herald

Monday 15 October 2018

Ex-pupil bids for United break as Pobalscoil prove their class

Name of School: Pobalscoil Neasáin, Baldoyle, Dublin 13

Founded: 1981

Number of Pupils: 580

Sports Played: Gaelic football, hurling, soccer, basketball, athletics, rugby, archery, sailingPobalscoil Neasáin encourages its students to participate in extra curricular activities to help develop social and cultural skills as well as adding an enjoyable element to school life. It also promotes its students, who come from all walks of life, to play as a team for both the school and the community.

Soccer, with founder member Paul O'Driscoll still at the helm 27 years later alongside Ger Farragher, has been hugely popular among the students.

They won Dublin titles at U14 in 1992 before tasting back-to-back Dublin victories at U18 in the 1995/96 season before the U18 soccer teams walked away with both Dublin and Leinster honours in 2005 and 2008.

Student Eoin Fowler is currently on the Leinster Schoolboys team and is having trials with the Irish Schoolboys panel, while hopes are high that past pupil Robert Brady, currently playing reserve team football for Manchester United, will make the breakthrough into the senior squad at Old Trafford.

Another keen footballer at the school was Nicky Byrne, but he hung up his goalkeeping gloves for Westlife before marrying Georgina Ahern, the celebrity couple originally met while sporting the Pobalscoil Neasáin uniform.

Futsal blitz competitions have been running in the school for the past three years with schools from the Fingal area competing, the Baldoyle school's U16 boys' team triumphed in 2007.

Gaelic football and hurling mentor is former Dublin half-back Dermot Harrington, who described Brady as "an excellent GAA player", with the corner-forward hugely influential in Neasáin's winning the U14 football Dublin title in 2003 before he joined the Red Devils.

On the hurling front, success came in 1985 at U14 level and last year student Hugh McGirr made his debut for the Dublin minor hurling team against Laois -- the midfielder is also on the Dublin minor football panel.

Harrington and principal Pat McKenna, a highly successful basketball head coach with Naomh Mhuire throughout the 1980s and 1990s, has seen a revival of basketball over recent years to good success, particularly among the girls' teams.

Despite being widely outnumbered by male students at the Warren House Road school, Neasáin's girls basketball team captured the D league title two years ago and were narrowly defeated in last year's final.

Second-year student Jack Rogers was a member of the Killester Kubs U14 basketball team that won the All-Ireland U14 Club Championship last year and with another trophy, the D league blitz tournament, already captured this year, the future looks bright.

Meanwhile, early in September, students and teachers alike got a surprise visit when ex-pupil Ross Galvin, with the Heineken Cup in tow, came to the school as part of the tour of Leinster to the delight of everyone.

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