Sport in St. Michael’s College Junior School
St. Michael’s has a proud sporting tradition since its inception in 1944. The primary sport played in both the Junior and Senior school is rugby. St. Michael’s recognises that the PE curriculum and Sport provides unique learning opportunities for children through the medium of movement and contributes to their overall development by helping them to lead full, active and healthy lives. We aspire to developing an understanding of the importance of enjoying Physical activity and the importance of play in its many forms in the learning and developmental process. We strive to ensure maximum participation by all children in the physical activity lesson while simultaneously achieving a balance between competitive and non-competitive activities. We are very grateful for the support and assistance from our entire coaching staff in their respective sports. We also rely on and appreciate the support from the parents who juggle already hectic timetables to assist in transport or supervision of the boys throughout the year.
We share our sports facilities with the Senior School. We have a large hall for indoor PE classes. We also have a swimming pool on site in addition to rugby pitches, four tennis courts, an astro pitch and tog out areas.
PE and Swimming
Every class has PE once a week for forty minutes with Mr. Stephens, the PE teacher. All strands of the PE curriculum are covered in the curriculum during the course of each year, including games, athletics, dance, outdoor activities, aquatics and gymnastics. Students are introduced to a wide variety of sports in the games strand of the curriculum. These activities include Gaelic football & hurling, soccer, basketball, Uni-hoc, tennis, Olympic handball, rounders and table tennis.
Every class from First Form to Sixth also has a swimming class once a week in our pool which is located in the Senior school. The pool also acts as the initial training ground for our school swim teams who have in recent years won medals at Leinster and All-Ireland levels. This year we continued our success by retaining the U10 Leinster Medley and Freestyle team relays title. The school also provides competitive opportunities for swimmers via numerous interschools Galas throughout the year and through the Leinster “B” Gala. View Gallery
Rugby plays an integral role in the life of St. Michael’s College. The Junior School teams have impressed many onlookers with the high skill-set exhibited by such young players. The high standards of performance and high participation rates throughout the classes are attributed to the coaching pathway and structure which allow all students the opportunity to experience the game of rugby during their time in St. Michaels. The school also benefits from its excellent relationship with its feeder rugby clubs such as Old Belvedere, Lansdowne, Wanderer’s and Bective Rangers RFC’s. Collaboration between schools coaches and club coaches who work with the same students on Sunday mornings at club level has greatly improved the quality of training which each student receives.
Rugby coaching starts for students in First Form and continues throughout their years until Sixth Form. First and Second Form students attend rugby sessions after school once per week. Third to Sixth form students have training twice a week after school and also play friendly games against other schools on Saturday mornings 9-11am.
Rugby coaching is coordinated by the Junior School Games Master, Mr. Stephens, who selects the coaching team for each age group at the start of each academic year. All St. Michael’s coaches must undertake an IRFU coaching and refereeing course, IRFU Code of Ethics as well as a first aid coaching course before commencing working with the students.
The interest in rugby in the Junior School is further strengthened by the provision of opportunities to attend and support the St. Michaels SCT and JCT games involving the senior school. Students from 3rd to 6th Form are brought to these games in Donnybrook with their classmates, under the supervision of the class teachers. This improves the school spirit and provides the students with opportunities to feel a sense of belonging to a wider school community. Many of the Junior School boys go on to represent the senior school in these two prestigious competitions.
The highlights of the rugby calendar is the annual U12 Rugby trip for students in Sixth Form. This is a hugely enjoyable trip in a less formal but safe learning environment held over the course of a weekend. The students depart from school grounds early on a predetermined Friday morning and are supervised by teachers and a number of rugby coaches for the weekend. This trip involves a minimum of two touring games against local school or club sides. On arrival the students play the first of their touring games. The final game is played the following morning against another local school or club side before embarking on the return trip to St. Michaels. The weekend is a thoroughly enjoyable one for both students and staff alike.
Other highlights include the annual U11-U12 fixture versus the Cardiff schools, a touring side comprised of the best players selected from all schools plying rugby in the Cardiff area. There are also a number of rugby blitzes for different age groups hosted in various schools annually including the famous U11 blitz where all players experience games against club teams and school teams alike from all over Ireland.
The rugby season is brought to a successful conclusion each year with our in-house Rugby festival which is held on the penultimate weekend of the season. The students are divided up into teams at their own age group and play a number of games over the course of a Saturday morning. It is an enjoyable way for the students to end their rugby season by playing against their class mates. View Gallery
Every morning there is Tip Rugby in the school with Mr. Stephens from 8.15 a.m. to 8.45 a.m. Third and Fifth Forms attend Tip Rugby on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fourth and Sixth Forms attend Tip Rugby on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Tip Rugby is brilliant for improving ball handling skills, co-ordination skills, co-operation and self-confidence in playing the sport. The provision of tip rugby in the mornings means that students attending St. Michael’s will have a rugby ball in hand five out of seven days in any given week exclusive of any additional club rugby that they may play. This is a vital ingredient to ensure that young players develop to their maximum playing potential.
While rugby plays takes precedence in the school sports calendar, the school caters for a wide variety of sports. We, in the school, feel that all sports complement each other and very much contribute to the holistic development of the child.
Gaelic Football & Hurling
St. Michaels enter the Cumann na mBunscol Gaelic football and hurling competitions in both the senior and junior levels. Mr. Monaghan coaches the senior team while Mr. Ruane takes charge of the junior team. Clan na Gael GAA Club Coach, Jonny Sadlier also completes coaching blocks in both football and hurling with pre-determined classes throughout the year. St. Michael’s GAA teams are complimented on numerous occasions for both the fine individual talent on display and also their team work throughout the competitions. A number of the teachers in the school train the students for hurling and Gaelic football after school. Those teachers then look after the teams in the competitions, where we play against other schools in South Dublin. It is hoped that the foundations have been laid in recent years for a campaign which may lead the boys to playing in Croke Park at the Cumann na mBunscol finals. View Gallery
The soccer season gets underway as soon as the rugby season concluded. Students from each class receive the same number of coaching hours per week as during rugby season. In recent years the Junior School have been fortunate enough to avail of the services of 1st team members of the UCD soccer team as coaches. These players are experienced with working with the 7-12 yr age group and the format of their sessions encouraged maximum fun and participation from all ages. Each boy is exposed to an array of soccer skills through drills, mini games and full 11-a-side games. U12 panels (6th Form) also participate in the St.Conleth’s 5 a-side annual competition on the astro-pitch in Herbert Park, Donnybrook.
This proved a very enjoyable venture for both sides and the skills and high playing levels of the boys already involved in soccer clubs were apparent to all. We look forward to continuing and strengthening this link with the UCD Soccer Scholarship programme.
The soccer season culminates in a series of challenges versus local schools. The annual St. Michaels in-house soccer festival in April is greatly enjoyed by all.
5th and 6th form boys have the opportunity to attend Basketball sessions on Wednesdays throughout the year. St. Michael’s have competed in the U12 Mini Basketball tournaments in the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght. This is a well run tournament which provides an opportunity for the selected boys to compete and play in such an arena.
Athletics and Cross Country
St. Michaels participate in a series of cross country runs each year. These are arranged in different AIJS venues throughout year. All boys who attend benefit greatly from their experience of the discipline and responsibility that comes with individual sports as opposed to team sports.
Tennis is also available after school with our external tennis professional, Mr. Dave Cooney. Last year we entered a team in both the Leinster A and B competitions. Teams are selected as a result of internal tennis leagues held earlier on in the year after school. A number of our present and past pupils are currently ranked among the top players in Leinster for their age group. Some have been fortunate enough to represent Ireland in international competitions. St. Michael’s Junior School won the Leinster A tennis competition most recently in 2009.
Hockey training is run each Tuesday throughout the rugby season. All boys who attend receive dedicated coaching from Miss Hanley. She imparts skills to the boys based on her own extensive knowledge of the game from her own playing days. Friendly games are organised to round off the hockey season.
In recent years St .Michael’s continues to develop its relationship with Golf Ireland and the Castle Golf Club in particular. A programme was put in place to prepare the boys in both 5th and 6th form to compete in the annual schools golfing competition sponsored by Hillary Hayden & Associates and hosted by the Castle Golf Club, Milltown. Preparation starts in September with organised lessons conducted in the driving range at Leopardstown golf course over 6 weeks. The boys are encouraged to get out in 2 or 3 balls at weekends during the year to improve their game. For the last 3 years we were delighted to invite UCD Golf scholarship student, Daniel Holland a past-pupil himself of the junior school to run our onsite golfing sessions. Daniel takes all interested players for tuition on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays on site in St. Michael’s from 3-4pm for the remainder of the year.
Internal competitions are then run off in Leopardstown Course over the back nine or front nine on alternate days. The team of 4 selected to represent the school in the competition and the team of 3 for the skills competition are identified through a series of tightly contested internal golf competitions.