Online sports website, Balls.ie, ran a campaign throughout January to establish a list of the top secondary schools in Ireland in terms of sporting achievement among its alumni. Last week they published their top 10 and sitting proudly in the number 1 spot was Good Counsel College. You can access their top 10 from here.
While all schools listed had impressive records in producing top class sportspeople, the judges felt that GCC had the most enviable record of all. In their summation they referenced Tadhg Furlong as a world class rugby player, Aidan O’Brien as world leader in horse racing, Kevin Doyle as one of Ireland’s top strikers and the many hurling All Stars who have come through the school.
Of course, there are many others who might have been mentioned most notably Adrian O’Connor and Olympic swimmer, Darragh Joyce a professional AFL player with St Kildas, Greg Bolger, a 4 time FAI cup and dual League of Ireland winner, Tomas O’Connor, an Irish u23 international, Darragh O’Connor Leicester City, Jack Ryan, Ireland’s number 1 young showjumper, Grade 1 winning jockeys Shane Foley, Jonathan Moore, Sean Flanagan, Tom O’Brien, Matthew O’Connor and Tom Doyle. While a GCC student, Ryan Carty Walsh, held the Irish men’s high jump title only 3 years ago, Sean Dunne was a member of the Irish water polo team while Nicholas Murphy and Jack Allen represented their country in badminton and acrobatics respectively. Conor West proudly represented Ireland in Bocce Boules.
Fionn Healy Magwa has competed in the world MMA championships while a number of other students have held provincial and national boxing titles. Other athletes to wear the green singlet internationally include Shane Power in pole vault, Eoin Power, sprinting and Luke Sutton and Ben Webb, rowing.
A contemporary of Tadhg Furlongs, and capped with him on the Irish Clubs U-18 team, John Sutton has won 3 Senior International club XV rugby caps and a number of AIL titles while Richie Bolger played in the front row on the Irish Youths team against Wales in Cardiff Arms Park in 1996.
There are many GAA stars who once donned the blue and white of the college, including All Ireland winners, Christy Heffernan, Eddie and Willie O’Connor, Michael Phelan, Larry Murphy, Matthew O’Hanlon, Kieran Joyce, Leigh O’Brien, Ciaran Hyland, Eric Bradley and more recently Ger Aylward, Harry Kehoe and Walter Walsh. This list is not exclusive. Meanwhile, Paud O’Dwyer is recognised as one of the top hurling referees in the country.
In motor sports too, Good Counsel alumni have competed on the international stage, Eamonn Boland in rallying, Liam and Eamonn Roche in karting and Nigel Colfer in drifting. In the world of body building Loughlin Gannon has reached the pinnacle and was World Champion in 2018.
There are many others, too numerous to mention who have equally meritorious achievements in their chosen sports but the above gives a sense of the variety of sporting arenas our past pupils have entered while also acknowledging the heights many of them have reached.
We would love to hear from you if you or someone you know has gone on to excel in a chosen sport. Do not hesitate to drop us al line and a picture at firstname.lastname@example.org
And the story continues ……….