St Benildus College

The Leinster Senior A Football Championship Final

March 12th, 2016

Adam O’ Callaghan reflects on the school’s historic win over Marist College, Athlone in Tullamore …

The day of days had finally come. The day which had taken months to prepare for. O’ Connor Park in Tullamore was to host our date with destiny – it was the Leinster Post-Primary A Championship Final. This day will live in my memory.

It was an early start for the players and myself. We met in the school for 11:30 to get on the long road towards Offaly. I got a sense that every lad on the team had their own unique feeling that day. Some seemed very anxious yet relaxed and vice versa. There was music played to help ease our nerves a little. As we edged closer to O’ Connor Park, I got a stronger belief that it was going to be our day.

We togged out as soon as possible and we got straight into our warm up routine. It was very evident that we were all focused. We went back into the dressing room and as always, we huddled together for one final time. Mr Trimble gave us yet another encouraging and passionate speech. We left the dressing room and we entered the playing field with a deafening cheer from the Benildus crowd. Our game-modes had switched on.

The ball was thrown in and it was clear to everyone that we weren’t there to take part, we were there to put our name on the Leinster trophy. As the goalkeeper looking at how the game was unfolding, it was clear to me that we were playing very fast and effective football. As a result of this we got two very well taken goals inside the first 20 minutes of the half. To be perfectly honest, we couldn’t be contained in the first half. We went into halftime leading by 8 points. It was obvious to us that this could potentially be a very dangerous place to be. However we didn’t allow ourselves to become complacent at all.

The second half started just how the first half ended, with us on top of the opposition. However as the second half was going on, Marist got themselves back into the frame by their own accord helped by some poor refereeing decisions. We were given a black card and a penalty was awarded against us. All these shenanigans that went against us had no effect on our performance. We kept driving on towards the victory. The final whistle blew. The lads and I defeated Marist College by 2:7 to 1:6.

The scenes at full time were ecstatic. Our whole squad was jumping around with tears of joy. Our supporters invaded the pitch with hugs and kisses for all of us. We were history makers. The college had never achieved something this important in its existence. We lifted the Leinster Trophy with a defiant roar of victory. We got photographs with the prestigious cup. The team and I gathered into the changing room as we sung our hearts out with every chant we could think of. Mr Johnson came in with tears nearly coming down his face reminding us that what we achieved was massive. Mr O’ Brien soon followed afterwards with more congratulations. We celebrated with him holding a flag above all of us. Finally, Mr Trimble entered the dressing room. He only had one thing to say to us but by God, it meant a lot. “YES!” he shouted. We put our arms around him and started jumping and belting out “Wonderwall” in celebration.

We travelled back to the school in a joyful mood. Cars were beeping their horns commending our achievement. We received a guard of honour as we walked up to the staff-room. We were served a curry which was to die for. Mr Trimble and Mr Johnson gave a few words about what we had won. There was a special feeling in the staffroom that evening. The teachers took on their original personalities for a day. We talked and laughed until we had to go home. To be honest, what we did that day, could you really blame anyone for being happy?

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