For the first time in quite some time CBS students gathered for a whole school assembly this week, and fittingly, it was to mark a historic first for the area and for the school.
On Saturday Ballygiblin will take part in the All-Ireland Junior hurling final in Croke Park against Kilkenny’s Mooncoin. This is a first for the club and brings to a culmination a tremendous year which has seen them annex the Cork County title for the first time, and the Munster title in that memorable final against friends and near neighbours Skeheenarinky recently.
It is also a memorable first for the school, the first time we will see a team comprising completely of current and past pupils of the school compete in an All-Ireland GAA final at adult level. All involved have distinguished themselves in CBS colours on the field of play and it was fitting that they wore the CBS jerseys in the County final when a clash of colours brought the need to change. Indeed, those same jerseys, sponsored by Kevin Moloney and Colours Paintstore, have been very lucky jerseys for the CBS and were worn for one of the school’s finest sporting achievements, winning the All-Ireland football final in 2016. That team featured several players wearing Ballygiblin colours on Saturday, including Colin English (captain), Sean O’Sullivan, Cahal O’Sullivan, Mark Keane and Shane Doyle. The Munster senior B hurling title win of 2018 ranks as another of the school’s proudest sporting moments and included Ballygiblin players Mark Keane, Jack Lewis, Jody Finn, Cian O’Brien and Darragh Flynn.
A huge welcome was extended to past pupils Fionn Herlihy, Brian O’Gorman, Chris Noonan and Sean O’Sullivan, along with current students Ryan Donegan, Dillon Sheehan and Sean O’Doherty, all members of the Ballygiblin panel which will take to the famous sod in Croke Park on Saturday. Mary Hannon (Principal), speaking on behalf of staff and students, congratulated the team on their fantastic achievements to date and wished them every success on Saturday. Fionn Herlihy (Ballygiblin captain), replying on behalf of the team, thanked the school for the great welcome and for the work that the school has done with each of the players in their time here. He spoke about how great a journey they have been on and looked forward to giving of their best in the final.
The blend of young and very recent additions to the Ballygiblin panel with the more established and experienced players has proved thus far to be a winning one. In their time in CBS each will have had one contact in common; Mr. Duggan. Willie Duggan has been teaching in CBS with many a year and is synonymous with GAA in the region. In speaking of his long association with coaching Willie referred to the great contributions of Diarmuid Lynch and Dave Moher to the Ballygilbin cause, the former still as a player and the latter now in the management team. Noting that a lot of work happens behind the scenes he spoke of the gratitude of all at CBS for Skeheenarinky Chairman Tom Maher and his Ballygiblin counterpart Liam O’Doherty, each of whom spoke so appreciatively prior to the Munster final of the contribution made by Mitchelstown CBS to their clubs.
Mr. Duggan, the cornerstone of GAA in the school, made the following statement: “On behalf of the staff and players of CBS Mitchelstown, I would like to wish Ballygiblin the very best of luck in Saturday’s All Ireland final. All the players on the Ballygiblin team are either past or present pupils of the CBS. As a school we are very proud of the achievements of the Ballygiblin team. There is a great bond between Ballygiblin GAA and the CBS. The Ballygiblin boys are always, and have always been, very committed, very loyal, and extremely dedicated to the cause of Gaelic games in CBS Mitchelstown. We wish them well on Saturday. Ballygiblin Abú!”
Following from these words, as a school community, the CBS indeed wishes every success to the Ballygiblin team and management as they seek to add the All-Ireland title to their tremendous achievements this year. At the prompting of Fionn Herlihy, there is even a promise that in the event of a Ballygiblin win, Monday will be a no-homework day for students in the school!