Thomastown top of the class as teachers and students unite to win county final

Thomastown top of the class as teachers and students unite to win county final
Ms. McDonald, Ms. Carey, and Ms. Reddy; and Ruth Ryan, Sadhbh Croke O'Neill, Clíodhna Donnelly, Brí O'Donoghue & Sarah Barcoe after winning the Kilkenny County Final. Photo Presentation Secondary School, Kilkenny via Twitter

James O'Connor

Thomastown ladies brought chemistry from the classroom to the pitch as three teachers and five students featured in their County Final in Kilkenny on Sunday.

Thomastown defeated Kilkenny City in an exhilarating 7-12 to 4-10 county decider, but the evening was particularly special for Presentation Secondary School, with students Ruth Ryan, Sadhbh Croke O’Neill, Cliodhna Donnelly, Bri O’Donoghue and Sarah Barcoe lifting the trophy alongside teachers Ms. McDonald, Ms. Carey, and Ms. Reddy.

While this might seem strange, it’s the norm according to Presentation Secondary School teacher Lisa Carey:

“We’re used to it as teachers. There’s three of us on the team but we all know the students so well that it’s very ordinary.

“The dynamic is obviously different on the pitch to in the workplace. On the pitch and in training we all have huge respect for each other’s ability and anything off the pitch is forgotten.

“In the workplace, it is obviously different because of the student/teacher relationship but we all get along really well and there’s a great bond.

“Strangely there was a lot of past and present pupils on the Kilkenny City team as well so it was all very familiar. The important thing is that it’s great to see football in Kilkenny do well because sometimes in Kilkenny it doesn’t get much attention.”

Brendan Cooke, manager of the Thomastown side, believes the fact that they are are all so familiar with each other works in his sides favour, saying,

“I can honestly say that on the pitch you wouldn’t have a clue that some players are teaching other players. I actually think the senior players are in awe of our youngsters. There’s no tension between them at all because we’re so used to it.

The chances are the adults in the team would know the parents more than the players just because of how young the squad is, but with football the important thing is to have enough players, which is a struggle at times.

“We only have seven players over 18, and five players under 16 believe it or not. But our young players play as if they are seasoned pro’s, they’re very experienced for their age, you’d have no idea they were as young as they are.

“We were beaten in the final the last two years so to win was incredible. We won well and to be honest the scoreline didn’t do us justice, it was pure domination.”

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