.

Noel O’ Connor

Oliver (school from 1998-2003)
I played in a good few school teams – first year teams hurling and football, U.14 won county hurling and U.16 won county football. I played with some of my own club mates, Ger Downes, Ken Walsh, Brian Walsh, TJ Enright, Niall Sexton. In that time we played a lot of games together collecting various medals and trophies. I can say that my sporting years at school were very successful under the guidance of Mr. Barry and Mr. O’ Connor, who had great passion and love for the game, which I think that we had more good days on the field than bad ones.

Oliver O’ Connor


A great bunch of girls. When young people are interested in sport, their discipline is very good and therefore this attitude translates to the classroom.

Mike Nash

Down through the years we have had a “player of the match” award which has been sponsored by AIB in Newcastle West, which we hope will continue into the future. These awards were given to our outstanding players in all codes played in the school – hurling, football, ladies football, camogie, soccer, basketball, rugby and these recipients went on in many cases to represent their county with distinction.

Eilís De Nais receiving her award from A.I.B. D Keaveney and teacher Eilís Cregan (now Deputy Principal in Desmond College).

Caitriona Davis, receiving her award with Camogie Coach Mike Nash and AIB representative.

Desmond College Camogie

Desmond College………………………3-4
Coláiste Iosaef Kilmallock…………….1-0

We had a hard-earned victory over Coláiste Iosaef in the Co. Limerick VEC Schools and Colleges Senior Camogie Championship. This was not an easy win as the girls from Kilmallock contested every ball until the final whistle. We opened well with Caitriona Davis and Elizabeth Nash and the former added a goal in the 17th minute. Our full back line of Caitriona O’ Callaghan, Kathy Herbert and Kerry Moone improved as the game progressed and Rachel O’ Connor in goal made some fine saves. Joanne and Claire Mulcahy formed an effective half-back line.

Caitriona Davis and Catherine Harnett played well at centre field and supplied some great ball to the forwards, where Elizabeth Nash was the principal driving force. Lorraine Murphy and Michelle Brouder were in the support role and made a big contribution. Abigail Richards, Kate Mulcahy and Denise Lacey completed the team and never gave up trying and provided plenty of problems for the Kilmallock backs. Siobhán Dowling scored a great goal to put some space between us and the Kilmallock girls. The other girls on the panel were Laura Dore, Marie O’ Donnell, Denise Lacey and Emma Leahy.

Desmond College Too Strong for St. Mary’s

Desmond College……………………………………………4-2
St. Mary’s Newport…………………………………………2-5

A fine sporting game which ended in a narrow win over the Tipperary school. Rachel O’ Connor in goal had a fine game and made several excellent saves. The full back line of Caitriona O Callaghan, Kathy Herbert and Kerry Moone tightened up considerably in the second half and Kathy made some great clearances. Ciara Nolan played at centre back and improved as the game progressed.

She was well assisted by her sister Yvonne, particularly in the second half. Caitriona Davis went on some fine solo runs and played with her usual competence. She was partnered by Catherine Harnett and exhibited great determination. Eilís De Nais was our centre forward and contributed enormously to our success. Others who played well were Abigail Richards, Katie Mulcahy, Siobhán Dowling, Lorraine Murphy and Claire Mulcahy.

The Desmond College senior camogie team after their win over St. Mary’s Newport. Back row: C. Davis, E. Nash, A. Richards, C. Nolan, L. Keane, C. Mulcahy, C. O’ Callaghan, Y. Nolan, M. O’ Donnell and K. Moone.
Front row: K. Mulcahy, E. Leahy, S. Dowling, K. Herbert, C. Hartnett, R.O’ Connor and L. Murphy.

Siobhán Dowling receiving her AIB Player of the Match award from Mr. J.D. Foley AIB
and Ms. T. Quaid, coach.

Desmond College NCW U18 Medley team, L. Mulvihill, F. Quilligan, P. Power, and R. Davis
at the Co. Limerick VEC Schools and Colleges Annual Sports Day.

Gaelcholáiste Uí Chonbá, winners of Corn na Mumhan in Charleville in a camogie blitz for Gaelcholáistí of Munster. Team: Abigail Nic Risteárd, Natalie Nic Risteárd, Meabh MacConmara, Ciara Ní Nualláin, Kerry Ní Mhochain, Denise De Léis, Caitríona Ní Mhaolcatha, Dyann Ní Chearbhaill, Eilis De Nais agus Michelle Ní Shíthigh


Lucky Victory for Desmond College
Desmond College………………………………..3-2
St. Mary’s Croom………………………………..2-3

The County Final of the VEC first year football competition between Desmond College, Newcastle West and ST. Mary’s Croom was played in perfect weather conditions on the freshly sanded pitch at Newcastle West last Monday. This was an excellent game of skilful football between two very evenly matched teams and Desmond College were very lucky to emerge with a 2 point winning margin.

The Croom students were devastated after referee Pat Molyneaux blew the final whistle, moreover because they were leading until 4 minutes before the end when a combination move between 4 Desmond College players ended with the stylish and hard-working Tony Quaid fly kicking an opportunistic unstoppable goal.

The half time score was St. Mary’s 1-2, Desmond College 0-1.

On the resumption Desmond College pulled back a point but were rocked shortly after by a Croom goal. Then the Desmond College boys showed their fighting skill and spirit that they had shown throughout previous 5 games when Charlie Power and James Kelly scored a goal apiece. Croom replied with a point to take the lead again before Desmond College’s final score.

To win a County Final all players must play very well which they did, but special mention to Donal Nolan, Thomas O Callaghan, Niall Enright and Tony Quaid. Croom were exceptionally strong right down the centre, especially Patrick Reidy at full back. Aidan Morrissey at centre back and Hayes and A Joyce at midfield.

David Cahill kicked scores worthy of any senior player. Reidy played a good first half as did Robert Doyle

Newcastle West: P Lawlor (St. Kierans), J Maher (NCW), S Mullane (Kileedy), Jason Dowling (NCW), A O’ Connor (NCW), D Nolan (St. Kierans), N Enright (NCW) James Kelly captain (Newcastle West), T O’ Callaghan (Monagea), T Quaid (NCW), T Moran (St. Kierans), C Power (NCW), M Dore (Templeglantine), S Sexton (NCW), L Dore (Templeglantine), J Costello (St. Kierans), T Shanahan (Monagea), G Moloney (NCW), L Sexton (NCW), J Boyce (Askeaton), William Dore ( Shanagolden).

Scott Hurley and James Morrisroe were unavailable to play in the final.

1st year football team with Jim Casey and Pat O Connor

U.14 Hurling Team.
Back: Jesse Rolfe (to the left of picture), Declan Enright, Thomas Shanahan, Jamie Costello, Thomas Moran, Scott Hurley, James Kelly, D. Roche, Donal Nolan, Jason Dowling, Tomás O’ Callaghan,
Front: Luke Sexton, Nigel Dore, Aidan O’ Connor, Neil Enright, Tony Quaid, Leon Dore and Stephen Sexton.

Niall Enright and James Kelly receiving Man of the Match awards from Hugh Keaveney and Pádraig Flanagan.

Jerry Bennis from Limerick Co. Board GAA making a presentation of hurleys, sliotars and footballs to a few of the up and coming stars of Desmond College; Eamon Roche, Joe O’ Connor, Liam Scanlon and Brian O’ Neill.

Desmond College Senior Ladies Football team 2005

Kevin Brosnan, Seán Richards, _____, and Patrick Brislane at the track in U.L. in 2005 at the County Limerick V.E.C. Track and Field Championships.

Junior Cross-country team that won the County championships – Vourneen Gavin Barry, Michelle Sheehy, Stephanie Brouder, Nicola Murphy, Emma Lane, Ciara Nolan and coach Mike Nash.

Mike Nash, pictured with Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh and Damien Carey when Mícheál was promoting his book ‘From Mount Sion to Croke Park’.

Ms. Veronica Ryan and Ms. Joanne Guiry with a group at the Limerick Women’s mini-marathon, where our students included A. Magner, L. Power, L. Quilligan , ____, ____, ran for charity in 2006.

Back Row: Liam Óg Shine, Seán Mullane, Jason Dowling, Tony Quaid, Timmy Nix, Jake Greaney, Jason Moloney, Mark Kelly, Kieran McMahon(RIP), Maurice Murphy, Thomas O’ Callaghan, James Kelly.
Front Row: Jason Copse, —-, John Hartnett, Conor Relihan, Niall Enright, Daven Meehan, Damian Breen, Thomas Moran, Ian Mackessy, Donal Nolan, Joseph O’ Connor.
This team had enormous talent and won many matches.

Our Junior team of 2006 with Coach Ms. Kerrie Collins. In these years, we played in the Vocational Schools Championships in Co. Limerick and Munster and the number of matches played depended on the level of success. We did reach Munster finals on a number of occasions.

Our 2006 Senior Team.
Rarely was there much of a difference between the members of the Junior and Senior teams as the girls football attracted a very young membership. It was also a very open game and almost non-contact – similar to basketball. This lack of physicality meant that young girls on junior teams did not fear being hurt by older girls on senior teams. Desmond College senior team included Caitriona Quaid.

Caitriona Quaid receiving her Player of the Match Award from AIB and also in photo is Ms. Sandra Quaid (Coach).

Girl Power
by Sandra Quaid

Desmond College opened the door of its new school in September 2001. Since this historic day Desmond College has been offering the ladies of the school every opportunity to take part in a variety of sports and games. Girls have been participating in camogie, ladies football, soccer, basketball and athletics. Not only have they been participating to the best of their ability they have been challenging for county and Munster titles and succeeding.
Our successes in school are very important and hold great place in our memories, from county and Munster finals in Martinstown to successes on the athletics track and basketball arena in the University of Limerick.

The girls have really done us proud on the GAA field with one special evening in Martinstown when the Camogie girls claimed their infamous Munster titles. Following this the footballers have reached numerous county finals in both the junior and senior category. Not only on the GAA field have the school been successful they have shown great talent at cross country events and VEC athletics sports days in UL. It is great to see the girls participating in these events and arriving back to Desmond College with medals strewn around their necks.

While success is important and celebrated, participation is as big a part of our girls sport. Students who have played sport outside of school have brought their talents to the playing fields of Desmond College but even more noteworthy is that some girls have taken to the fields/track to represent our school who have never participated in sports before. This to the school is our biggest success – to get students participating in sport in their teenage years. It encourages friendships and promotes physical activity among teenage girls which is one of the schools main aim.

Girls’ sports is a proud tradition in this school and it would not be as highly regarded and as strong if not for the teachers of Desmond College who give up their own time to train, coach and attend matches with these youngsters. One special mention must go to Mr. Mike Nash, who has been promoting girls sport for many years and has brought it to where it is today. Even though Mike is now a retiree he is still seen daily on the pitches of Desmond College with the camogie girls, ladies footballers and budding athletes training and preparing for upcoming games.
Sandra Quaid

This photo from 2006 includes girls that were fantastic servants of the school in all sports – Alicia Magner (3rd right in front), Michelle Brouder (right in front) Susan Quaid (centre front) Joanne Dowling (2nd from right in front) Claire Mulcahy (2nd at back) ______ Brouder (4th from right at back) C. Mulcahy and Kathy Herbert (5th & 6th from right at back). They also played basketball, football and soccer.


1st year Hurling.
Another group of enthusiastic young hurlers joined the school this year. In their first game they had an easy victory over Hazelwood College B team. The match started well, for the first 5 minutes, both teams were easily matched. Then Jason Flynn scored a fine point for Desmond College. We extended our lead with goals from Eoin Lane and Emmet Kelly to lead at half time, on a score 2-1 to 0-0.

Desmond College started the second half working hard to pile on some more scores. Fine performances came from E Kelly, E Lane, J Flynn, J O’ Sullivan, P Brislane, K Mulcahy and S McSweeny. Abbeyfeale gave us a walkover, in the next game – this meant we had to play Hazelwood College A team in the final. Jamie Quaid and Patrick Murphy were available for the final. We went in at half time losing, 3-3 to 1-1. It would have been worse, only for some fine saves by Liam Ward in goals. Evan Riordan scored 3 points and Patrick Brislane scored a goal but it wasn’t enough to beat Hazelwood.

Back:Kieran Copse, P Brislane, J O’ Sullivan, S Kirwin, J McInery, S McSweeny, D Brouder, E Lane.
Front: D Scanlon, J Flynn, E Riordan, L Ward, E Kelly, K Mulcahy, P McCoy.

U.16 Hurling
The U.16 hurlers beat Thurles and Nenagh in the Munster competition, but didn’t get to the final.

Back: Kieran McMahon, Liam Óg Shine, Maurice Murphy, Mark Kelly, Jason Dowling, Donie Nolan, Seán Mullane, Thomas O’ Callaghan, James Kelly,
Front: Thomas Moran, Damien Breen, James Cantillon, Jason Moloney, Daven Meehan, Seánie Neville, John Hartnett, Joseph O’ Connor.

In the U.16 Football Munster competition, Desmond College beat Cahir on a scoreline
Desmond College……………………………4-8
and in the next game,
Desmond College……………………..…….0-8
The leading players in these games were James Kelly, Damien Breen and Scott Hurley.

U.18 Football
This was the final year for a class that contained a number of very talented and dedicated sportsmen. They showed great commitment and played an unbelievable number of games in hurling and football, soccer and rugby during their years in school. This year they wanted to prove something and go out on a high. In the first football game against Askeaton, there were great performances from David O’ Callaghan and Seán O’ Connor to inspire a strong team to win with ease. The next encounter was against a highly rated Dromcollogher.

This time Seán O’ Connor, Scott Hurley and Christopher Reidy showed immense skill and this game was won by 3 points. The final played in Monagea, was against arch rivals Abbeyfeale. Abbeyfeale took an early lead in this game with 2 goals. We had to claw our way back into the game and were level at half time. An excellent display by Padraig McCarthy in midfield was the main reason that we were still in the game after that early lapse.

At the start of the second half, Desmond College were completely dominant but yet could not convert this into scores. Abbeyfeale were lucky to win the game by 1 point.
Those leaving the school this year who gave much loyalty to sport were; John Collins, Kieran Conway, Martin Davis (Athletics), Richard Davis (Hurling), Kevin Enright, Anthony Greany, Jack Hartnett, Seán Neville, James Muckell, Pádraig McCarthy, David O’ Callaghan, Alan Roche, Kevin Sheehy, Enda Shine.

U.16 Football

Desmond College……………………………………… 3-12
Croom………………………………………………………. 2-13

Desmond College produced an excellent U.16 Football Team in 2006/07 who reached the County Final against Croom. This game was very competitive throughout, as both teams were evenly matched. Desmond College won the game by 2 points and they were crowned County Champions.

Under 16 Football Team 2006/2007


U.16 athletic team: Liam Madden, Maurice Murphy, Thomas Moran, Gerard O’ Reilly, Ian MacKessey, Dermot Considine.

Junior Girls football

Coláiste na Trocaire Rathkeale……………………………..4-2
Vocational School, NCW………………………………………1-8

This match, played in dreadful conditions was vastly entertaining and was played in a very sporting encounter. NCW girls started the livelier, with a point by Eilís De Nais in the 4th minute. NCW had further points by Dyann Carroll and Amanda Molyneaux, when Rathkeale struck for a well-taken goal. The NCW girls continued to attack, with Anne-Marie Walshe and Catriona Davis also playing well, and NCW got two more points.

During the first half our backs were rarely under pressure, with half backs Susanna Faulkner, Patrice Bennett, and Lisa McCoy playing very well. We led by a point at half time. In the second half facing wind, rain and hail, and after some great work by Noreen Downey, Tracey Keen and Aisling Sheehan, the lead increased to three points. Then Rathkeale replied with two goals which put them in the driving seat. However, with Noreen Kiely having a stormer and Susanna Faulkner winning everything at midfield we worked the ball up to the Rathkeale goals and Eilís de Nais scored a goal to restore our lead to a single point. Then Rathkeale scored a goal and a point, to win by a single score.

NCW: Melissa Joyce, Samantha Brouder, Noreen Kiely, Michelle Molyneaux, Lisa McCoy, Patrice Bennett, Susanna Faulkner, Dyann Carroll 0-1, Amanda Molyneaux 0-2, Catriona Davis 0-2, Eilís de Nais 1-1, Anne-Marie Walshe 0-2, Tracey Keane, Aisling Sheehan, Noreen Downey, Karen Guiry, Rena O’ Connor, Patricia Power.

Junior Football team: Back: Tara Feely, Louise Lacey, Natalie McDonagh, Michelle Liston, Debbie Larkin, Laura Fitzpatrick, Sarah Dunleavy, Susan Quaid, Michelle Kelly.
Front: Sarah O’ Connor, Margaret O’ Connor, Siobhán Dowling, Lorraine Murphy, Sarah Hurley, Cassie Greaney, Mary Long and Catriona Quaid.

Senior team of 2007 with coach Ms. T. Quaid. Then, and up to 2011, we were dependent on Newcastle West Camogie and GAA club for the use of their pitches, but now we have our own and therefore allows us greater control over when we can play our matches.

Patrick Brislane receiving ‘Man of the Match’ from JD Foley (AIB), also in photo Damien Carey (coach).

On behalf of the Co. Limerick GAA board, Gerry Bennis presents sports equipment to students and Pádraig Flanagan (Principal).Left to Right: Patrick Brislane, Evan Riordan, Gerry Bennis, Kevin Mulcahy, Pádraig Flanagan, Tristan Fitzpatrick and Jason Moloney.

Our 2007 Senior team with a new set of jerseys sponsored by Bank of Ireland includes a 7 a side team from the school in 2001.

In October 2007, past pupils Catriona Davis (Desmond College), Meadhbh Nash and Deirdre Fitzpatrick (both Gaelcholáiste Uí Chonbá) visited the school with the Munster Intermediate Championship Cup and All-Ireland league and championship cups, won by Limerick in 2007. These 3 girls (Meadhbh now a member of staff) were all members of the Limerick Team who had given great service to the schools and indeed during their student days monopolised the County. Limerick Vocational Schools’ Junior and Senior Championship by winning both 5 years in a row. Marie Corkery, also a member of staff, has also played for Limerick.

Students Emer Murphy, Shauna Tobin, Caitriona Davis ( Limerick Team ) Deirdre Fitzpatrick (Limerick Team) Kate Brislane, Joanne Dowling, with their silverware.

Caitriona Davis

Come on Davis, it’s not over yet


Victory is in having done your best, if you’ve done your best, you’ve won.

Bill Bowerman
(U.S.A track and field team coach,1972)

I started Desmond College in 2001, at the time I didn’t think that it would be the foundation of my sporting career to date.
From an early age I had an interest in sport, so when Mr. Richard Barry (the principal at the time) came to Glengort National School to tell the 6th class pupils about the vocational school in NCW, the main thing that caught my attention was the numerous teams and sporting contributions that the school had, so obviously it was always going to be my number one choice.
When you start something new it’s always daunting. The questions going through your head will I know anyone? Will I make loads of new friends? and so on. So when I decided to take part and try out for the schools camogie and football teams it made my time at Desmond College very enjoyable between the people I met and the friends I made for life. People would often say to me “school is definitely the best years of your life” I used to laugh at the time, but now that I’m older and maybe a bit wiser they definitely were the best years of my life.
I’ll have to start with Mike Nash, he being a great man both on and off the field. When I started playing Camogie he was the trainer/manager you name it he did it. He puts his heart and soul into the game and is a real promoter of the sport. When the chips were down and things were going against you he’d always give you a tap on the back and say

head up its all to play for

and it was.
We were entered in many competitions against vocational schools around Munster and also the local schools: Abbeyfeale, Dromcollogher/ Broadford, Kilmallock etc. One game in particular stands out in my head. We were playing Hazelwood College in the semi-finals of the Munster Cup. It was all to play for and the rivalry was nail biting stuff between the two teams because there was always just a puck of the ball between us.

When we came in at half time our heads were to our toes, I remember looking at Catherine Harnett and saying it’s gonna be a much tougher second half. She nodded her head and threw her hand around me and said

come on Davis it’s not over yet.

That was the great thing about my fellow team mates such a positive bunch of girls and a very dedicated bunch of girls, and girls I can say who are probably lifelong friends and still rivals on opposing teams. But whatever happens on a field will stay on a field and that’s the great thing about sport win, lose or draw.

I could rant away here about the wins, the losses, the draws, the blood the sweat the tears but thankfully I can honestly say these are memories I can look back on and they make me smile.
Desmond College for me was definitely the foundation for my sporting career. Since playing with the school and making friends for life, it has definitely given me some great attributes, the confidence to talk to people and make friends being the most important. Since playing with the school way back in 2001 till it ended in 2005,I’ve gone on to represent Limerick in both camogie and football, managing to win all-Ireland titles in both, and achieve some amazing things, things that I never thought were possible.

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

Zig Zagler.
Caitriona Davis

Of all the contributions to this book nothing encapsulates the purpose of sport than the last paragraph in Caitriona’s article:

Desmond College for me was definitely the foundation for my sporting career. Since playing with the school and making friends for life, it has definitely given me some great attributes – the confidence to talk to people and make friends being the most important. since playing with the school way back in 2001 till it ended in 2005,I’ve gone on to represent Limerick in both camogie and football, managing to win all-Ireland titles in both, and achieve some amazing things – things that I never thought were possible.

Desmond College Senior Rugby team who beat Tarbert (15-11) with coaches Colm Lowe and Seán Shields.


Áine Baer, Joanne Dowling, Margaret O’Connor, Catriona Quaid and Sarah O’Connor. When one looks back on photographs, the same names pop up again and again. These girls or boys interested in sport play as many sports as possible and if one is good – excellent at one sport, then in all probability, one is good at others as well.

Basketball team with coach, Ms. Sandra Quaid.

This year Desmond College competed in the Senior and Junior Munster Soccer cup competitions. In the first senior competition against Crescent Comprehensive College, who were firm favourites, and had 2 Irish International Trialists in their ranks. There were excellent displays from Seán Neville (centre back) and also magnificent displays from holding midfielder David O’ Callaghan and surging effective runs from Pádraig McCarthy and Scott Hurley. Unfortunately neither side could break the deadlock after extra time. Then Desmond College lost on a penalty shootout.
The U.16 team were not at full strength when we were beaten by Croom.

The 2007/2008 U.16 Football Team showed much potential in the Munster Championship. Desmond College reached the Munster Semi-Final after beating Kilmihill and Abbeyfeale. Unfortunately, Newcastle West were beaten by one point by a formidable Askeaton side. The spectacular points scored from long way out by Thomas O’ Callaghan were a recurring feature of many of our games.

Back Row: James Kelly, Tony Quaid, Niall Enright, Eddie Shine, Liam Óg Shine, Seán Mullane, Patrick Brislane, Owen Lane, Raymond Brouder, – , Jason Flynn, James Keenan, John McEnerny, Seán Kirwan. Front Row: Darren Scanlon, Evan Riordan, James O’ Sullivan, Kevin Mulcahy, Kevin Brosnan*, Emmet Kelly, Jamie Quaid, Thomas Moran, Patrick Murphy, Mark Enright, Seán McSweeny, Liam Ward.

Our U.18 footballers played in both Munster and County Competitions and had some magnificent displays, such as when they defeated Clare team, Kilmihill. They reached a Munster semi-final and a county final, but luck wasn’t with them on either day. During both campaigns, many of the team members gave great performances

Senior Football Team: Pat O’ Connor (teacher), James Kelly, Tim Nix, Christopher Reidy, Mark Kelly, Kieran McMahon (RIP), Damien Breen, Paudie Lawlor, Thomas O’ Callaghan, Donal Nolan, Maurice Murphy, Jason Dowling.
Front: Tony Quaid, John Hartnett, Jake Greaney, Daven Meehan, Scott Hurley, Seán Neville, James O’ Connor, Niall Enright, Thomas Moran and Seánie King.

Rathkeale…………………………………… 3-16
Desmond College…………………………. 5-8

Desmond College battled against Coláiste na Trocaire in the under 16s Hurling Final recently in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick. The game was electric and worthy of a final cup match. Both teams played out of their skins! After 25mins in the first half Desmond College were two goals down but that was not enough of a deterrent for this brave side. They went on to score three successive goals as a response to Rathkeale’s initial inroads. However fortune was not with Desmond College on the day. Injuries both before and during the game were to impede all their noble efforts. Tony Quaid deserves special mention for his inspiring contribution! Even the creative positional reshuffling of their notorious (for high standards!) coach Jim Casey was not enough! The final whistle blew; Coláiste na Trocaire 3:16. Desmond College 5: 8. Well done to all involved and hard luck to
Desmond College a formidable side for next year’s County Championship.

Back Row: Jason Flynn, Darren Scanlon, Evan Riordan, James Kelly, Seán Mullane, Donie Nolan, Jason Dowling, Niall Enright, Tony Quaid, Eddie Shine, Patrick Brislane, Owen Lane, Tomás Murphy.
Front Row: Seán Kirwin, J. O’ Connor, Kevin Mulcahy, Thomas Moran, Liam Ward, Seán McSweeney, Robert Egan, Ian Mackessy, Mark Enright, Patrick Murphy, Jamie Quaid, Raymond Brouder.

Kieran McMahon (RIP) being presented his AIB senior football award from Pádraig Flanagan, and Thomas Callaghan receiving the AIB hurling award.

The Bank of Ireland Senior Sports Award was given to Daven Meehan and the Junior award to Katie Hurley. James Kelly won the AIB Junior football award.

Students from the school being presented with two sets of jerseys from Desmond Credit Union – generous sponsors to many school teams.
Eimear Murphy, Shauna Tobin, Kevin Mulcahy and James Stack included in the photo.

Pádraig Flanagan(Principal), Mary O’Connor, Peter Hickey (BOI assistant manager), Seán O’Sullivan and Vourneen Barry-Gavin (Deputy Principal) pictured here with the Bank Of Ireland 2008 Award Winners. The Sam Maguire All Ireland Football Cup was brought to Desmond College by Seán O’Sullivan (BOI student officer).

Keith O’ Rahilly and Vourneen Barry-Gavin

Mary O’Connor, Seán O’ Sullivan, Pádraig Flanagan, Donal Enright, Mike
Nash, Peter Hickey and Vourneen Barry-Gavin

Bill Flaherty (caretaker) and Claire Sheehan (secretary) with Seán O’ Sullivan (Kerry) and the Sam Maguire.

Ladies Football
Like all sports/games, ladies football has made great strides down through the years and also within the school. The hand and leg co-ordination that our young ladies exhibit today was non-existent for the average school girl footballer of 20 years ago.
Our team of 2007 includes C. Davis, D. Magner, A. Lawlor, C. Conaghan, E. de Nais, K. Herbert, J. Quaid, A. McSweeney, M. O’Connor, Sorcha and Ide McDomhnaill, Eilis Mullane, cousins Claire and Aine Mulcahy, Catherina O’Callaghan, Dyan Carroll and C. Copse.

Soccer Team 2008
The schools Senior Soccer Team had two excellent performances against Nessans, 8-1, and Passage West 2-0. Our Juniors were unlucky to be beaten against Douglas (4-3) on penalties. During the competition, wins against Crescent College and Croom had raised expectations of reaching our first final. There were excellent performances by James Kelly, Tony Quaid and Kevin Brislane in all games.
Our U.14 Soccer Team reached Round 4, beating St. Nessan’s (4-0), then going on to lose narrowly (2-3) to Crescent College. Excellent performances by Jamie Quaid, Emmanuel McCarthy, Seán McSweeney and all the boys.

Back row: Stephen Gouilding, Brian Hennessy, Thomas O Murchú, Thomas Moran, Donal Nolan, James O Sullivan, Tony Quaid, Jason Dowling, James Morrisroe, Edward Shine, Gearóid O Leary, Thomas O Callaghan and Jim Casey.
Front row: Killian McCarthy, Raymond Brouder, Sean McSweeney, Ian Mackessy, James Stack, Niall Enright, Evan Riordan, Eamon Monaghan.

Desmond College U14 Soccer Team in 2008 who reached round four in the 1st Year Munster Soccer Tournament. Trained by Stephan and James Casey.

Cross Country
Winners at the Cross Country VEC Championships were the U.16 girls team: Laura Jane Hehir, Lorraine Murphy, Catriona Quaid and Georgina Power. Also winners were the U.18 girls’ team: Kate Brislane, Lorraine Murphy, Katie Hurley and Natalie McDonagh. The U.16 boys’ team of Kevin Brosnan, Thomas Moran, Eddie Phillips and Evan Riordan were silver medallists. Competitors at the Munster Cross Country at Tramore were: Gerard O’ Reilly, Kevin Brosnan, Kate Brislane and Laura Jane Hehir.


Desmond College winners of the Neil McDonnell Cup for U.18 football 2009.
2008/2009 Post Primary B Football Champions.
Back: Emmet Kelly, Stephen McDonnell, Gerard Moloney, James Morrisroe, James Stack, Jason Dowling, Niall Enright, Paudie Lawlor, Donal Nolan, Patrick Brislane, Liam Shine, Seán Mullane, John Boyce
Front: Jason Copse, Evan Riordan, Thomas O’ Callaghan, Thomas Moran, Kevin Brosnan, Ian Mackessy, Robert Egan, Scott Hurley, Tony Quaid, James Kelly, and coach/manager Jim Casey (just off picture).

Desmond College……………………………. 3-09
Salesian’s College……………………………. 0-07
The final of the Neil McDonnell Cup, a County Limerick College football competition, was held in Rathkeale, on Friday 27th March. En route to the final Desmond College came up against a very good Hazelwood College, Dromcollogher side and won by 5 points, on the 18th March. Salesian College, Pallaskenry won their Semi-Final. The Final was played in cold blustery conditions which made it difficult for both teams. Desmond College started the better of the two, opening up a 3 point lead, with a goal by Tony Quaid. Salesian College settled in to the game and replied with two well taken points from Lorcan Fitzgerald. For fifteen minutes, Salesian College had the greater amount of possession of the ball, but failed to convert a number of chances. Thomas O’Callaghan scored a point from 30 yards, which levelled the score. Desmond College captain Tony Quaid got a spectacular goal, his second, just before half-time to give Desmond College a 3 point lead. At the start of the second half James Kelly, centre forward for Desmond College, scored a goal from 45 yards out. Thomas O’Callaghan, full forward for Desmond College came out to midfield, scoring 2 masterful points against a blustery wind. Salesian replied with a point from Barry O Connell. However, Desmond College were in full control of the game, with some excellent fielding from Donal Nolan at centre midfield. Robert Egan and Ian Mackessy were busy corner forwards, both getting points from play. Desmond College corner back Patrick Brislane gave an outstanding performance. Desmond College were worthy winners of this trophy.
Desmond College Team:
Paudie Lawlor(St. Kieran’s), Patrick Brislane (Templeglantine), James Morrisroe (St.Kieran’s), James Stack (Newcastle West), Thomas Moran (St. Kieran’s) Kevin Brosnan (Monagea), Jason Dowling (Newcastle West), Donal Nolan (St Kieran’s), Scott Hurley(Newcastle West), Tony Quaid (Captain- Newcastle West), James Kelly (Newcastle West), Niall Enright (Newcastle West), Ian Mackessy (St. Kieran’s), Thomas O’Callaghan(Monagea), Robert Egan ( Knockaderry).
Subs: Seán Mullane (Kileedy), Steven McDonnell (Drom-Broadford), Evan Riordan (Monagea), Aidan O’Connor (Newcastle West), John Boyce (Askeaton), Patrick Murphy (Knockaderry), Eddie Shine (St. Kieran’s), Jason Copse (St.Kieran’s), Gerard Maloney (Newcastle West), Liam Shine (Killeedy).

Under 16 Hurling 2009
This U.16 hurling team was full of potential with some very skilful hurlers. In Munster and County competitions they had a number of successes. In the Munster competition, they reached the semi-final and in the County competition they beat Askeaton and against Bruff there were fine displays from Patrick Brislane at centre-back, Ian Mackessy was powerful at mid-field and Kevin Brosnan inspired the team in a close encounter. Kevin Mulcahy, Seán McSweeney and Evan Riordan were the leading scorers. The game was level at full-time. Bruff took most advantage when playing with the wind in extra time and won the game by 3 points. These were all great performances and Desmond College were truly unlucky in this game.

Team: Thomas Keating, Patrick Brislane, John McEnery, Eoin Lane, James O’Sullivan, Kevin Brosnan, Ian Mackessy, Raymond Brouder, Seán Kirwin, Jason Flynn, James Keenan, Kevin Mulcahy, Liam Ward, Emmet Kelly, Patrick Murphy, Darren Scanlon, Aaron Reddan, Robert Egan, Patrick O’Sullivan, Eoin Hurley, A.J O’Connor, Daniel Copse and Seán McSweeney.

1st Year Hurling Panel: Daniel Copse, Conor Barry, A.J O’Connor, Eoin Hurley, Martin Madden, David Walsh, Mark Danaher, Kevin O’Connor, Tristan Fitzpatrick, Conor Relihan, Rose Magner, Eileen O’Flynn, Orlaith Condon, Lisa Barrow, Michael Upton, James Liston, Laura O’Sullivan and Eoin Kelly.
This team had a good run of matches. Captain for the first match was Eoin Hurley who played some outstanding games. In the second match against Croom, the captaincy was handed to Daniel Copse which inspired him to a deserved man of the match award. A.J O’Connor and Martin Madden showed excellent hurling skills. In a third game, Mark Danaher, Conor Barry and David Walsh absolutely refused to drop their heads when the pressure was greatest. A.J O’Connor scored 1-03 in this game playing brilliantly. Other stars were Conor Barry, Eoin Hurley, Kevin O’Connor and again Daniel Copse.

Evan Riordan, Seán McSweeney, Vourneen Gavin-Barry, Kevin Brosnan and Kevin Mulcahy with their sports awards.

Evan Riordan, Seán McSweeney, Vourneen Gavin-Barry, Kevin Brosnan and Kevin Mulcahy with their sports awards.

Outside the Classroom in Desmond College
By Kevin Brosnan

I spent five years in Desmond College and spent as much time partaking in extra-curricular activities as I did learning inside a classroom. From sports, to quizzes, to Young Scientist competitions, to fashion shows, every opportunity to do something outside the classroom, I took! While learning English, Irish, Maths and everything else was important in school what I learnt from being outside the classroom is much more valuable to me now. As a lecturer of mine has always told me,

You will only ever use 10% of what you learn in college

, the same principle applies for school.
During my time in Desmond College I played football, hurling and soccer, typically in flooded pitches from October to March, little hope for the nimble quick footed player, thankfully that wasn’t me. I was more the player who won the tackles, carried the ball and then passed it off to some with better conversion rates – unless of course a late goal was required, I thrive in those situations! I played with players that have gone on to play at the highest level of their respective sports. A common trait was seen amongst them though, something no training would ever develop, the

willingness to die for the cause.

As a captain at school, club and inter-county level, you begin to understand the different types of players that exist in sport. In general, you want the most skilled players on your team, natural ability is of course a very rare attribute, something I wish I had more of, but natural ability alone wins nothing! As a player and captain, I need to know that if the going gets tough that the person standing next to me will stand tall, another rare attribute in a player. The best players are players with both qualities but rarely do you find a pool of these players to choose from. So the question is, which is more important; natural ability or

never say die

attitude? My opinion has been and always will be that football can be trained and improved mental attitude cannot, and I would much rather have the players with the

never say die

attitude standing beside me than players with ability but no bottle.
The highlight of my sporting career in Desmond College came in my final year, while I should have been preparing for the Leaving Certificate, I was a member of the Co. Limerick VEC Schools team, a combination of footballers from the Limerick VEC Schools which competed in an All-Ireland Competition. Training was destined for Mick Neville Park in the wet and wild October weather and our first game was to be against Tipperary in Thurles, in mid-November. On an extremely blustery day, a strong second-half performance would put us in the Munster


final against Kerry on November 30th. While the moral in the camp was good the weather deterred the less driven (and generally more talented) members of the side from training, but none the less we carried on. In a flooded Abbeyfeale pitch, with the rain powering down, we beat Kerry 2-12 to 2-08. It still stands as the only time I have beaten Kerry in a competitive Munster football fixture. From here, we were to play Cork in the Munster


final, played in the newly erected GAA complex in Mallow on Friday 4th December, it was not to be. The All-Ireland


competition took us to play Laois next at a Tipperary venue, that I had never heard of up to that point and haven’t heard of since. I had done myself an injury with the county team some two weeks prior to the game and thus started on the line, not a place I am used to or enjoy very much at all! With 15 minutes to go the lads had the game well and truly wrapped up, I came on but my drive and ambition for a place on the All-Ireland final team drove me to play one of my best ever 15 minutes of football. The final was played in Duggan Park, Ballinasloe against an impressive Leitrim team but it wasn’t Leitrim that would beat us on the day. For the first time in the duration of the campaign discipline became an issue, reduced to 13 men with 20 minutes remaining left us without the opportunity of returning to Limerick with the All-Ireland title. I can understand and comprehend losing a title to a better team but to lose an All-Ireland title for ill-discipline was something that hurt me for a long time. I may never again play in an All-Ireland final; those days don’t come around often enough to throw them away when they do.
While I played as much as I could while I was supposed to be in school, I played even more outside of it. I trained and played with the Limerick footballers from U15 to this current day and in general I was on a training ground at least five nights a week for the vast duration of my time in Desmond College. In the eye of the media, sport in school is seen as having a negative effect on results. In my opinion, it is the entire opposite! I collected the Student of the Year award in Desmond College in 2010 since then I have collected Student of the Year award in the University of Limerick in 2014, and I genuinely believe I would not have achieved the success I have today without playing sport for school, club and county. The

work ethic

required to be involved in sport can be harvested and redeployed in the same manner to your education. Striving to be the best in your sport, should be adjusted to striving to be the best at everything you do, as the cliché goes

shoot for the moon, if you miss you’ll land among the stars.

Desmond College offered an additional platform for the growth of my sporting career be it soccer, football, rugby or even golf. The encouragement from teachers such as Pat O’Connor, Mike Nash, Jim Casey and Stephen Goulding had a telling influence on my development as a player and as a person. The fond memories for me occurred outside the walls of the school grounds; the Munster


title secured against Kerry will forever be etched in memory as will the close encounters with Askeaton, Rathkeale and the likes on an annual basis. The extra-curricular activities are what made me enjoy school and in a sense sport has made me who I am today. My drive and motivation to succeed in sport has driven me to the desire to be the best at everything I do. In a nutshell, your academic record is what defines you on paper but what defines you as a person is everything that you compete in and achieve outside of that. As a sport fanatic I hate coming anywhere but first, and I intend to keep coming first, for as long as I can, in everything I do!
by Kevin Brosnan

A Parent’s Perspective on Balancing School Sports
By Mark Brosnann

I will begin by saying that I enjoy a game of hurling / football / soccer / rugby as much as the next person, whether it is for club, school, district or county, but I believe it has its place. There is no denying that it is a benefit for any child to learn to play a sport – to learn the skill, tactics, discipline, commitment and passion. To celebrate with their team mates in victory and also to be able to stand tall in defeat. We have been there, from underage rugby to schoolboys soccer to Bord na nOg. We have had children play for their local clubs, parish, districts, schools and county and we’re proud to watch them step onto the pitch and play their part.
But, not every child can be a professional sportsperson and get paid to play sports. For everyone else (the vast majority) academic education has to be the path to follow and as parents and teachers we need to be in agreement on this. Is the lost class time for students who are involved in sport a contributing factor to the number of students who need grinds to help them in their subjects? If the majority of a senior year class are away from the school to play a match, who loses out? Is it the students representing their school in sport or is it the students who remain in the class and perhaps their teacher has gone to the match also? Should more academic support be given to the students who represent their school in sport? Should a child have to decide whether to go to the grind he needs after school or to go to training to make the school team? There are many questions and I believe that parents, teachers and children won’t agree on the answers.
There are huge advantages for having our children involved in sport. Some lifelong friendships are formed on training pitches, at match’s, in victory and in defeat but it has its place. Until such time as our children can receive additional CAO points for their participation in school sports, it is a pastime, a skill, a hobby and cannot be detriment to their education.

Mark Brosnan
Gerard O’ Reilly and Kevin Brosnan at the Munster VEC Sports.

Senior team with Coach Ms. Sandra Quaid.

Physical Education in Desmond College
by Sandra Quaid

Desmond College is delighted that all students that come through its doors are provided with a full physical education in accordance with the Department of Education. The school boasts some fantastic facilities in which to offer the programme including a full size sports hall, GAA pitch, soccer pitch, outdoor games court and fitness suite.
Junior students in the school are offered the full JCPE programme where they get educated in the seven strands of the curriculum including Athletics, Aquatics, Dance, Gymnastics, Games, Adventure Activities and Health Related Fitness. Students spend numerous weeks on each topic and progress through them each year. As part of the PE programme first year students attend an overnight residential trip to an outdoor education centre where they get the put some of their newly acquired skill to use.
Transition year student get the opportunity to take part in a more extensive PE programme where they get to experience alternative activities including Judo, lifesaving in the local swimming pool, gain a coaching qualification and teaching children in local primary schools.
Senior cycle students partake in a PE Games programme and Health Related Fitness sessions for the two years of senior cycle. This is where they can bring their skills from junior cycle and apply them to the adapted and progressed situations. They also take part in fitness programmes in our fitness studio where take complete various fitness sessions, yoga, Pilates and body toning classes.
Each year the school holds an active schools week whereby the PE department in conjunction with the entire school community become active and promotes how active the school is, with a variety of events and activities happening during lunch and after school. Into the future the school is aiming to get the ‘Active Schools Flag’ which is where the Department of Education recognises schools that strive to achieve a physical educated and physically active school community.
All the above is possible thanks to having the PE programme delivered by fully qualified Physical Education teachers since the school opened in 2001. The teachers involved since include first PE teacher Fiona Loughnane, Kerrie Collins, Sandra Quaid, Marie Ryan, Catherine Creed and Aisling Ryan. A special thought goes to Jonathon McCarthy RIP, who left a lasting memory to the staff and students he came in contact with in the physical education department in Desmond College. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
Sandra Quaid

P.E. teachers Sandra Quaid and Catherine Creed with Kerry footballer Darren O Sullivan. Darren spoke to the students and was an inspiration to them providing advice about setting personal goals.

Camogie girls, football girls, and coach all playing basketball.
Back – Katie Hurley, Mairead Relihan, Catriona Quaid, Margaret O’Connor, Aine Baer, Kate Brislane, Kaspar Saravarcenko.
Front – Laura-Jane Hehir, Lara McCarthy, Mary Long, Sarah O’Connor, Joanne Dowling, Levana O’Connor.

Junior Rugby Team: Martin Madden, Robert Toomey, Eoin Hurley, Kevin O Connor, Hugh Lane, Bernard Hughs, Pa O Sullivan, Emmanuel McCarthy, Killian Hough, Ciaran Nolan, Michael Costello, Eoin King, Alan Aherne, Cian Landers, Mark Danaher, Conor Barry, Daniel Copse, AJ O Connor, Tristan FitzPatrick, Maurice Shine, Jamie Byrnes.

Cross Country Championships
Under 16 Girls Category: Kate Brislane – Gold, team of Kate Brislane, Meagan Coadey, Shauna Sexton and Paulina – Silver,
Under 16 Boys: Kevin Brosnan- Silver, team of Kevin Brosnan, Sean Mullane, Patrick Brislane and Kevin Mulcahy- Silver
Under 18 boys Category: Thomas Moran- Gold, James Stack- Bronze, team of Thomas Moran, James Stack, David Nolan and Brian Hennessy – Gold.
Under 18 Girls Category: Team of Natalie McDonagh, Aislinn Lane, Bernadette Buston and Eileen O Flynn – Gold.

Our soccer team performed well in all competitions. We were unlucky to be drawn against ALL Ireland champions Sexton Street and were beaten 4-2. Excellent performances were given by Paudie Lawlor, James Kelly, Scott Hurly and Tony Quaid. The Under 18s beat Rice College Ennis 3-1 in a hard fought encounter but were beaten by Crescent College.
Players that are showing great promise are James O Sullivan, Ian Mackessy, Killian McCarthy and Jamie Quaid. Overall soccer has developed further this year in Desmond College at all age levels. The support from clubs and the community is invaluable and our new jerseys are sponsored by Coach House Travel. Appreciation is due to Mr. Flanagan and the school management who do a wonderful job managing the timetable due to long distances travelling to fixtures. And what a year for Scott Hurley selected for the Limerick 37 Under 20 squad – playing 10 matches for Limerick. Scott scored 5 goals and played so well that he was called up to the senior squad.

Kaspar (coach), Catriona Quaid, Margaret O’Connor, Sarah O’Connor, A. Long, Joanne Dowling, Aine Baer.

At a tournament in 2009 with coaches Ms. Sandra Quaid and Kaspar Saravarcenko.

Hurling U.14 team
Back Row: John Delee, Tom Flavin, Kieran Herlihy, Luke Barry, Ciaran Brouder, AJ O’ Connor, Eoin Moran, Stephen McMahon, Jamie Whelan, Cormac Long.
Front Row: Cian Larkin, Brian Hurley, Kieran Copse, Andy Brouder, Shane Kelleher, Deborah Murphy, Stephen Brosnan, Declan O’ Connor, Conor Barry.

The 1st year hurlers were triumphant against Dromcollogher. Desmond College have a panel of hurlers capable of further success if they train with as much vigour and determination as they have done this year.

An outstanding year for Desmond College Camogie.
The first few training sessions made it clear that successes might be in store. The exhibition of skill and dedication displayed by each of the girls was first class. As the training sessions went on, the girls grew in confidence and ability and as a result had decisive wins over Scoil Pól, Bruff, Croom and Roscrea which booked them a place in the Munster Final against Coláiste Mhuire, Ennis. This match was played under lights in the Staker Wallis pitch in Bulgaden on a wet, windy and miserably Friday evening. The weather conditions however did not interfere with an outstanding display of Camogie from both sides. Our girls played with tremendous heart and determination and ended up worthy winners of the Munster U.16 ½ Camogie Competition. The talented panel: Orla Condon (U14 County), Eileen O Flynn, Laura O’ Sullivan, Lisa Barrow, Shauna Sexton, Katie Hurley (U16 County Captain), Kate Brislane (U16 County), Rebecca Delee (U14 & U16 County), Joanna Dowling (School Captain & U16 County), Deborah Murphy (U14 County), Michelle Murphy, Rose Magner, Clare Collum, Aishling Lane, Sinead Nix, Laura Herlihy, Laoise McCarthy, Lorna Browne, Shauna Tobin (U14 County), Eimear Murphy and Clare O’ Connor. Ms Marie Corkery who joined the staff in 2007 was their manager and coach.

The school year 09/10 was an eventful year for soccer in the school. The U18 Team were defeated by Crescent College but the Desmond College team acquitted themselves well. It was the last game in school for our star players Kevin Brosnan, Ian Mackessy and Killian McCarthy as they are Leaving Cert Students. All their class were great enthusiasts of the game and will be missed. The U16 team were beaten in the quarter finals, going down 4-3 against St Nessans. Excellent performers were Patrick McCoy, James O’ Sullivan, Jamie Quaid, Maurice Shine and Shane Brosnan.
The U14 Desmond College Team made history when capturing the Munster Trophy beating Charleville CBS 2-0 at Ballygowan Park. Their path to the final involved a lot of travel. In the first two home games, they defeated Newport C.S. 4-0 and St. Nessans 4-1. Excellent performances during these games were given by Kieran Herlihy and AJ O Connor. The next fixture was an away game against Carrick on Suir with chances few and far between. Desmond College thanked Van Mambouana who scored the decisive goal from a free kick. The semi-final was against Mayfield Community School, Cork. The team knew the prize at stake and gave a much disciplined performance, despite conceding an early goal. AJ O’ Connor led the charge, leading us to a 4-1 victory and a place in the final.
The final was a great occasion for the school and the players. A large crowd turned up including The Star newspaper to cover the game. Every single player including the substitutes played their part in this memorable game. (Desmond College 2, Charleville CBS 0) The final whistle led to joyous celebration by all. It marked the end of a successful season for the school. Coaches Stephen Goulding and Jim Casey thanked the management of Desmond College for their support for soccer and their willingness to help plan the away games.


Seoirse Joyce and Daniel Power with Fiona Loughnane (PE teacher) pictured with AIB representative receiving their sports awards. These boys were talented, skilful, powerful and committed soccer stars who ply their skills on the soccer pitches of Munster and continuously make headlines in the local press.

Eoin Hand’s Visit to School In 2010

Eoin Hand with Desmond College under 14 Munster Trophy Champions. Along with Stephen Goulding and Jim Casey coaches. Eoin played for the Irish soccer team and in later years was their manager.

U.16 Hurling

Desmond College started the 2011 hurling year with an impressive win over Kelly’s of Abbeyfeale. William Hurley kept us in it in the first half with some fine scores and the full back line cleared every ball that came their way. Our half back line conceded too many frees in the first half but they put in very solid second half displays.
Our midfield duo of AJ O’Connor and Shane Brosnan had a huge work rate and ran endlessly with Daniel Copse impressively scoring many points. All our forwards either slotted up a score or had a huge part to play in the scoring of our goals and points, to close out a solid win.
The ever skillful Mossie Shine was Man of the Match.
The final score 2-8 to 0-9.
We met a very strong Newport side in the next round with Captain Mossie Shine and all the U16 backs playing out of their skin. If we hadn’t given away so many frees and if we had a bit of luck we could have won this one. We battled in the second half and scored 1-3 in the last five minutes of play.
In the end we were unlucky not to have been awarded two or more goals and the result was a disappointing loss for us 2-5 to 4-3.
Our panel were: William Hurley, Steven Brosnan, Conor Barry, Andy Brouder, Peter Shanahan, Mossie Shine, Darragh O’Donovan, Shane Brosnan, AJ O’Connor, Cian Larkin, Eoin Hurley, Mikey Sexton, David Walsh, Mark Danaher, Kieran Herlihy, Daniel Copse, Brian Hurley. Coaches: Mr. Carey and Mr. Nash.

U.14 Hurling
This year’s groups of hurlers were competitive, winning a Blitz in Rathkeale.
There are many very skillful players emerging from our new first years. They are mixing well with our second years to give expectations of a successful U16 team next year and a positive platform for success into the future.
All Star Training Session
All Star Hurler and Cork legend Seán Óg O’hAilpín delighted our future aspiring sports stars with a coaching session on new turf.
They enjoyed the drills and fresh take on developing and polishing their basic hurling and camogie skills

Declan Hannon (Adare) and Tommy O’Brien (Patrickswell) took a training session with first and second year hurling teams in Desmond College on Wednesday 26th October. The session, organised by teacher/coach Martin Bourke, focused on developing individual skills, followed by a motivational speech.



A group of students from Desmond College who recently took part in County Limerick VEC Inter-schools Sports competition

This U/16 hurling team had an impressive win over Kelly’s of Abbeyfeale. Our midfield duo of AJ O Connor and Shane Brosnan had a huge workrate and ran endlessly with Daniel Copse impressively scoring many points. The ever skillful Mossie Shine was man of the match. The final score was 2-8 to 0-9. We were defeated by Newport in the next round. Included in the photograph are some of the panel of the Under 16 Hurling – William Hurley, Steven Brosnan, Conor Barry, Andy Brouder, Peter Shanahan, Mossie Shine, Darragh O’ Donovan, Shane Brosnan, AJ O Connor, Cian Larkin, Eoin Hurley, Mikey Sextin, David Walsh, Mark Danaher, Kieran Herlihy, Daniel Copse and Brian Hurley. Team managers were Mr Carey and Mr Nash.

On a blustery Friday 4th February 2011, our panel represented themselves very well in the County VEC Semi-Final against Coláiste Na Trocaire, with fine displays by wing forward Jamie Quaid and goal scorer James O’Sullivan and solid, honest performances from the two corner backs John McEnery and Jason Flynn.




Desmond College girls’ basketball team finished the season on a high with a flurry of fixtures and victories. The first year team found new talent in players such as Courtney O’Kelly, Kiara Carroll, Stephanie Sheehan, Hayley Costello and Katie Barrett. In particular the team had an outstanding win against St. Enda’s with a score of 26-2. The second year squad’s experience included a good win over St. Enda’s. The team also beat Croom in the plate semi-final with a narrow but deserved 16-14 win. The team was anchored by excellent ball-carriers in Deborah Murphy, Suan Murphy and Courtney Singh and outstanding defense with players Shannon White, Shannon O’Doherty, Vanessa Dowling, Lorraine Enright, Sharon Barry and Shauna Tobin. The attacking players comprising of Cassie Costello, Rebecca Long, Shauna Hough, Laoise McCarthy and Nicola O’Brien showed great determination. Unfortunately, St. Mary’s from Corbally provided too strong an opposition on the day of the final but all girls thoroughly enjoyed their experience of playing in the U.L. arena. The senior team comprising of our stalwarts Catriona Quaid, Sarah O’Connor, Siobhan Copse and Margaret O’Connor enjoyed their basketball season. These veterans were joined by some strong players from junior years namely Joanne Dowling, Katie Brislane, Laura Herlihy, Mairead Relihan, Laura O’Sullivan and Mary Kadima. Losing to Askeaton in the plate semi-final was a very close match with a huge disappointment to the team but has inspired the younger players for next season. Thank you to all girls involved for representing Desmond College and Gaelcholáiste Uí Chonbá with such enthusiasm, commitment and respect for all opposition.

Under 16 Camogie County Champions
Team: Orla Condon, Deborah Murphy, Claire Scanlon, Alice Brislane, Leah Kelly, Emma Herbert, Rachel Dore, Leanne Browne, Stacey Flynn, Laoise McCarthy, Clara Danagher, Julie Cantillon, Aislinn Lane, Kiara Carroll, Laura O’ Sullivan, Orla Wrenn, Adrianna Rodrigues, Shauna Tobin, Rose Magner with their teacher Marie Corkery.

Dedicated in loving memory of Darra O’ Donovan
16th November 1996-12th December 2011
Darra O’ Donovan,
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

Darra, from Monagea and a student of Desmond College, died suddenly at the age of fifteen. Darra was a multi- talented sportsman – a member of a Limerick County Panel and of several sporting teams. Darra lived with a love of the school sports.
“Perhaps they are not stars above us,
but rather openings into heaven, where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us, to let us know they’re happy”.

Vourneen (Principal) wrote: “Our world fell apart when we heard the tragic news of the sudden death of Darra O’Donovan on December 12th. The shock and grief felt by all is almost impossible to describe. It was such a difficult time for our whole school community, but we took care of each other and continue to do so… We have such great memories and stories to tell about Darra and it is these that will get us through the difficult times. Our thoughts and prayers are with Darra’s family each and every day.”

Jim Casey, Darra O’ Donovan and
Stephen Goulding with the Munster Cup

Camogie Celebration Night
The following pictures were kindly contributed by Keith O’ Rahilly. These signify the develppment of ladies sports in the school in recent years.

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Staff of 2011

Students pictured with James Ryan, Limerick Senior Hurler
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Harty Cup Players
Congratulations also to Gavin O’Reilly, Michael Sexton, William Hurley, Brian Hurley and Cormac Long Long who also represented Limerick at the U.15 All Ireland Tournament held in Cork.

Congratulations to Kieran Herlihy, Cian Larkin and Conor Barry on being part of the Limerick U16 hurling team that took part in the All-Ireland tournament held on Saturday Sep 1st [2012] in Tipperary.

Students from Desmond College looking forward to playing with
Coláistí Iar Luimní (West Limerick Colleges) vs Abbey CBS Tipperary in
Wednesday’s Harty Cup Fixture in Kilmallock. [September 2012]

Mike Nash Cup recipient for 2012/2013 Deborah Murphy with friends Clara Danaher, Claragh Breen, Vanessa Dowling, Doireann Hunt, Julie Cantillon

The senior boys will be working very hard over the coming months to get ready for Harty Cup Hurling Championship next year. The creation of Coláiste Iar Luimní means that students in Desmond College get the chance to play hurling at the highest possible level.
Hazelwood College, Dromcollogher and Coláiste na Trocaire, Rathkeale have joined forces with our school in entering the Harty Cup. We hope by playing in the best competition, against the toughest teams, we will give every hurler in the school a chance to play to the best of their ability.

1st Year Hurling County VEC Finalists:
Back L-R: Larry Ward, Eoin Considine, Cillian Brouder, Brian Hartnett, Liam Dowling, Diarmuid Curtin, Killian McMahon, Patrick Moriarty, Darragh O’Shea, Robert Meehan
Front L-R: Conor Leahy, Tony Harnett, John McCoy, Seamus Hurley, Eamonn Browne, Dwayne McCoy, Conor Kennedy, Shane Cahill, Cian Cremin
Missing from Photo: Jack Forde, Christian Whyte, Nathan Hough, John Paul Geoghegan

Back Row: David O Donovan, Seán Walton, Tiernan Hanon, Emett Wrenn, Jamie Kelly, Jack Kenny, Micheal Murphy , Pádraig _____, Darragh Collins, Kieran Flanagan. Front Row: Patrick Wishowski, Jack Nash, Dylan Moloney, Jack Enright, Dylan Syngh, Warren Coughlan, Darren Ward, Liam ___, and Dylan O’ Connell.

Back Row: JJ Cronin, Liam Dowling, Killian O’ Connor, Larry Ward, William Hurley, Pa O’ Connor, Diarmuid Flanagan, Tony Hartnett, Seán Duffy, Evan Larkin, Diarmuid Curtin, Eamon Browne, ___
Front Row: Jack Kenny, Shane Normoyle, Jack Forde, Michael Flynn, Eoin McMahon, __, Pádraig Colleir, Seán Walton, Seamus Hurley, Micheal Collins, Conor Kennedy.

Gerry Bennis presents more sports gear. From left – Aoife Culhane, Stephen McMahon, Stephen Brosnan, Shauna Tobin, Gerry Bennis, Darragh McMahon, Eoin Hurley and Marie Corkery.

7 a side ‘Blitz’
The latest in ‘school hurling’ is that we are currently running a 7-a-side ‘Hurling Blitz’. The ‘Blitz’ takes place at lunchtime for both boys and girls, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The winners will get a set of jerseys and with a teacher in charge of every team the motivation and level of competition is at an all-time high.

1st Year Hurling
Our new crop of hurlers got our year off to a great start with wins over Coláiste Mhuire, Askeaton, St. Clement’s College Limerick and Coláiste Ide agus Iosef, Abbeyfeale in the 1st year competition. The team had further success in a ‘Blitz’ in Mick Neville Park where they emerged victorious with some fantastic displays, to win all three matches. With some key matches left in the year, the squad is looking forward to battling for some silverware in both County and Munster competitions.

2nd Year Hurling
This year’s hurling for second years has been successful. We have all stepped up a gear this year, by beating Hazelwood College and Colaiste Mhuire Askeaton. They were two of our toughest matches this year but we have to thank Mr. Bourke and Olly Coffey for training us every Tuesday and Thursday after school. Beating Hazelwood and Askeaton gave the team a great boost on the playing field and in the next few weeks we will be playing a semifinal.

U-14 Hurling
We had a great win against Carrick on Suir in the first round of the Munster Championship and everyone is training hard for the next round. We played Pallaskenry in the first round of the County Championship but were, unfortunately, beaten on the day, in our toughest match of the year.

Desmond College Soccer Team worked hard on Friday evening 23rd November 2012, despite the cold and rain, at a training session given by FAI coach Conor Nestor and under the watchful eye of school coach and manager Mr. Casey.

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Munster Cup Trophy Two in a Row
It is difficult to win one Munster title and retaining it was a mammoth task. Due to the limitations placed on us by dates of birth we had only a handful of players returning to defend the trophy. After some initial selection headaches and trying a huge number of players we decided on a panel of thirty but our first years blended in excellently.
In our first round we beat St. Nessan’s 4-2 and Gaelcholáiste Luimní 5-0 in round 2. We also beat Dunmanway Community College 5-4 on penalties after a one all draw and extra time. This was due to Michael Sexton’s well struck winning penalty.
In the semi-final we played away to Carrick CBS in Carrick-On-Suir. In an entertaining game we won well 3-0 to play for the second year running in the Munster Trophy final.
Getting to the Munster Trophy Final put us in to contention to play in the Quarter Final of the Munster Cup which is open to all schools. Our quarter final was against Tarbert Comprehensive. We won this game handsomely 6-1. This qualified us for a semi-final against the High School Clonmel in Clonmel.
We performed excellently on the day and were extremely unlucky to lose one-nil. We lost to the eventual Munster Cup winners, which is no disgrace.
Our final was played in damp conditions on Friday, April 1st 2011. We anxiously awaited the arrival of Comeragh College to Ballygowan Park for a 12.30 kick off. Desmond College were all fired up with a new set of jerseys from O’Neill’s and kindly sponsored by Coach House Travel.
In a tight game we achieved our goal 2-1 thanks to goals from Brian Hurley and Cormac Long. It was a great day of celebration for the school and the game was enjoyed by all our junior school students.
Our principal, Mr. Pádraig Flanagan capped off a fantastic day by presenting the trophy to our jubilant captain, Darragh O’Donovan. It was an excellent team performance. Indeed I want to pay tribute to all our squad of players whose competition for places ensured success throughout the year.
It is important at the end of a long season to thank all those who have helped our soccer teams to succeed: Our Principal and Deputy for their continuous support; Mr. Nash, Sports Co-coordinator of Desmond College; Mr. Casey and Mr. Goulding (manager); Newcastle West AFC for allowing us to use their wonderful facilities and finally our local referees, Mr. Colm Dalton, Mr Pat King, and Mr Tony Fitzmaurice for officiating at our games.
Roll on season 2011/2012 and we will build on our success this season. I am looking forward to viewing our new crop of talent in September.


by Jim Casey

In 2004/05 I commenced teaching in Desmond College. I quickly realised that sport was a major part of life in the school. Pat O Connor asked me to help him out on the side line during my first year in Desmond College. I learned a lot from Pat regarding the process of taking teams to away venues and booking pitches and venues all quite a hand full with a busy teaching timetable.
At under 14 and under 16 level there was a number of talented players in both codes hurling and football. I would get to know the players from these junior years as Mike Nash and Pat O’ Connor allocated those teams to me. There were a number of talented players from 2006 to 2011 that represented the school. Some players went onto represent Limerick at county level. I was delighted to have managed first year sides that competed in county finals and went onto compete in more county finals and Munster finals, as they went through the school years between 2006 and 2011.
Desmond College was beaten in Football County finals in 2008 against Abbeyfeale. Players like James Kelly, Tony Quaid, James Muckell, Enda Shine all played their part in getting to the final. However it was not until 2009 that Desmond College won a football county final against Pallaskenry. Many very skilled young footballers played on that winning side. In getting to that final Kevin Brosnan starred in a game against Askeaton in Mick Nevil Park. Kevin took a heavy blow to the head after a midfield challenge. After being on the ground for a few minutes Kevin resumed playing the game. Kevin went onto score a goal into the roof of the net and to this day Kevin cannot remember that peach of a goal. That team went onto the final with an excellent team. Players like Thomas O Callaghan, Donal Nolan, Tony Quaid and James Kelly went onto win a very close match against Pallaskenry. One amusing thing during this game happened when Pádraig Flanagan (my Principal during that time) was having a heated chat with one of his former colleagues from Pallaskenry in relation to some of the finer points of the final. This discussion became even louder as the game went on and Desmond College took control. I decided to kindly ask both gentlemen to end the particular discussions and watch the game. To this day I still feel embarrassed having asked my boss to engage in the match and stop having an argument on the side line. However I’m not exactly easy going on the side line myself as it is an area where passion often takes over.
In 2010 I went onto coach the first year and under 14 hurlers. Many of this group are completing their leaving certificate in 2015. Players like Jamie Whelan, Kieran Herlihy, Stephan Brosnan, William Hurley, Brian Hurley and Eoin Hurley all starred in both these squads. These players were joined by two of the most talented camogie players in Co. Limerick, Rebecca Delee and Deborah Murphy. Both players would go onto win a junior All Ireland In 2014 for Limerick. With all this talent Desmond College went onto win the first year and under 14 competitions in 2010. Many of this successful side are currently representing Co. Limerick schools in the Harty Cup. Best wishes to all members of the squad from the 3 schools representing Co. Limerick ETB schools.
SOCCER 2008 – 2014
Desmond College commenced its involvement in soccer in 2008. Stephen Goulding and Jim Casey took various teams from junior and senior school. Desmond College had a multitude of players representing the Desmond league. There was a number of stand- out talented players, Chris Reidy (Newcastle West FC), Seánie King (Carrickerry) and David O’ Callaghan. Many of the players in this soccer squad also represented the school in GAA codes. We played Crescent College in Limerick and won 4- 0. This was a great start to the school soccer adventure. In 2008 Stephen and Jim took a team to Cork City to play Passage West. We won that game 2- 0. Disappointingly the Passage school team had discipline issues and Desmond College had to make a quick exit from the host school as pupils from passage school jumped out of windows to discuss issues they had with our students about that game.
In 2011 Desmond College got to the Munster final of the U14 competition with a team managed by Stephen Goulding. This team had an array of young talented skilful soccer players. AJ O’ Connor, Van Mambouma, Brian Hurley, Kieran Herlihy, Damien Fravokic and Thomas O’ Brien. Darragh O’ Donovan RIP also played in a centre back position in this team. This team played an excellent Comeragh College team from Carrick –on – Suir. Desmond College won this Munster Final.
Player from the winning U14 side went onto compete in semi – finals of Munster senior and junior cup competitions. Desmond College were beaten by the narrowest margins 2- 1 against Mallow in 2012 and 2- 1 against Mayfield community College in 2013. Best of luck to Desmond College in this year’s Challenge cup competition. We won our first game against Mercy Mounthalk Tralee.
Jim Casey

Each year Desmond College enters the Interschool’s Show Jumping Competition at Clonshire Equestrian Centre.
Horse riding is a serious hobby for some of our students, many who own their own horses and train diligently a couple of times a week.
Under the watchful eye of our experienced trainer, Mr. Terrance Leonard, the Desmond College Equestrian Team were guided along the right path when it came to training for Clonshire’s Interschools Competition 2010.
Our Teams for 2010-2011 were:
Senior Team; Killian Hough with Hardingville Mud, Jamie Byrnes with Ballingowan Rhythm and Blue, Rachel O’Sullivan with Inis Shannon Mayday
Junior Team; Patrick O’Sullivan with Ballynoe Castle Bond, Michael O’Flynn with Woody, Emmet Kelly with Diamond.
On the day Killian completed a double clear while Jamie’s Rhythm and Blue unluckily clipped the last pole. Rachael did well on a very fresh young horse. Killian completed a clear with one time fault against the clock. Jamie had four faults and Rachel was eliminated for refusals. Patrick O’Sullivan went clear and Emmett was unseated!! We hope to ‘up’ our game next season!

Desmond College Equestrian Team take 2nd place in Interschool’s Open Competition
Desmond College took second place in Leg 2 of the Orchard Equestrian Interschools Showjumping League held in Clonshire Adare. The Team from Desmond College came second to winners Laurel Hill in the Open Team Competition.

Team members are: Rachel O’ Sullivan, Micheal O’ Flynn, Nathan Hough and Roman Creedon. The Team are trained by past pupils Jamie Byrnes and Killian Hough

Irish Schools Showjumping Competition
30th October, saw Desmond College Equestrian Team, take part in the Irish Schools Showjumping Competition in Clonshire Adare. The Team who had been training hard with Terence Leonard, are looking forward to the day with great anticipation. The Team are well experienced and have competed in Clonshire for a number of years.

Team Members are Rachel O’Sullivan, Patrick O’ Sullivan, Jamie Byrnes and Killian Hough. Individual entrants are Nathan Hough and Michael Flynn. Good Luck to all.

In keeping with a tradition now in Desmond College, the girls are showing off the new basketball gear which has been very generously sponsored by Stephen Carey (Recession Fuels), an ex-student of the School. When asked if he would be interested in sponsoring something for the School, he said he would love to repay in some way the care and education he had received when a student.

Left – right: Ms. C. Ryan, Ms. V. Gavin-Barry (Principal), Sarah Hayes, Aine Feely, Amy Ryan, Roisin Nolan, Niamh O’Connell, Mary O’Connor, Danielle Scanlon, Stephen Carey (Sponsor), Ms. E. Cregan.
Front: Leah Barry, Ciara Noonan, Alanna Slater.

First Rugby Match of the Season 2011 – 2012

Our U16 Rugby Team put on a great show against Askeaton on Friday 23rd September, but unfortunately things didn’t go our way. The final score was 34-24 to Askeaton.
(Mr C. Lowe)
Our Desmond College U14 team acquitted themselves well this year in the County Limerick Rugby Blitz at Coonagh on February 2nd, 2011.
We shaped up very well in our first outing against Askeaton with a comfortable 15-0 win and despite being beaten by Crescent Comp and St. Clements; our young players showed great enthusiasm and have high hopes for future success at Junior Level.

Of all people involved in sport, those who deserve the most respect are the referees. Unfortunately that culture of respect is not with all players and supporters. Pad Jo Molyneaux from Ardagh who was a good footballer with the school, and won County Championship Medals with St. Kieran’s, was also one of the highly respected referees from our games and also refereed ladies football up to National Level. John ‘Hopper’ McGrath from Monagea, obliged us many times at short notice to referee our matches. His son John became a professional footballer in England. Among the other referees were Ger Normoyle, Noel O’Connor, Mike O’Brien. Gerry Molyneaux refereed matches and also was a coach with Limerick County Board, who coached some of our first years.

Padjo Molyneaux and his father, two referees from Ardagh.

Caretakers & Secretaries
Other unsung heroes of the supports systems for games in schools are the caretakers. Sometimes they have to prepare pitches. It is they that must do all the cleaning, preparing and repairing that is required after 30 or 40 highly charged young teenage sports people pass through any place. This can sometimes be thankless, time-consuming and hard work. But it is very much appreciated by the school staff. Here in this school, Eoin McAulliffe, John McAulliffe, John Meehan, Donie Reid, Bill Flaherty and John English play their part in the games picture. The sports link continued with the efficient School Secretaries beginning with Brid Danaher, continuing with
Valerie Mullins, Claire Sheahan, Mairead McCoy, Joanne Walsh, Valerie Cunningham, Catriona Gleeson and Trish McGinnis, so it can certainly be said that the whole School Community were part of the Sports Team.

The Quaid Clan
The sporting history of the Quaid Clan deserves a book of its own.
The Quaid name is enshrined in GAA glory in West Limerick and well known all over the country . The the twins Jack and Jim led the way in the 50’s when they played for Limerick and Seamus R.I.P. played for Wexford. Unfortunately, Seamus served his country only too well. The extended Quaid family produced many outstanding players – too many to mention – all cut from the same cloth.

Article from Bridget Quaid Meehan
Tommy Quaid was one of the most revered players for his club Feohanagh Castlemahon. In spite of being a goal keeper at inter county level, he played as a forward during most of his club career and more often than not, he often served as the team’s free-taker. At club level, Tommy’s most successful hour came in 1990 when he captained them to a West Limerick Senior Hurling Title. Later he played his club hurling with Effin and with them won three South Limerick Hurling Titles.
At Inter County Level, he played in goals for the Minor Team in 1974 and 1975. Also in 1975, he made his debut in the National Hurling League against Kilkenny. That year, Tommy’s side contested the Munster Final and in 1980 and 1981 he collected two Munster Medals. In 1984, he won his first National League Medal when Limerick defeated Wexford 3-16 to 1-9. In 1985 he won his second League Medal and another followed in 1992. He also won an All Star award that year. Tommy retired in 1993 after eighteen consecutive championship seasons as goalkeeper. He collected four Railway Cup Medals with Munster in 1981, 1984, 1985 and 1992. Tommy Quaid also won numerous puc fada competitions. He managed the Limerick Intermediate hurlers to a Munster Title in 1998. This side qualified for the All-Ireland Final against Kilkenny. Unfortunately, that game took place in the same week that Tommy suffered his fatal accident at work. He passed away on the same day that the game was taking place, however his emotion filled Limerick team went on to win the game. Solas Dé.

Tommy Quaid RIP

Joe Quaid, Tommy’s first cousin, played his club hurling with Feohanagh and Murroe Boher. In the late 80’s, Joe played minor for the county, then moved onto the Under 21 side. In 1991, he joined the Limerick Senior Panel and took over as goalkeeper in 1994 to win his first Munster Senior Championship Medal and was also honoured with an All Star Award. In 1995, he won a Railway Cup Medal and in 1996, Joe won his second Munster Medal and collected another All Star award. In 2007, Joe brought the Murroe Boher Club to the Semi-Final of the Limerick Senior Hurling Championship. He was also involved with the Limerick Minor Hurlers and is presently the manager of the Limerick Camogie Team.

Joe Quaid

Mike Quaid
Mike Quaid represented his club and county at all levels. He played Minor, Under 21, Intermediate and Senior football with Limerick and also played Minor Hurling with the county. He won an All-Ireland Intermediate Hurling Medal with Limerick in 1998 under the management of Tommy Quaid. Mike has won football titles at West and County Level with his club.
Mike Quaid

John and Pat Quaid
John Quaid played Minor and along with his brother Pat played Under 21 for Limerick and all grades at club level. They were successful in winning numerous titles with their club.
Cousins Joe and Pat Quaid, pupils at Newcastle West Vocational School were winners of Munster Under 16 handball titles.

Gary Egan represented his club Feohanagh Castlemahon before transferring to Dromcollogher. With Drom, he won a number of Senior Titles. He also played Senior Football with Limerick.
Gary Egan

Bridget Quaid
Bridget Quaid represented her club Feohanagh Castlemahon and Newcastle West Vocational School in Camogie. Bridget captained the school to a Munster Camogie Title in 1991/1992.

Joe Barry
Joe Barry played Under 14, 15, and 16 with Limerick. At 14 years of age, he played Under 14, Under 16, Minors and Juniors Hurling and Football with his club Knockaderry. He played Minor Hurling with Limerick and also played with Feohanagh Castlemahon for a period of time.
Joe Barry

Gerard Quaid
Gerard Quaid also played for Feohanagh Castlemahon
Bridget Quaid Meehan

Sport was the common denominator that unified most families across the generations. Aherns, Barretts, Bourkes, Breens, Burke, Careys, Collins, Conway’s, Copses, Corbetts, Danaher’s, Dees, Downes, Dwyers, Fitzgearlds, Fitzmaurices, Flynn’s, Foleys, Hartnetts, Healys, Hennessys, Herberts, Horgans, Hoynes, Kelly’s, Kenneally’s, Kirwins, Lanes, Leens, Listons, Massey’s, McAuliffe, McCarthys, Moloney’s, Mortells, Murphys, Nashes, Nix, Nolans, Normoyles, O’ Briens, O’ Connor, O’ Connell, O’ Doherty’s, O’ Donnells, O’ Keeffes, O’ Sullivans, O’Gradys, Quaid’s, Quilligans, Shanahans, Sheahans, Sheehans, Shines, Whites, Woulfe’s. The lists of sporting families are endless; in fact we could go through the school roll book because most students were required to play at some stage.

Monagea Players:
In recent years players from Monagea, who represented the county were: Thomas O’ Callaghan who played Minor U21 and Intermediate Hurling, Kevin Brosnan Minor and was captain of the U21 Football Team 2014. His brothers Stephen and Shane also played Minor Football. Other very prominent players on school teams from Monagea were; John Murphy, Eddie Browne, David Keane, Billy Flavin, Pauraic Harnett, Billy and Tom Scanlon, Anthony Kenneally, Timmy Harnett, Pa Harnett, Tom McCarthy, John Harnett, Brosnan Brothers, Darra O’Donovan (RIP).

Kieran Herlihy, Kevin Mulcahy and Kieran Brouder were all on County development squads. Young Darra O’ Donovan RIP who was ear marked as a star for the future is shining in a higher place now. His family were consoled at the funeral by the largest funeral imaginable, many from the sporting fraternity.

Tournafulla Players:
The boys from Tournafulla that I know when to the school and would have played hurling would be Richard O’ Connor, Aidan Keogh, Eamon Sheahan, John Paul Sheahan, Patie Sheahan, Paul Keogh, Liam O’ Sullivan, Shane Curtain, Jerry O’ Callaghan , Liam O’ Brien, Tomas O’ Connor, Michael Sullivan, Patrick Broderick and Johnny Collins.
Liam Keogh (Player also)

Liam Keogh receiving his Man of the Match award from Fergus Breen AIB for his display when helping Desmond College defeat St. Mary’s Askeaton in the U.16 Co. Limerick VEC schools and colleges hurling championship final.

Here are some comments of the skilful footballers from Ardagh/Carrickerry/St Kieran’s who attended the Vocational School in former times, contributed by an astute and shrewd observer of the game:

Patrick Molyneaux – a skilful forward who could score from both sides, a goal keeper referee.
Michael Molyneaux – a speedy forward with great ability and accuracy.
Peter O’ Connor – a back, great all-rounder with both ability and attitude – played Minor and Senior for the County.
Paul O’ Connor – a twin brother of Peter’s – mobile midfielder, a great team player and also played Senior for Limerick.
Francis O’ Connor – the same attributes as his brother – all of them were very determined, skilful and would never give in.
Mike Flynn – a sound defender, good marker and a good fielder – played Minor Football for Limerick.
Michael Murphy – a tight marker in all back positions and also very fast.
Seán King – a pacey forward and prolific scorer.
Mike Duggan – played in the backs and was always dependable.
James McCarthy – stylish, good to read a game and bring others into play.
Vincent McCarthy – twin brother of James – good to get possession and score.
Seánie Sullivan – goalie or any outfield position– good to find team mates and very fast off the mark.
Anthony Molyneaux – very good with both feet and another accurate free taker, cool and classy.
Denis Copse – a forward and also midfielder, very committed and a team player.
Gerard Copse – similar to Gerard.
Declan Quaid – great attitude and a dependable forward.
A.N Other

Dedicated in loving memory of Damien Scanlon
Damien Scanlon RIP

Damien played hurling and football for the school throughout his school years and was an outstanding, determined sportsman, who was part of a very good team. He won a Munster medal with the school in 1998.
When Noel O’ Connor was asked for a contribution to this book on behalf of the O’ Connor family, Knockaderry, who were staunch and formidable sportsmen in this school his immediate answer was “I will, but I would prefer if you would consider accepting an excerpt from a funeral tribute that I was asked to pay to my friend Damien Scanlon”
When I was asked to speak on behalf of Damo’s friends I didn’t realise what a difficult job it would turn out to be, there are so many stories from school to GAA, from dressing up at barbeques and working together, there would be just too many. The best way for you to choose your favourite is this picture the man you knew. Think back to the time you spent together think of the laughter and fun you had. It could have been on the hurling field, it could have been anywhere. He played hurling with the style of a throwback to an older era where ground hurling and first time on the ball were prominent. He would play full back and as was his style, when the ball came in, he would clear his way out and strike the ball first time – another customary classic clearance. His crowning glory was county victories and celebrations. His show of heart and determination won him many friends from then on to his final days. I also believe he packed more life into his thirty years than most people do in a lifetime, this should be recognised by all his family and friends. I think the best tribute for someone so carefree and fun loving is not the traditional silence but rather the completion of one minute’s applause.
by Noel O’ Connor

Noel O’ Connor

Within that poignant tribute were many other highlights of the character that was Damien including Damien’s happy relationship with his loving family and his successful work life and prolific travel. Of note specifically, in all rural areas, is the respect given when a sportsman dies. Much appreciated are the Guards of Honour, the help with all aspects of funeral arrangements from the community and the letters of sympathy from the local sports organisations. Many families have received such support.

GAA Reporter
One of the finest reports of a schools match published in The Observer, in the spoken word of GAA language, was penned by Seán O’ Connor from Ardagh who also played on the county minor team.

A satisfactory number of county titles were won by our school. For some periods, we had a rich vein of quality players. Sometimes within the county, there was an imbalance in the school sizes before the leaders organised the A, B, C divisional set up.
Picture x4
Daniel Power Seoirse Joyce Scott Hurley Tony Quaid

There are also numerous soccer players who have passed through this school, displaying their skills on the well laid out pitches of Co. Limerick and they also play in National Competitions. Their exploits are well documented in the local press. The same can be said for other codes including rugby and athletics. To all those who have passed through this establishment, the aspiration for you is to succeed in your sporting organisations, be it as coaches, selectors, trainers, managers, referees and officers and to do so with respect and triumph.

The payback for all coaches is watching the players as they improve their set of skills. Patience and encouragement are imperative. Then it is heartening to know that the young players are gaining confidence and getting a belief in their own ability. Belief and mental toughness are every bit as important as most physical attributes. It is so rewarding when the players give their all, their very best, and when they leave it all on the field. The supreme satisfaction is when the players exceed their own and your hopes for them. Then they are in the ‘zone’ and become oblivious to opposition. They know no fear or danger but are still focused and in control. But just like other worthwhile achievements, it doesn’t just happen. It takes time, perseverance and passion. And as Roy Keane advocates “Practice makes perfect, fail to prepare and prepare to fail.” Psychology is now an extra link in the chain for success in sport and must be utilised.

Without the co-operation, support and understanding of the Management, Principals and Staff of the school, sport would not have flourished as it did and many students would not have enjoyed their school years as much. Many teachers had their classes disrupted with students away at matches, or just thinking about games. Staff members would also have to cover when team managers were away at games. This is clearly evident in an article titled Friendship in a previous publication by staff member Patricia Curtain:
The school’s success over the years is due in no small way to the excellent team spirit that has always prevailed there. In the academic field, teachers were always willing to share their expertise in the pursuit of excellence. Likewise in the area of sport, teachers pooled their resources in the development of skills and sportsmanship thus ensuring an enviable track record in many aspects of sporting life. There was also a great commitment to other extracurricular activities. The student body of the school in turn absorbs the prevailing atmosphere, which in our school has always been one of care, mutual respect and affirmation. This is never more obvious than the collective joy exhibited in the staffroom as each student achieves their potential, be it academic or sporting.
The talented young players and athletes who were students here were nurtured as much as possible within the school system. Their personal development on the sports field and the reports of their achievements in the local newspapers gave and continues to give great interest, pride and satisfaction to everyone.

The GAA specifically should be indebted to The Observer for its detailed GAA coverage. In addition, for its continued promotion of their All Star awards and each players profile.

Michael O’ Sullivan pictured on the right, being presented with his West Limerick Award from Seamus O Keeffe. Seamus also played intercounty hurling. There are hundreds of these type of award winning photos in The Observer.


Such a mine of information. Also included are many feature articles on promising young players.
Thanks to The Observer for the depth and breadth of coverage always and for their grace in providing all their newspapers for research of this publication, which have been invaluable and gratefully appreciated.


Pádraig Flanagan with Kerry footballer Seán O Sullivan

New Principal
Pádraig Flanagan

Mr. Pádraig Flanagan who was principal from 2004 to 2011 was in the same league as the previous principals in acknowledging the value of sport. Pádraig also played football at Inter County level in Roscommon. Therefore, he had the experience of the benefits of sport. To quote an appropriate statement from Pádraig:

Whilst my colleagues and I enjoy our much admired facilities we appreciate it is only part and not the most important part of the picture. Of much greater importance is the rich tradition of child centred education that has been a feature of Newcastle West Vocational School and latterly Desmond College. This tradition manifests itself in many ways. We have students who are friendly and confident, capable and reliable. We have a well-deserved reputation for helping those with educational disadvantage, which is to our credit. We also continue to offer all that is best in technical education.
We in Desmond College are very conscious of the need to maintain and strengthen all the aspects that are good in our school. In an ever changing era for education and sport it is imperative that mutual respect be at the heart of everything we do here at Desmond College, having achieved that respect we have little doubt that this College will meet the challenges of the future whilst maintaining the rich tradition of the past.
Pádraig Flanagan

Pádraig used the intercom system with good affect in encouraging school sports and celebrating its success. Pádraig’s was a steady hand – progressive, popular and an innovative leader. In 10 fruitful years he brought many other beneficial ideas to the role from his wider pool of outside knowledge. Respect was the word most associated with Pádraig – he generously gave it to everybody and under his leadership he expected it to be the common currency of the school.
This school has been privileged to have so many outstanding Principals of integrity who were leaders. These people who held the reins guided the school to implement their vision of school policy. And thankfully it must be stated that the school community reciprocated.

On Pádraig’s departure from Desmond College, he wrote the following article:

Memories of Sport in Desmond College
by Pádraig Flanagan

There is no more important work than teaching and there is no more important support to that work than to nurture young people’s interest in sport. In my time in Desmond College sporting dreams were actively pursued mainly because of the passion of Pat O’ Connor and the enthusiasm of Mike Nash. These two colleagues typified all that is best in Desmond College education and they laid the foundations for the great work being done by so many other teachers since.
I remember County Finals won and lost- beating Pallaskenry in a Senior County Football Final was particularly sweet! There were great soccer days in the Demense and there were glimpses of emerging Rugby talent in Cullinagh. The evolution of Ladies sports was particularly gratifying and we became competitive in Basketball, Ladies Football and Camogie. Indeed my own most enjoyable sporting memory in Desmond College was a rainy night in Martinstown, when our girls beat Ennis to win a Munster Camogie title.
Some of the best skill and the most passionate celebrations were displayed on the soccer court behind the school and on the field before it became a pitch – a reminder that participation is so much more important than success.
We participated and competed in so many sports- Table Tennis ,Squash, Chess, Golf, Equestrian and of course Athletics. Some of the most exciting sporting moments in the school were always to be had in the field as young athletes gave it their all in an effort to qualify to represent their school at the VEC sports day.
Speaking of the field, perhaps nothing better illustrates the school’s commitment to sport than the pitch development. This fine facility makes sporting participation so much easier for students and staff. It also consigns to history noble pursuits like dawdling across town to and from the GAA pitch as well as hiding in the meadows down the back.
Sport in Desmond College has always been at the very heart of holistic education in the school. High standards in the PE Department have been important too. Ultimately what matters most is a school that cares, includes and inspires. Youngsters from Knockaderry to Krakow, Carrickerry to Congo growing up, playing and learning together. Great work being done by a great school – long may it continue.

Pádraig Flanagan.

Field Development

Pitch Development Fundraising

A Field for our Dreams.
County titles, Munster titles in hurling, football, ladies football and camogie all achieved in glorious days and what glorious teams during a long history of Desmond College in sport. How proud we were when we played in the All-Ireland final in Croke Park in 1978. What great memories of securing a place in the All-Ireland semi-final the following year! Football on both occasions. Desmond College has afforded thousands of students over the years the chance to develop skills on the pitch which are transferable to real life situations. Skills like; team spirit, ability to overcome obstacles, coping with defeat or victory and determination. As a school, we endeavour to continue to empower children through education and sport. In this context, we are continuing our fundraising this year for the development of a fully functioning Sports Pitch. The Field Development Committee is holding a race night at Courtenay Lodge Hotel on the 27th of November and all the funds raised will help resurface and renovate the field behind the main campus of the school. This will benefit the future teams of Desmond College and perhaps our return to Croke Park is just around the corner! We are appealing to all the businesses of Newcastle West to assist us in securing this much needed facility for the benefit of our 450 student population and the many children that will join our student body in the coming years. Thank you for your continued support.

Mike Nash

Meadbh Nash, Mike Nash, Liz Cregan, Keith O’Rahilly, Margaret O’Mahoney and Marie Corkery working as part of the fundraising committee.

Few pictures couuld be more apt to capture the essence of Mike’s role as a teacher, among young people, and in a field which was to become a pitch – sport all the way

Pride of place today must go to MIKE NASH who played the major role as leader, spearheading the development of the new field. Here is Mike’s account of the progress.

On the 27th November, in the corridor leading to the engineering/woodwork rooms, I had a conversation with Pádraig Flanagan (Principal). We had on several occasions discussed the possibility of developing the piece of land at the rear of the school into some form of level surface playing area. He said to me that he just didn’t have the time to lead such a project and that if someone within the school would spearhead it, then we would go ahead and attempt to develop it. There and then I volunteered. I discussed the project with the members of staff as I met them over the next period of time and I received support and encouragement from all. On the final day before we got our Summer Holidays in 2007 or 2008 after a staff meeting, the staff were asked if anyone interested in helping to raise funds for the field development would remain in the room and all remained. That was indicative of the level of co-operation that existed. We set up a field committee.

We had discussed the development of the field amongst the groups of teachers involved in sport and we had got tenders for the development. Because these tenders were received in 2007/2008, the height of the boom years of the tiger economy – they were prohibitive and completely out of reach of our hopes/expectations of raising such funds.

With the bursting of the boom came a new more realistic cost and the field committee decided to go ahead with fundraising. During the following 11 months, we raised in excess of €67,000 which allowed us to put the work out for tender. We were also given assistance – voluntarily – by Liam Mullane, Teagasc adviser with Department of Agriculture from Knockaderry and two experts on sports fields’ development.

Liam Mullane

Indeed, Liam continues to this day to give support and guidance on further improvements that might be made to improve the playing surface. On a personal level, I have found Liam’s support invaluable and it is his field – and he treats it as such – as Desmond college field. When Liam and his assistant measured the area we had, it was with great joy that we learned that we had a full scale GAA field capable of hosting full scale matches. No more were we at the mercy of the weather affecting a clubs decision whether their field was playable or not. We could now decide ourselves and having the field has in retrospect allowed us to fulfil fixtures which would otherwise have gone by the board.

The development of the field was put out to tender and Adrian Hogan from Adare – an expert in developing sports fields – was appointed. During the summer of 2010 work began, and in the following months the field in its present state was laid down. The field received its seed and fertilizer in October 2010 and it had to remain unused for the following year. In 2011, we used it for the first time when it hosted a first year hurling match between Desmond College and Coláiste Mhuire Askeaton, which Desmond College won – hopefully a sign of what was to come.

When the field was developed, drains were included but at 5m apart. These have served their purpose well, but we need to have more drainage and better because we play our matches during the worst weather of the year. However, the present drainage system serves us well.
When we had our field fundraised, we thought that that was the end of seeking financial help. We continue to fundraise because we have to improve our facilities. During the year 2011/2012, we had realised a need for dressing rooms and the staff of Desmond College responded by raising the necessary funds. In the past year, 2013/2014, we have installed high nets behind the goals which were very necessary, especially at the bottom goals, as we were losing a lot of sliotars. Also, we have cemented a path leading to the dressing rooms and the area about these rooms.
We now think that we have a very good playing surface and the necessary facilities to host school matches, dressing rooms and high nets. The next item on the agenda is the further improvement of the playing surface – through drains and sanding to increase the porosity of the surface.
We are delighted to be able to accommodate the local camogie club when asked to and we wish to contribute to the sporting success of the various clubs that surround the school by providing top class facilities and competitive competitions in which the young sports people can come and hone and develop their skills to a higher level.
Mike Nash

As well as serving as the County Secretary for the VEC Sports Committee for a number of years, Mike was also Chairman of the Munster Gairmscoil GAA Board.
Mike was the pioneer for the development of girls sport in the school – camogie, ladies football, basketball and athletics. It wasn’t just a matter of putting out teams who already had the basic skills. Mike introduced collective coaching for all these sports. The school are extremely grateful that Mike, though now retired, still plays a leading role as sports organiser. For years he has done a considerable amount of work in the PR side of sport where he is fortunate that the Weekly Observer accepts many reports in detail and gives exceptional print and photo coverage of the school’s sporting achievements. Mike was instrumental in brokering a deal with a local bank that sponsors the much coveted ‘person of the match’ award after each match played.

Vourneen Gavin Barry and Sean Bourke (CEO) cutting the tape in 2014 at the official opening of the school pitch.

A Tribute to Desmond College’s Support for Sport.
by Mike Nash

During my time in the old Vocational School and into the modern era of Desmond College, sport has always played a central role in the nurturing and development of the students’ abilities and the contribution that sport can make to the overall development of the student in the physical, mental and disciplinary areas has always been recognised to be a very important facet. This idea has led to sport playing a central role in the life of the students in Desmond College. The improvements in the provision of sporting facilities supports this and it isn’t just an end in itself. There is a constant drive to develop and offer increasing opportunities to the students in all aspects of their lives in Desmond College. Recently, the very talented group of hurlers were given the opportunity to develop their skills and participate in competition – The Harty Cup – that would have been denied them in former years. The provision of Rugby coaching is another indication of the belief in the central role that sport can play in the holistic development of our young people. In the modern world, sport plays a huge part in our daily lives – its importance on TV and newspapers and radio.

This continuation of the sporting culture embedded in the genes of the old Vocational School and new in Desmond College continues to be nurtured and led by Ms. Gavin-Barry and her support of the teachers and staff in the whole School Community is very obvious and without this, leadership would falter. So, as we look back on the past 80 plus years, we think that much has been achieved, but that for the next 80, much more remains to be done. Desmond College Abú.
Mike Nash

A Message from the Principal
Vourneen Gavin-Barry

Here in Desmond College and the former Vocational School we have always prided ourselves on providing a well-rounded education for all of our students. All those involved in sport of any kind know only too well the value sport can have in educating young people. Through sport, they learn about cooperation, team spirit and loyalty, they develop physical strength but more importantly they develop inner strength. What better way to learn about the joy of success than through sport and what better way to develop the resilience needed to pick yourself up when things go badly wrong. Our pitch is a very precious facility in Desmond and one which has enabled us to provide this life lesson to our students and helps us in providing the all rounded education we hold so dear.
Our field development has been a long term investment by our whole school. Through staff, Parents Association and the former VEC we have developed from a field to a pitch. While we didn’t quite nurture it from barren rock to fertile field like the Bull McCabe, we have worked hard and put endless hours into fundraising and developing. And we are not yet finished. We have plans and even more plans!
Like all good projects our field development has a strong leader, one who has shared his vision with us time and time again and who has worked tirelessly to develop the dream. I am of course referring to Mike Nash. Desmond College would not have this wonderful facility without Mike. Our students would not have the luxury of a pitch beside their school without Mike. We are grateful to him and indeed generations of young students from Desmond College will be grateful to him too. We look forward to our sporting future and all the joy and success that it brings!
Bímis go léir ag obair le chéile
Vourneen Gavin Barry

Closing Reflection
by Pat O’ Connor

It could be argued that being good at sport has many advantages; it is no load at school or in life and it gains the odd privilege. In the near future, deservedly, the Department of Education and Science may yet recognise the benefits of sport to the individual and society and rightfully award CAO points for it in their Leaving Certificate programme. Thus, there is no doubt when this happens, that Desmond College is fit and ready to showcase both its sporting and academic prowess. Remember ‘the healthy mind in a healthy body’ – sport is so important and, as mirrored in life, there are points to be scored, goals to be achieved, battles to be fought, victories to be won and joyful celebrations to be cherished.

Every new school year has a new dawn. Let each future school year be marked as SPECIAL. Every year there is a sense of exhilarating buzz, freshness, eagerness and expectation by young students when they begin secondary school in Desmond College. Similarly the teachers hope that the new crop will bring academic brilliance and talent for sporting success to reflect positively on their school.

There is no doubt that the new field – with its modern draining system – will play its role in furthering the training of more young sports people which hopefully will encourage a more healthy lifestyle and help to counter and avoid ‘The Passive Way’. With this field, in conjunction with the spacious gym, we are well set up for winter sports now. In terms of our school sports facilities – we make improvements every year step-by-step in the hope that it will be better than last year. The past few years are a shining example of what can be achieved when we abide by the truth and the truth is ‘Ní neart go cur le chéile’- there is no strength without unity. May this upward spiral of progress continue with investment in structures and support systems.

We should be proud of the new field, built by the school community. It was achieved with a common purpose to make our school a better place so that our students will be better sportspeople. This will give them the opportunity to develop their God-given talents. May they surpass the achievements of the past and as the All Blacks rugby team’s mantra goes “Leave the jersey in a better place”.

Were the ideals and aspirations of the Vocational Education Act 1930 fulfilled in Newcastle West? Draw your own conclusions and add your own embellished recollections. The ‘brief nature of this publication does not do justice to all the other achievements which would further compliment the work of County Limerick VEC, the staff and students of this part of West Limerick.
It is hoped that this chronicle has revived some treasured memories. Finally we salute the students who came to school here, those who worked – go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir. For those atá faoin gcré go leagadh an bhfód eatrom ar a gcoirp agus solas Dé libh and may their spirit inspire future generations.
This publication is dedicated to everyone who has passed through the Vocational School, Gaelcholáiste and Desmond College.
Pat O’ Connor