Scoil Uí Chonaill surging forward
FOUNDED in 1950 by Rev Brother Scully in order to maintain links with past pupils of O'Connell's Schools, Scoil Uí Chonaill has grown to become one of the most established clubs in north Dublin.
Despite its base in Clontarf, which boasts excellent playing facilities, the club continues to be the one of choice for many inner city children who wish to embark on a career in the GAA.
The past year has been particularly productive. The intermediate footballers surprised many by reaching the latter stages of the championship with an impressive, free-flowing style of football.
History was made by the U14 ladies team, who recently captured the club’s first ever Féile county title, an event which was also hosted by Scoil Uí Chonaill.
A big effort has been made to reestablish hurling in the club, something that has suffered slightly in the past at juvenile level, and the results have been very positive.
Club Games Promotion Officer Joanne Courtney feels that they are moving in the right direction and is full of praise for the work done by countless volunteers and teachers.
“We have around 80 children in the nursery and it is growing consistently,” she said.
“But the big thing with that is the need for mentors and, to be fair, the response has been great and loads have come on board. We recently ran a foundation coaching course, which proved a big success.
“We had 17 new coaches awarded their foundation level, and that is brilliant for one year.”
Given that clubs such as Raheny, Naomh Barróg and Clontarf not too far away, the competition for players is fierce. Scoil coaches are based in schools from the inner city, so is it difficult to attract them?
“There are five schools we concentrate on and they are providing the majority of our players,” Joanne explained.
“Because the schools are based in the city, it takes huge commitment from parents and teachers to get them to training.
“There are car loads brought out to us every night for training and it’s great to see.
“We have a system which works, but it can't be emphasised enough how good the people are who help to bring them out.”
Going forward, the Monaghan native hopes to see steady development, but also emphasised that there is a big drive in boosting the girls’ side of things.
“We just want to maintain our numbers and keep developing players. We want to get more girls involved as well.
“Our facilities mean we can cater for a huge amount of players.”
Scoil Uí Chonaill will be hosting two camps over the coming months. The VHI sponsored Cúl Camp will run from the 11-15 July. The club camp will take place in August, from the 15-19.
Both camps will cater for children between the ages of four and 12 and all are welcome.