Active Schools Week 2016 Report

The 2016 Active Schools Week will long be remembered in Glenstal for all the right reasons! The Active School Committee composed of many staff and students set out to achieve a bigger and better event this year and left no stone unturned in attempting to do so. The week began with an assembly driven in two directions; 1) to get as many students and staff engaged in activity in any way possible and 2) donate funds to a very worthy cause – PIETA house. Thankfully, the weather forecast was good and held all week to provide the perfect conditions for all sorts of activities.

All week, the 1st year students wore pedometers and these tracked the amount of steps they took over the course of a day. Sigma emerged with the highest average of 6,068 steps although there were some suspiciously high step counts in that group! It is recommended to get as close to 10,000 steps as possible, as this will mean you have walked 5 miles in one day. During the school day, after testing all 1st years and staff, the overall combined average was 5,607 steps which was a decrease on last year’s combined average of 5,959 – so get the runners on when you get home!

Every lunch time had an event scheduled which meant, after a quick feed, the students and staff were scampering to an event quickly. Luckily in Glenstal, the fun and activity didn’t stop when the school day was over either, it only began!

On Monday, the students attempted to bowl out our Australian volunteer students, Jack Gray and Ben Williams, on the school terrace in cricket. There was little success with only Henry Farrell (2nd year, twice) and Cian O’Farrell (2nd year) succeeding. Jack and Ben’s batting skills combined with some suspect throwing being the critical factors in this limited success. Monday evening activities included a Junior, Inter and Senior competition in Crossbar Challenge, Drop Goals, Puc Fada (long puck) and Cic Fada (long kick). This drew a great crowd to the pitches where the following students emerged victorious.
Crossbar                               Drop Goal                            Puc Fada                              Cic Fada
                  Adam O’Reilly                     James Shields                       Angus MacDonald              Tim Murphy
Inter                       Jake Ryan                             Jack Collins                          Mark Fleming                       Michael Gilbride
Senior                                                                                                                    Declan Kinahan                   Declan Kinahan

Tuesday’s lunch time provided students and staff an opportunity to take a penalty on Mr. Adam Newman. Mr. Adam Newman plays in goals for recent league winners Murroe A.F.C and so the challenge was formidable. After 70 penalties were taken, only 24 made it to the net. There was a large crowd of staff and students in the sports hall which made for a great atmosphere. After school, it was to the pitches again where the 1st years played out the final of their hotly contested soccer tournament while a variety of students from 1st to 6th year played American Football in an exciting encounter. In the soccer, Arsenal won the final defeating Tottenham Hotspur on a score line of 3 goals to 1. This event saw Patrick Johnson captaining his side to victory while simultaneously attaining the golden boot award for scoring a total of 7 goals. The player of the tournament, after a stellar display in the final in particular, was awarded to Hugh Lawler who collected his award to the chant of ‘Lawler! Lawler! Lawler!’.

On Wednesday afternoon, the staff and students congregated once more in the sports hall where they contested some volleyball games. First, the 6th years took on the staff cohort with the staff winning the set; 21 – 19. Then the 5th years proved too strong for the staff team when they won; 21 – 17. The final game was played in good spirit with a mixture of staff and students on both sides. Then it was down to more serious testosterone based business when the students attempted to out-lift one another in the inaugural ‘Glenstal Bench Press and Deadlift’ competition. The pre-competition weigh-in provided some great drama when students attempted to ditch those final pounds which would give many on television show ‘Operation Transformation’ a run for their money. Some incredible feats of strength were demonstrated following the weigh-in and the following students were crowned winners in the weight categories listed.
60 kg – 70 kg        70 kg – 80 kg        80 kg +
Bench Press                     Gordon Daly            Sam Warren            Luke Lynch
Seán Hammond     David Quane           Edmond Aylward
Deadlift                              Gordon Daly            Sam Warren            Charles Gavin
Luke Ryan               Jack Stafford           Zac Thompson
Thursday’s lunch time provided one of the week’s highlights with a surprise event scheduled – sumo wrestling! There were many rumours as to what the event might be and some had figured it out when they began to see the setup take place. Titanic battles between various students took place with a roaring crowd present. The 1st year match up saw Patrick Johnson take on Charlie McCartan. In 2nd year, Donagh Hyland squared off against Max Downing. In 3rd year, Denny Moriarty battled with Mike Twomey before Harry Boland took on Matthew Roche in the 4th year battle. The might of Westport, Edmond Aylward, faced the might of Old Pallas in the shape of Sam McCormack before a number of 6th year duels took place. Felix Strachwitz tussled with Jack Stafford, David Quane opposed Theo Broderick, Patrick Hayes and Shane Griffin went toe-to-toe for 3 rounds and Diarmuid Glavey faced Harry Williams in the final bout. The colosseum like crowd were hankering for a battle of their choice and in unified voice yelled ‘Sheedy versus Cuthbert’ but they would be left disappointed which, as you can imagine, was the best outcome there!

The energy levels were up and the excitement had reached its apex by the time 4 o’clock came at the pitches. A very organised 6th year cohort were ready to take on the staff in the annual soccer game. Officiating the game was Mr. Tony Breen with the help of his linesmen, Nicholas Cunningham-Ash and Joe Gilbride. The officials must be complemented with how they handled such a high profile event. In the 1st half, it was the students giving the teachers a lesson with some good play. They kept possession very well, played the ball around before launching pacey attacks at a floundering staff defence. An early injury blow to Mr. Brendan O’Keeffe didn’t help matters and worst fears were soon realised when the students scored their first goal. Shane Griffin was fouled on his approach to goal and a penalty was awarded which Shane tucked away himself.

The fine play continued and the staff were under severe pressure with the 6th years dominating proceedings. Instrumental in many of the students’ attacks were Gordon Daly, Henry Tennyson and Theo Broderick while Paddy Molony, Ross Berkery and company kept it simple at the back. Shane Griffin was again causing the staff defence issues. Shane picked up a ball about 40 yards from goal and after making a quick advance towards goal, he stepped inside to his favoured left leg and rifled a shot to the top left corner. The staff composed themselves to get to the half time break with conceding another and at half time, captain Mr. Seán Skehan attempted to reassure his team mates and ‘steady the ship’.

The 2nd half saw the staff team growing more and more into the game. The staff missed a couple of early chances to begin a comeback before Mr. Aidan McNulty was fouled in penalty box. He converted from the penalty spot to give a glimmer of hope for the staff side. A tight finish to the game made for a tense but exciting atmosphere and the crowd were electric. In the final 5 minutes of the game, a breaking ball behind the defence enabled Mr. Thomas Franklin to drive it into the net by the near post from a tight angle to level the teams. The final minutes were played out and when the final whistle went, only penalties could determine a winner.

After 5 penalties each, both teams had scored 3, and after 3 rounds of sudden death penalties, the staff were crowned the victors. All of the staff wish to commend the excellent sporting nature with which the 6th year men played the game and also applaud their excellent skills. The staff would unanimously say that the 6th years were actually a better side but perhaps a little bit of experience was the key difference in the end! As if the week couldn’t get much better, that evening the whole school enjoyed a well earned ice-cream for snack to cool us all off after a full day of activities.

The final day of Active Schools Week 2016 was upon us and despite a very successful week, there were still lots of activities on the final day. The lunch time event, tug of war, between class groups was highly competitive and entertaining. This took place on the front lawns of the school and the strongest men in each group took the rope to represent their class. These battles will be repeated on sports day where the final bragging rights will be earned. After the final 2 classes, various members of the school gathered at the cannon for the 1 mile walk to the back gate. Upon returning, the activities commenced once more on the pitches. A 4 man rugby passing relay race between 1st and 2nd years took place with Seamus Kerrisk finishing the race to earn victory for the Beta class. The final event was Water Polo, but not in the traditional sense. Each team had a cylindrical pipe (with holes drilled in it!) and a tennis ball at the bottom of the pipe. They each had a bucket and a trough of water to work from. The first team to attain their tennis ball would win. The event was a spectacular laugh for the boys and between poor pouring techniques and a general desire to soak one another, no team could get the tennis ball to the top. Just when it seemed we would have a winner, a disaster would occur! The music and fun continued before the 5.40 pm study time loomed.

Active Schools Week drew to a close and it was time to prepare for the awards on Saturday morning. In addition to those awards already mentioned, it was time for us to decide on who were the best Junior, Inter and Senior participants. These trophies were given to those who attended and participated in the most events all week. The award winners are shown below and great praise must be offered to these great leaders of activity in our school!
Junior                                   Inter                                       Senior

Best Participant             Joe Gilbride                              Conor Kennedy                       Theo Broderick
There was good news and bad news when the school learned that they had received the Active Schools Flag after all their efforts over the past 2 years. The Department of Education and Skills award the flag to schools who ‘strive to achieve a physically educated & physically active school community’ which we can proudly say we do. The disappointing factor was that the first flag was lost in the post and the second flag didn’t make it by the end of school on Friday. The festivities are now over for the large part with only Sports Day to come, after which, it will be down to serious business on the academic front. Best of luck to all the students sitting the exams! Until Active Schools Week 2017 – over and out!

Thomas Franklin
ASW Coordinator

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