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Croke Park glory again!

Holy Family National School made history on Tuesday 22nd October 2019 when our boys team won our second ever Corn O’Donnchu title. Unlike the 2018 final which was a rollercoaster of emotions for all involved, there was little doubt from early in the second half that the trophy would be returning to Holy Family.

We led by 4-5 to 1-4 at half time. Admittedly, it was a comprehensive lead but anyone present in Croke Park would acknowledge that the score line flattered us. Sruleen were very unlucky, hitting the upright twice as well as missing goal chances they might have scored on another day. After a cagey opening ten minutes, the teams were tied at 0-1 each but once Elliott Hunt pounced for his first goal, our boys never looked back. It wasn’t long before Elliott had the ball in the net again while a rocket of a goal from Conor Maher was sandwiched in between two fine long range points from Ben Noone. Armandas popped up from wing back for his first point of the year shortly before half time and Richard Donnelly put the icing on the cake with a well-finished goal to leave us with a commanding lead at the interval.

A few quick goals can change everything but with Cole in flying form between the sticks and a very determined defensive unit led by Aaron McCusker, Kalem Mearns and Conor Andrews, we never looked like letting Sruleen back into the game. It was a lovely feeling to watch on as the boys displayed a whole host of skills during the second half. Following on from the 0-2 he kicked in the first half, Jake Tansey continued his impressive shooting into the Davin Stand, finishing with a personal tally of 1-5. Conor Quinn, our brilliant captain, didn’t score on the day but was involved in everything good we did. Ben Noone and Bobby Russell were two of our hardest working players on the day while Richard ‘goals’ Donnelly finished the campaign with a bizarre tally of nine goals and zero points! All 30 boys who togged out got to play and the biggest compliment we can pay our subs is that the team performance didn’t diminish one bit when they were introduced. Two of the aforementioned subs even managed to hit the net! Cillian Birchall bravely got a flick to a high ball and James Reilly hit a stunning effort from the right wing into the bottom left corner. This goal was the final sore of the game and left us winners on a score line of 8-9 to 3-5. When the final whistle went, the boys were absolutely delighted and celebrated wholeheartedly on the hallowed turf! To play in Croke Park is a fantastic experience, to win is a bonus. After the game, Conor Quinn helped present the gallant Sruleen team with their medals, which was a nice idea as they played the game in the true spirit. He then accepted the Corn O’Donnchu Cup in front of all our fantastic supporters in the Cusack Stand before chaos ensued! A guard of honour awaited us when we arrived back to the school as all staff and students lined the path from Forest Hills to the senior yard. No doubt it is a day the boys will remember for years and years to come.

Holy Family team: Cole Byas; Rhys Mullen, Kalem Mearns, Aaron McCusker; Armandas Turauskas (0-1), Conor Andrews, David Dignam; Conor Quinn, Ben Noone (0-2); Conor Maher (1-0), Jake Tansey (1-5), Bobby Russell (0-1); Elliott Hunt (2-0), Richard Donnelly (2-0), Joe Maloney. Subs: Joshua Bethge, Cian Byrne, Jamie Haugh, Alex Doyle, Cayden Derwin, James Reilly (1-0), Eoghan Maye, Ben Woods, Fionn Bailey, Cillian Birchall (1-0), Darragh Boylan, Dmitri Psenkov, Seán McCaughey, Lucas Vickers, Noah Delaney.

Semi Final

Our semi-final took place on Friday 11th October in Lucan Sarsfields GAA. The opposition was Griffeen Valley Educate Together. We made three changes to the team from the quarter final with Armandas Turauskas, David Dignam and Joe Maloney coming in. After a slow start in the quarter final, we were keen to get up and running as quickly as possible. Thankfully, this is exactly what happened as our first two scores of the game were goals from Ben Noone and Richard Donnelly. Overall, the first half performance was excellent. Conor Quinn was immense in midfield. His array of skills left those in attendance in awe. He was at the heart of everything positive we did. He was ably assisted by Ben Noone in midfield who is really leading by example this year. Bobby Russell won a huge amount of possession and never wasted a ball while David Dignam also impressed at wing back. We led by 4-7 to 2-2 at half-time. An eleven point lead sounds comfortable but it was far from. We were fortunate with a few goals while luck wasn’t on Griffeen Valley’s side. However, our boys weren’t resting on their laurels and further second half goals from Elliott and Conor gave us an unattainable lead for the opposition to reign in despite playing gallantly to the final whistle. The final score read: Holy Family 6-8 Griffeen Valley 4-5. Goalkeeper, Cole Byas, dealt brilliantly with a number of tricky balls in the second half while all our starting defence and those who came on battled bravely to protect the goal. When the final whistle went, there were jubilant scenes as everyone now knew that Holy Family had booked their place in Croke Park for the second year in a row!

Holy Family team: Cole Byas; Rhys Mullen, Kalem Mearns, Aaron McCusker; Armandas Turauskas, Conor Andrews, David Dignam; Conor Quinn (1-3), Ben Noone (1-1); Conor Maher, Jake Tansey (1-1), Bobby Russell; Elliott Hunt (1-1), Richard Donnelly (2-0), Joe Maloney (0-1). Subs: Cian Byrne (0-1), Fionn Bailey, Jamie Haugh, Alex Doyle, Noah Delaney, Darragh Boylan, Michael Connors, Dmitri Psenkov, Joshua Bethge, Ben Woods and Daniel Afolabi.


Quarter Final

Our boys’ team recorded a very hard earned win over St Thomas’ SNS, Jobstown in the quarter final of the Corn O’Donnchu. The game was played on the Astro turf beside their school. The surface wasn’t ideal for Gaelic football but because of the inclement weather, it was hard to find a pitch playable. The boys struggled to hold their footing throughout and we were lucky that we avoided any serious injuries. Playing into an extremely strong wind in the first half, it was hard to get any momentum going. At half-time, we trailed 1-2 to 0-4 but were happy enough in the knowledge we had the wind with us in the second half. Conor Quinn accounted for three of our first half points while Jake Tansey kicked the other. The second half followed much the same pattern as the first. We had plenty of possession but couldn’t score! Joe Maloney got us off the mark when he half-volleyed a point after his initial effort had come back off the crossbar. Ben Noone then put us ahead with a great point before Richard Donnelly sent a rocket to the net and we could all breathe a huge sigh of relief! The game wasn’t over but a further point by the excellent Conor Andrews as well as dogged defence from Kalem Mearns, Rhys Mullen, Aaron McCusker and Armandas Turauskas saw us secure a place in the semi-final on a final score line of 1-7 to 1-3.

Holy Family team: Cole Byas; Rhys Mullen, Kalem Mearns, Aaron McCusker; Ben Woods, Conor Andrews (0-1), Cian Byrne; Conor Quinn (0-3), Ben Noone (0-1); Seán McCaughey, Bobby Russell, Richard Donnelly (1-0); Elliott Hunt, Jake Tansey (0-1), Conor Maher. Subs: Joe Maloney (0-1), Armandas Turauskas, Fionn Bailey, Alex Doyle, Darragh Boylan, Noah Delaney, Daniel Afolabi, Jamie Haugh, Fionn Farrelly and David Dignam.


Team v. Adamstown

Our second game was against St John the Evangelist NS, Adamstown. Like in our first game, we played really well in the opening half. Elliott Hunt repeated the trick and bagged himself a brace of goals. Bobby Russell hit the net after a fine team move while captain, Conor Quinn, popped up with two. A far more competitive second half saw the play move swiftly up and down the field. A late goal from Jake Tansey put a bit of a gloss on the final score from our perspective as we ran out 5-7 to 2-6 winners. Conor Andrews gave a man of the match performance at centre back while others to impress included Alex Doyle, Kalem Mearns, Conor Quinn, Ben Noone, Jake Tansey and Conor Maher.

Holy family team: Cole Byas; Jamie Haugh, Rhys Mullen, Aaron McCusker; Alex Doyle, Conor Andrews, Cian Byrne; Conor Quinn (0-3), Ben Noone (0-1); Eoghan Maye, Jake Tansey (1-1), Conor Maher; Elliott Hunt (2-0), Bobby Russell (1-0), Zach O’Reilly. Subs: Cillian Birchall, Fionn Bailey, David Dignam, Richard Donnelly (1-0), Kalem Mearns, Armandas Turavskas (0-1).


Team v St. Mary’s

Our first game was against St Mary’s NS, Saggart. A strong first half showing laid the platform for our win. Two goals each from Elliot Hunt and Richard Donnelly gave us a lead we would never relinquish. The final score was 5-5 to 2-2. Best on the day were Conor Quinn, Aaron McCusker, Rhys Mullen, Cian Byrne and Richard Donnelly.

Holy Family team: Cole Byas; Kalem Mearns, Rhys Mullen, Aaron McCusker; David Dignam, Ben Noone (1-0) Cian Byrne; Conor Quinn (0-2), James Reilly; Conor Andrews, Jake Tansey (0-2), Daniel Craig; Elliott Hunt (2-0), Joe Maloney, Richard Donnelly (2-0). Subs: Eoghan Maye, Cayden Derwin, Seán McCaughey, Lucas Vickers, Bobby Russell (1-0).


Jacob’s big day in Croke Park


Image result for Jacob Comiskey site:sportsfile.com

Image result for Jacob Comiskey site:sportsfile.com


Image result for Jacob Comiskey site:sportsfile.com

Image result for jacob comiskey site:sportsfile.com

Former Holy Family student, Jacob Comiskey, had the honour of representing the school in Croke Park during the summer holidays. On August 10th, Jacob lined out for Dublin at half time in the All Ireland Football Semi Final between Dublin and Mayo. Wearing number 9 on the day, he wasn’t overawed by the capacity crowd of 82,300, scoring 1-2! Well done to Jacob who gave many outstanding performances for Holy Family in the last few years. We wish him well in the future!


Four Corners title retained

The Four Corners trophy will reside in Holy Family National School for another year after our boys emerged victorious last Friday at a sun-drenched Saggart. Always eagerly-anticipated, the Four Corners is a big deal in this part of the world and the 6th Class boys in particular really wanted to finish their Holy Family playing days in style!

Hopes were high after our historic win in Croke Park last October but the boys were slow to settle in our first game of the day against Scoil Chrónáin. We trailed by 1-2 to no score at half-time but nobody was panicking. A fantastic second half comeback turned things around completely and we ended up winning the game on a score line of 3-2 to 1-4. Jack O’Connor was the man of the match, scoring 2 cracking goals while Jake Tansey made a big impact off the bench, scoring a goal and setting up others. Our point scorers were Dean Simpson and Jacob Comiskey.

In the second game, we faced St Finian’s. Last year’s final against them was a cracker. This game wasn’t as tight but we managed to do enough to win. Jack O’Connor repeated the trick from the first game banging in another brace of goals. There was an element of luck about our other two goals as both Daniel and Dean’s attempted points landed in the net! Neither were complaining! Jacob got our only point of the game and the final score was 4-1 to 1-2 in favour of Holy Family.

We had a really competitive game against St Mary’s, Saggart. They were the better team for long periods but we upped our game in the second half. Jake Tansey went goal crazy, scoring 4 goals! Dean, Daniel and Jacob tagged on points to leave us winners on a final score line of 4-3 to 2-2.

At this stage, we were already through to the final so we were able to continue our policy of rotating the team for our final game against St Martin’s. Jack O’Callaghan enjoyed his stint in the forwards and even hit the net! Seán Mattison and Jacob were others to get on the scoresheet in a comfortable win.

The day ended as it had started with Scoil Chrónáin once again the opposition in the final. We started the final a lot better than we had started the first game but we weren’t really reflecting that on the score board. A goal from Dean as well as points from Jack O’Connor and Conor Quinn, gave us a half-time lead of 1-2 to 0-1. The second half was nip and tuck for long stages with both teams missing opportunities. A great free from Dean settled us and when Jack O’Connor raced clear to send a rocket to the top corner of the net, there was no doubting that the Four Corners trophy would be returning to Holy Family. A further 1-1 from Jake Tansey and a point from Seán Mattison put the icing on the cake as we ran out winners on a final score of 3-4 to 0-2. Adam Long was solid in goal throughout the day. Eoin Keane was a rock at the heart of the defence in the final just as he had been last year while he was ably assisted by the determined Jack O’Callaghan. Jacob never plays a bad game and here he intercepted ball after ball while also launching numerous attacks. The blocking by David Vickers was a feature of the day. He was the most improved player in the school this year. Daniel, Seán, Dean and Conor worked so hard in the final and all played huge parts in the tournament. Our match winners on the day were Jack and Jake who bagged a very impressive 10-2 between them! Others who played their part on the day were Cian Jordan, Seán Mattison, Alex Baxter, Tony Ashby, Evin Sebastian and Andrew Millar.

The winning trophy was presented to team captain, Dean Simpson. Holy Family have now won 3 trophies in a row: Four Corners Champions 2018 and 2019 as well as Corn O’Donnchu Champions 2018.  It has been a fantastic year for the school. We would like to wish all the 6th Class boys well as they continue their GAA careers into the future and thank them so much for the entertainment they have given us on the sporting fields. Holy Family Abu!


Hurling Heartbreak!

The boys hurling team had a mixed campaign this year. Our first game was played in Commercials at the end of March against St Finian’s, Newcastle. The boys were in flying form on the day and won on a score line of 5-6 to 3-4. Scorers for Holy Family on the day were: Joe Maloney (2-1), Daniel O’Kelly (1-2), Ben Noone (1-2) and Jack O’Connor (1-1). The following week we travelled all the way to Sandymount to take on Realt na Mara. On a wet, miserable day, we never got going and despite the best efforts of Daniel O’Kelly, we were well-beaten. A home game against Gaelscoil Knocklyon was next on the agenda. Unfortunately, we were defeated again but the level of performance was much better. We were quietly confident of our chances in the Shield competition.

Our opponents in the semi-final were Sacred Heart Boys School from Ballygall. They were the reigning champions from last year so we were surprised to see them in the same division again this year. The game was played in Ballymun Kickhams GAA grounds on Tuesday 29th May. It was a game that anyone who attended will remember for a long time due to the spirit shown by the boys representing Holy Family. We trailed at half-time by 2-1 to 0-4 with 0-3 coming from Daniel O’Kelly and the other from Joe Maloney. We felt we had every chance of winning the game and just told the boys to give it everything in the second half. They didn’t let us down. With time up and the game well into injury time, the teams were level on a score line of 3-1 to 1-7. Extra time seemed imminent. However, with their final attack, Sacred Heart broke our hearts with a very lucky goal that just creeped over the line. It was the worst way possible to lose it but that is sport! On the day, the likes of Ben Noone, Seán Reilly, David Vickers and Jack O’Connor put in great performances but there were two boys who stood head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch. Jacob Comiskey and Daniel O’Kelly didn’t deserve to be on the losing team. Jacob was absolutely immense at full-back. His high-fielding, blocking, tackling, clearances etc was a joy to behold. Daniel couldn’t have done anymore from midfield. He scored 1-6 out of our total of 1-7 and it’s safe to say that we’ll badly miss him next year.

And so Sacred Heart marched on to Croke Park where they comfortably won the final by 24 points while we were left wondering what might have been. Well done to all the boys on a truly brilliant performance.

Soccer League

A soccer league for boys in 5th and 6th Class took place during the months of March, April and May. Over 60 boys took part in the league that was played at lunch time on the Forest Hills Green when weather permitted! There were some cracking games throughout the league with some wonderful skill on view. The league was divided into two groups. In Group A, there was Man Utd captained by Ryan Fagan, Liverpool captained by Cian Jordan, Tottenham captained by Derek Bello and Leicester captained by Seán Mattison. In Group B, we had Man City captained by Conor Kinsella, Chelsea captained by Alex Baxter, Arsenal captained by Preston Sidi and Everton captained by Adam Long.

Group A was very tight with three teams finishing on 6 points. Man Utd and Leicester qualified for the semi-finals ahead of unlucky Liverpool who lost out on goal difference. Chelsea topped Group B, winning all of their games and were joined in the semi-finals by Man City.

As a treat, the semi-finals and final were played on the Astro turf in Rathcoole Boys. In the first semi-final, Ryan Fagan had the Midas touch as he scored 4 goals for Man Utd in a 4-2 win over Man City. The second semi-final saw a comprehensive 6-1 win for Chelsea against Leicester with Conor Quinn and Alex Baxter in impressive form.

Due to popular demand, we had a 3rd/4th place play off between the losing semi-finalists, Leicester and Man City. This turned out to be a dramatic game and penalties were required! Evin Sebastian cracked home the winning penalty to secure 3rd place for Man City.

The final was a very tense affair between Man Utd and Chelsea. With the teams so evenly-matched, it looked like we could be heading for penalties again. However, it was fitting that the league’s top-scorer, Conor Quinn, had the final say as he grabbed the only goal of the game midway through the 2nd half to win the league for Chelsea. After the final, Mr Commins who refereed all the games, presented winners medals and runners-up medals to the two finalists and thanked all the boys for taking part in what turned out to be a very competitive and enjoyable league!


Cumann na mBunscol Champions!


Before we get into the details of what happened in Croke Park, here’s a brief review on the last few months in Holy Family GAA circles!

Last October, we were well beaten by Our Lady’s BNS, Ballinteer in the quarter finals of the Corn O’Donnchu in Marlay Park. Out of the team who started in Croke Park, only six started twelve months ago. Nearly all of our subs were in 4th or 5th Class so I knew we would have a fairly strong team come September 2018. Due to the fact Cumann na mBunscol in Dublin run off all their football games before Halloween, I wanted to have a fair idea in my mind what sort of panel we would have before the summer holidays. We had some great training sessions in the glorious weather of May and June. The majority of the lads here attended all these sessions despite the fact I could only bring a certain amount to the Four Corners tournament. The standard was improving all the time. We went on to win the Four Corners for the first time since 2013. Like yesterday, the final was a real cliff-hanger but we managed to secure a one point win. I had my mind made up after winning the final that our defence in September was going to be built around Eoin Keane who was outstanding on that June day. I also knew that the likes of Jack O’Connor, Jack O’Callaghan, Jacob Comiskey, Daniel O’Kelly and Rhys Rankin were going to feature prominently on the team.

This September saw Mr Cannon arrive in the school. Initial fears that he had brought Jim McGuinness’ blanket defence with him from the Hills of Donegal were dispelled quickly as we went goal crazy in our opening game of the year, defeating St Pat’s Corduff on a scoreline of 6-5 to 4-2. St Pat’s actually went on to win the Shield in Croke Park so congratulations to them. We followed this up with two comprehensive wins over Castleknock Educate Together and St Mary’s Saggart. With three wins out of three, we were now in the quarter finals. As I mentioned earlier, last year’s quarter final was a far from pleasant experience for us so I was hoping this year we could turn things round. To say we did that against Harold’s Cross would be an understatement! Cian Jordan decided to help himself to 4-0, Conor Quinn gave an exhibition in shooting 1-5, Dean Simpson kicked 1-4, Seán and Rhys got 1-2 each, Shane hit 0-3, Jack O’Callaghan scored a goal from long range, Jacob Comiskey sauntered up the field at his leisure to kick 0-2 and Daniel said “0-1 will do me just fine!“ Poor Ben Noone was devastated to be missing out on all the action!

Our semi-final against Gaelscoil na Camóige was a definite step up in quality. The opposition posed us many problems early on but thankfully, Ben, Eoin and Aaron were in, let’s just say, ‘uncompromising mood’. The ever reliable Jacob Comiskey gave an exhibition at centre back while even a big husky dog couldn’t deter Jack O’Callaghan from going for a fifty fifty ball! David Vickers and Seán Reilly did brilliant man-marking jobs on two of their best players while the rest of our team put some beautiful moves together culminating in scores from Conor, Dean, Jack, Cian and Shane with Daniel pulling the strings from midfield. We emerged victorious on a final scoreline of 3-8 to 1-3. We could now officially start looking forward to a day out in Croke Park!

In preparation for the final, we played Scoil Chrónáin in a challenge match in Commercials. All 26 boys on the panel played at least a half in this game. Joe Maloney’s second half hat-trick was one of the highlights of the game! With another win under our belts, the lads were in confident form ahead of the big match in Croker Park.

Corn O’Donnchu Final


Holy Family NS Rathcoole           6-11

Sacred Heart NS Sruleen              4-14

In what had to be one of the most exciting games played in Croke Park in this year’s Cumann na mBunscol finals, it was the lion-hearted boys from Holy Family that emerged victorious after a titanic struggle with Sacred Heart NS, Sruleen. Even when the referee eventually called a halt to proceedings, not many were sure of the actual result. Both teams surrounded the referee waiting anxiously to hear the final score. Queue unbridled joy from the boys in green and red!

This was a final worthy of the hallowed turf of Croke Park. Wonderful goals, top-class points, precise passing and inspirational blocks were only some of the features of an extraordinary match that ebbed and flowed the whole way through. Sacred Heart were quicker out of the blocks as their star man (Jack McCabe) scored a cracking goal from twenty yards before adding a close range free. However, it wasn’t long before our lads started to motor and Rhys Rankin’s daisy cutter rattled the back of the net much to the joy of the vociferous Holy Family support in the Hogan Stand. Excellent points from Conor Quinn, Dean Simpson and Daniel O’Kelly settled us further but just as we were getting on top, Sacred Heart struck for their second goal. This was followed by two pointed frees and again we were playing catch up. Jack O’Connor was quick to make sure we weren’t in their rear view mirrors for long though with a brilliant goal and point in a blistering five minute spell. The outstanding Jacob Comiskey added to our points tally with a beauty off his left. As half-time approached, the sides were level at 2-6 apiece but a fortuitous goal from Dean Simpson gave us a three point interval lead.

Looking back on the game, our flying start to the second half paved the way for victory. Two goals in quick succession from Conor Quinn and Jack O’Connor gave us a lead we never relinquished thereafter.  To their credit though, Sacred Heart kept battling away and the result was in doubt literally until the final whistle. Seán Reilly’s goal line block in the last minute turned out to be a match winner.

Was it a relaxing second half so? You must be joking! It definitely wasn’t from a lack of effort that Sacred Heart didn’t overtake us on the scoreboard. Their players gave it everything and can be proud of their effort but on the day they came up against an extremely determined bunch of lads who just left everything on the field.

Adam Long was intelligent with his kickouts as he went short when he had a free man and went for distance if there was any doubt. Captain for the day, Eoin Keane thwarted many an attack while he was ably assisted by his corner backs, Ben Noone and Aaron McCusker, two lads who thrive on tackling and blocking! Jack O’Callaghan and David Vickers intercepted a mountain of ball while the mighty Jacob Comiskey was a contender for Man of the Match. Daniel O’Kelly and Seán Reilly worked tirelessly throughout, switching markers as the game progressed. Along with Dean Simpson and Jacob, they communicated brilliantly in their bid to counteract the gifted Jack McCabe. Dean is a class act and the venue definitely didn’t overawe him today. He kicked some great scores at crucial times. Conor Quinn is one of our most talented players and showcased his undoubted talents again today, kicking 1-3 in the process. Jack O’Connor had a scintillating first half and a solid second half. He has been brilliant this year. Rhys Rankin at full forward saved his best game of the year until last. He won nearly every ball that came his way and was a constant thorn in the side of the opposition. Shane Manscier had a quieter day today than usual but he contributed handsomely on our road to the final. Cian Jordan didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet either today but he caused the full back line all sorts of problems with his lively movement. Introduced at half time to make an impact, Jake Tansey certainly didn’t let us down, scoring 1-1 and winning plenty of ball. Alex Baxter was unlucky not to start but played an important role in helping us see out the game. To those who didn’t get to play today; Joe Maloney, Seán Mattison, Tony Ashby, James Bennetti, Andrew Millar, Brandon Byrne, Charlie Boggins, Travis Moore and Evin Sebastian, it really was a team effort throughout. All of these boys played their part in the five games we won to reach the final.

Overall, it was a day that will live long in the memories of all of us who were lucky enough to be in Croke Park. Well done to a fantastic group of boys on a wonderful achievement. They really got what they deserved.  It’s a pleasure to be involved with them! Holy Family abu!

Team: Adam Long; Ben Noone, Eoin Keane, Aaron McCusker; Jack O’Callaghan, Jacob Comiskey (0-1), David Vickers; Seán Reilly, Daniel O’Kelly (0-1); Conor Quinn (1-3), Dean Simpson (1-3), Jack O’Connor (2-1); Shane Manscier, Rhys Rankin (1-1), Cian Jordan. Subs: Jake Tansey (1-1), Alex Baxter, Tony Ashby, Seán Mattison, Joe Maloney, Andrew Millar, James Bennetti, Brandon Byrne, Charlie Boggins, Travis Moore, Evin Sebastian.


Meet the Holy Family Panel!

  1. Adam Long – No one wanted to play in goal at the start of the year. This fella told me after our first game he plays in goal for his soccer team. An excellent shot-stopper throughout and intelligent kickouts in the final were a feature of his play.
  2. Ben Noone – Every team needs a messer. Ours plays corner back! A teak tough defender, Ben blocked and tackled like his life depended on it.
  3. Eoin Keane – Captained our team in Croke Park. Mr Consistent didn’t put a foot wrong all year. Brilliant attitude. This man is going places.
  4. Aaron McCusker – A lovely lad in general but every corner forward’s worst nightmare! It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; but the size of the fight in the dog. Aaron, I’m not calling you a dog but by God, you’re well able to fight for that ball!
  5. Jack O’Callaghan– This man volunteered to go in goal in our first game this year. The ultimate team player. Possibly our tightest marker, did brilliantly on short kickouts in the final.
  6. Jacob Comiskey – A lot of our younger generation here might never have heard of legendary Cork hurler, Diarmuid O’Sullivan. His nickname was the Rock. Well we have our very own Rock of Rathcoole here. With a wand of a left boot, I think we’re going to hear a lot more about this man in years to come.
  7. David Vickers – Possibly the most improved footballer in the school this year. Won’t be on Mr Referee from Croke Park’s Christmas card list this year but David we think you did brilliant.
  8. Seán Reilly – Would we be here at all if this man hadn’t intervened when the net in Croker was ready to bulge? Another consistently good performer who got better and better with every game.
  9. Daniel O’Kelly – Probably sees more ball than any other player in a match. Tireless worker, so unselfish and no shortage of skill. A real leader and example to everyone in the school.
  10. Conor Quinn – He can score goals. He can score points. He can kick with the right. He can kick with the left. There are very few things this man can’t do with a football. I’ve heard rumours that he prefers soccer. An outstanding talent.
  11. Dean Simpson – The playmaker and free taker. This fella eats, drinks and sleeps GAA. Like Conor, it doesn’t matter if it’s left or right, it’s going between the posts or under the bar. Any manager’s dream.
  12. Jack O’Connor – The only Thomas Davis player on our team. An example that St Mary’s and Thomas Davis players can get along just fine. Try telling that to the lads on Saturday! Jack really came to life in our last two games. With an eye for goal, Jack caused huge problems for opposing defences.
  13. Shane Manscier – The USA have Donald Trump. In Ireland, it looks like we’ll have Michael D for another 7 years. In Holy Family, we have Shane! An exemplary sportsman, his ball handling, and ability to bring others into the game are Shane’s strongest features. One of the most unselfish players on the team.
  14. Rhys Rankin – The right foot may be for standing on, but the left one is lethal. Rhys gave the large Holy Family contingent reason to shout when he rattled the net at the Davin Stand End on Tuesday. A great ball winner.
  15. Cian Jordan – Many a time I played in the full back line over the years. Safe to say, I’m glad this fella wasn’t around. Scored goals for fun all year, he was inches from adding to his tally on Tuesday. They don’t come much trickier than Cian!
  16. Tony Ashby – Was unfortunate that Ben and Aaron have been in such good form of late. One of the real characters on our team with no shortage of football ability.
  17. Joe Maloney- Since our win on Tuesday, rumours have been circulating that Hill 16 is no longer Dublin only. It’s now known as Hill 16 is Joe Maloney! Has got better and better over the last two months. Really unlucky not to play in the final. His hat trick against Scoil Chrónáin was one of the highlights of the year.
  18. Seán Mattison – Like Joe, this fella was very unlucky not to play in the final. If he continues to develop at the rate at which he is, a bright future in the St Mary’s colours await.
  19. Alex Baxter – This man was brought on in the final when David was threatened with a red card. He most certainly didn’t let us down. A fearless competitor, Alex excelled in every game he played this year. He even played in goal when Adam was sick!
  20. Jake Tansey – Could have easily started but we held him in reserve for a reason -to make an impact. And he sure delivered. Is Gaelic football his favourite sport? I’m not sure. He should consider playing more often!
  21. Andrew Millar – As dedicated as they come, this man never misses a training session. Featured in most games. A tight marker with a great attitude.
  22. James Bennetti – Like Jack O’Connor, this man is in the minority in that he doesn’t play with St Mary’s. A Round Towers player who provided plenty of inside info on Gaelscoil na Camóige. A solid defender.
  23. Charlie Boggans – Another character in our panel. Charlie did well whenever he was called upon. Improving all the time.
  24. Brandon Byrne – Performed well in training and tried really hard during the games. That left foot is coming along nicely!
  25. Travis Moore – Scored a great point against St Mary’s Saggart as he was falling over. Rarely seen without a smile on his face, I think he really enjoyed being involved.
  26. Evin Sebastian – Has a terrific attitude. A very determined and dedicated player, his best performance of the year came in defence against Scoil Chrónáin.


A few words of thanks

It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the many people who helped out in making this journey a successful and enjoyable one.

Firstly, I want to thank Mr Cannon. I assure you this was a team effort. Being the modest man that he is, a lot of you probably don’t know that he has represented Donegal at all grades. He is very knowledgeable and added greatly to the set up this year. Who would have thought a Mayo man, a Donegal man and a crowd of Dubs would work so well together!

Secondly, I want to thank Mr Byrne, Mr Gavin and all the staff here in Holy Family. Without the support of the staff, it wouldn’t be possible to play these games. Special thanks to Ms O’Donovan and Ms Dempsey for covering my class, enabling me to go to all the games and to Ms Haran who covered for Mr Cannon.

A huge thanks also to our band of supporters from 4th, 5th and 6th Class who along with their teachers and SNA’s created a wonderful atmosphere in Croker and literally roared us over the line.

The help and support we have received from parents is genuinely appreciated. Special thanks to all those who helped with lifts week in, week out. Thanks a million to John Simpson who made St Mary’s GAA, Saggart available to us any time we needed it and what about Cathal Comiskey who performed the proverbial blinder on the day of the final?! Photographer and match recorder extraordinaire. He even gave my Dad a lift back to the airport after the match!

Every young boy and girl who loves GAA dreams of playing in Croke Park. The next best thing is being on the sideline. Because of these lads, I got that opportunity. If we had lost after the way we played, I would have been devastated for them but just as proud. Winning was a bonus. It really is a pleasure to be involved with such a lovely bunch of talented footballers with the right attitude.

16 years ago when I was in 6th Class, we won our own Cumann na mBunscol Final in McHale Park, Castlebar. I still have great memories of that day. Everyone associated with this team should treasure what happened in Croke Park on October 23rd 2018 for years to come. I know I will!



Cross Country 2018

We had a very successful cross country season with 65 children from 3rd class to 6th class on our team. We had three league races in Griffeen park in Lucan in February, March and April and a finals day in Corkagh park in Condalkin in May. 78 schools with 5000 children from South Dublin competed in the finals.

The League:

Race 1:

1st: Michelle Muddiman 4th (Ms. McKelvey)


3rd: Conor Quinn 4th (Ms. McKelvey) Bobby Russell 4th (Ms. McKelvey) Evan Donnelly 6th (Ms. Hartnett)

Race 2:

1st: Keelan Comisky 3rd  (Ms. Cronin) and Dafne  3rd (Ms. Cronin)  Conor Quinn 4th (Ms. McKelvey)

2nd: James O’ Reilly 2nd  (Mr. Holmes)

3rd: Michelle Muddiman 4th (Ms. Mckelvey) and Hazel Jordan  6th (Mr. Hill)


Race 3:


2nd: Eliora 3rd  (Ms. Cronin)

3rd: Conor Quinn 4th (Ms. McKelvey)


The Finals:

Fantastic day yesterday at the Cross Country Finals in Corkagh park. 

Three children got to compete in the Champions Race as they came 1st in the previous league.

Dafne (Ms. Cronin) Conor Quinn (Ms. McKelvey) Michelle Muddiman (Ms. Mckelvey)

We also won 2 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze: 

1st Lee McConnell 6th (Ms. Cleary) Hazel Jordan 6th (Mr. Hill)

2nd James O’ Reilly 3rd (Mr. Holmes)

3rd David Dignam and Davide Fais 3rd (Ms. Cronin)

Every competitor got a medal for all their training and competing over the past 5 and a half months.

Well done to all the children. They did us proud!

Each came to training and fought hard for their place on the team. Each encouraged and cheered each other on. They wore our school colours with pride.

Ms. Fitzpatrick and Ms. McGinley

Training throughout the year


Race days and medal winning

Hurling and Camogie


Hard luck to the camogie girls yesterday who were defeated in the Quarter Final of the Cup. We are so proud of their fight, spirit and excellent attitude shown throughout all the matches and yesterday was no different. A brilliant fight to the finish – Well done girls!

The boys have the Semi Final of the Cup next week – team and location to be decided.

Our hurling and camogie season had a bit of a delayed start due to the weather. Both teams had matches postponed because of pitches being unplayable. Thank you to all the boys, girls and their parents for being patient with last minute changes. Hopefully the better weather will stick around for a while. 

Both teams have had a fantastic start, winning their first matches with great results. The hurlers beat St Marys, Saggart and the camogie girls beat St Finians, Newcastle. Great teamwork and skill were shown in both matches which was reflected in the winning results. Most importantly, all players showed excellent attitude and sportsmanship.

Well done to both teams and let’s hope our success continues.

Both teams have made it out of their groups and into the cups. We are very hopeful for success.

Click below to download the Active Flag work so far this year:

The Active School Flag Document


The Active School Flag is a Department of Education and Skills initiative which recognises schools that strive to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community, by awarding them with an Active School Flag (ASF). To learn more about the Active School Flag Initiative, visit their website   –  http://www.activeschoolflag.ie

The pupils and staff of Holy Family N.S Rathcoole are working hard together in order to become an Active School. Please take a look below at some of the activities we have been taking part in as we strive to become an Active School.


To kick-start the school year actively we introduced 10@10 where the children have 10 minutes of activity in their classroom every morning. The children love it and it is really helping them to wake up and be more focused for the day. Active lines at small break were also introduced by the Active committee members. The committee members lead classes in a number of different exercises on the line while waiting to be collected from teachers.


Our Active Flag committee members are taking a break from leading the active lines and have become ‘fitness police’. This involves them patrolling the yard in high-visibility jackets encouraging their classmates who are sitting/standing to move around the yard during break time. Committee members in 5th and 6th class have also been assigned the job of storeroom checkers for the last 5 minutes of each day based on a rota. They make sure the P.E storeroom is in order and every item is in its right place for classes the following day. We are continuing our 10@10 in the classroom every morning and introducing active lesson transitions (e.g. 30 jumping jacks) for better focus/concentration during the day.


Children are invited to bring in any awards earned in outside clubs and have their photograph taken to be displayed on the Active Flag noticeboard in the school. Their achievements will also be announced at the monthly assembly by Mr Gavin. Our fitness police are taking a break from their lunchtime duties as we are introducing dance in the hall at lunchtime one day a week for second class to sixth class.


Alongside our active lesson transitions in class Mr Byrne is going to play a song randomly over the intercom a couple of times a week for the coming months to get classes to get out of their seats and drop everything and dance (DEAD). Parents are also invited to join us in a 10 minute walk every Wednesday morning at 9.15 (WOW) around Forest Hills weather permitting.


With the new year beginning we are looking for suggestions on how to make the school an even more active place during the day. Committee members have been asked to collect 3 suggestions for the suggestions box on the active board from their class. Committee members will also carry out a ‘What club are you in?’ survey with their classmates.  10@10, WOW, dance in the hall at lunch time and DEAD will continue for the foreseeable weeks as they have been very successful in contributing to the children’s activity.


Operation Transformation on RTE1 has launched 3 weeks of new daily 10@10 videos for schools to partake in every morning in class. These are really worthwhile and the children love doing them. Classes are also taking part in a poster competition to promote activity in the school. Each class’s winning poster will be displayed in the P.E hall for the rest of the year. Cross country trials are taking place in Rathcoole Park for our runners this month. All children from Third to Sixth will walk to the park and are encouraged to take part in the trials for the exercise.


To link in with St. Patrick’s Day and Seachtain na Gaeilge classes are encouraged to do the Operation Transformation lesson transitions in Irish for the month. Mr Gavin is setting up a basketball tournament in the hall for 6th class during lunchtime and Mr Commins is setting up a soccer tournament for 4th class on the grass area in Forest Hills during lunchtime, where all children will be encouraged and welcome to take part. DEAD and WOW will continue. A slogan competition will take place too.


Now that the weather is improving extra yard time and astro-turf slots are being rewarded to classes highlighting ‘No sweets as treats’ to all. Our Active committee are also delivering the message of the winning slogan competition to classes ‘Being Active is Cool, especially at School’. Smile For a Mile will also start this month, whereby children will run for 5 minutes as a class weekly. A 126m perimeter was measured on the senior yard and children will record the number of laps ran in 5 minutes (on average) each week on the Active Board.


Active Flag activities in our school






The girl’s vision of playing in Croke Park sadly ended yesterday on Monastery Road. Having already had well earned victories over St. Finians New Castle and St. Mary’s Sagart and being marginally beaten by Scoil Chronain in the last group game we were still given a chance in the quarter final of the cup. The girls were up against a tall, strong side from Our Lady Queen of Apostles Clonburris and up until the last 5 minutes when a soft goal snuck into the corner of their net it could have went either way. Despite very wet and windy conditions it was a fast-moving and exciting game from start to finish. Clonburris got an early goal to lead but we came back with some cracking scores from Saoirse Murphy, Susie Cronin and Anna Magliozzi. At half time the sides were level and Saoirse got another key point which had us in the lead for the majority of the second half. The backs had a tough job throughout the match with Hannah Byrne particularly showing great bravery. Unfortunately when Clonburris’s third goal came to put them ahead they built on this and got another goal soon after leaving the scoreline at 4-1 to 1-5. The girls were devastated but did themselves and the school very proud. Well done to the team for their fantastic attitude, effort and enthusiasm throughout the season.

Active Flag Partnerships

 We have been very fortunate this year to have a number of local partnerships working with the students of Holy Family NS. Some of these are:

  • Our local GAA man, Peter Elliott, from Commercials GAA club has been taking the junior classes for sessions in both gaelic football and hurling since the start of the year. This is a great opportunity for children to learn new and develop skills in these sports and get them active during the school day. 
  • 5th Class participated in cycling safety workshops during term 1. This gave them excellent life skills for cycling on the roads which they can carry through to adulthood. This has also encouraged more children to cycle to school.
  • We have recently arranged for a coach from Leinster Rugby to take 5th and 6th classes for a 4 week block of tag rugby. 

Tag rugby

4 Corners GAA tournament Girls team

The girls team won the 4 corners Gaelic football tournament last June for the 3rd year in a row & the credit union sponsor the cup. Scoil Cronán won the boys. Past pupils Sophie Simpson, Molly McGlynn & Amalia Svarsiuc & Meaghan Quinn from the current 6th class. And of course Peter Elliot 🙂 

The boys football team have had mixed fortunes on the playing fields this past week. On Thursday 21st September, they lost a cracking game against Sacred Heart NS, Sruleen on a scoreline of 3-11 to 3-9. The teams were very evenly matched throughout. Sacred Heart led at half time by 3-6 to 3-3 with Holy Family’s goals coming from Lee McConnell, Dean Simpson and Jacob Comiskey. It was score for score in the second half but unfortunately, we just came up short despite a great effort.


Team v Sacred Heart: Kyle Maguire; Jamie Moore, Aaron McCusker, Tony Ashby; Kyle Humphries, Ben Ratcliffe, James Dignam (0-1); Lee McConnell (1-3), Conor Quinn (0-1); Dean Simpson (1-2), Cillian Byrne, Jacob Comiskey (1-0); Daniel Kelty (0-1), Shane Manscier, Eoin Keane. Subs: Lee Campbell, Seán Craig, Cormac Dixon, David Idemudia, Seán Mattison, Andrew Millar, Evan.


On Thursday 28th September, we got back to winning ways after a good win over St Patrick’s, Corduff. The old adage that ‘goals win games’ was evident in this game as Holy Family emerged as 7-1 to 2-5 winners. In a keenly contested first half where we struggled for long periods, goals from Dean Simpson, Rhys Bankin and Lee McConnell gave us a two point interval lead. The lads put some lovely moves together in the second half and further goals from Lee McConnell, Rhys Bankin, Daniel O’Kelly and Lee Campbell meant we were travelling back to Rathcoole in high spirits! The backs played especially well in the second half with great performances from Ben Ratcliffe, Jacob Comiskey, Adam Coughlan and Alex Baxter. All 30 lads that were togged got to play a part. We are now through to the quarter finals which are scheduled to be played on the 11th/12th October. Well done to all!


Team v St Patrick’s:

Liam Goodwin; Cormac Dixon, Ben Ratcliffe, Aaron McCusker; Kyle Humphries, Conor Quinn, Jacob Comiskey; Daniel O’Kelly (1-0), Lee McConnell (2-0); Seán Reilly, Dean Simpson (1-0), James Dignam; Seán Craig, Rhys Bankin (2-0), Aaron Brereton. Subs used: Kyle Maguire, Jamie Moore, Ben Noone, Alex Baxter, Adam Coughlan, Cillian Byrne, Jack O’Callaghan, Zach O’Reilly, Lee Campbell (1-1), David Vickers, Travis Moore, Jack O’Connor, Daniel Kelty, Tony Ashby and Eoin Keane.

Girls GAA team news

The girls football team had their second great victory recently against St. Mary’s Saggart 8-4 to 0-2 in miserable conditions. They also won against Newcastle by 2 points in a tight game. We hope to continue the winning streak next against Scoil Chronáin and be one step closer to Croke Park.

Boys GAA team news

The boys football team got off to a great start to the year, defeating St Mary’s Saggart on a score line of 5-4 to 1-0. Congrats to James Dignam who has been chosen as the team captain for the year.


Dublin in the All Ireland!

Well done to both the ladies and men gaelic football teams who were both victorious in the All Ireland this year. It was a fantastic three in a row for the men. We decorated our school in the hope of victory and it worked! We were lucky to have the Sam Maguire brought into the school for the boys and girls to see. We may even have some Dublin players of the future amongst us.

Decorating the hallway for the Dubs in the All Ireland

The San Maguire comes to Holy Family NS