- Half-Time Heroines
- Stevo's at it again
- Summer Camps
- LGFA Volunteer Survey
- Meet the Members Special: Thomas Gleeson
- Team News
- Other News
The U11 girls played local rivals Naomh Barróg at half-time of the Dublin v Tipperary All Ireland Camoige Senior Championship clash in Parnell Park.
Big thanks to star forward Siobhan Kehoe for coming down to training to give the girls a few tips before the big day!
Best of luck to Siobhan and the Dublin girls in the quarter finals!
Next Stop: Abu Dhabi!
As if winning a gold medal in basketball at the Special Olympics Ireland Games wasn't enough...
Steven has just been named in Team Ireland for the Summer Olympics in Abu Dhabi in March 2019.
Massive congratulations Stevo!
The Scoil camps are well and truly underway now with Cúl Camps over and our Advanced Camp running this week with over 30 kids.
The camps have certainly been a hit with the kids but I can't say as much for poor coach Siofra!
There's still plenty of places for our Fun Camp at the end of August.
Contact Thomas @ 085 113 77 28 to book a place in the next camp.
LGFA Volunteer Survey
The LGFA are looking for anyone who volunteers with the organisation, in any shape or form, to complete this survey. It only takes 10 minutes and gives you a chance to have your say!
Meet the Members Special: Thomas Gleeson
When I arrived at Stag HQ to chat with GPO Thomas ‘Bones’ Gleeson, he had just wrapped up the day’s Advanced Summer Camp – which caters to 12 to 16-year olds – and was discussing with one of the parents a fun excursion he wanted to plan for the kids. Following a quick nod to acknowledge my arrival, he then picked up what seemed to be an ongoing conversation with one of his coaches about securing a special guest coach for the kids the following day.
This picture offers a general insight into Thomas’ work as Scoil Uí Chonaill GAA Club’s Games Promotion Officer; always actively seeking out the next best way to aid the development, as well as ensure the fun and enjoyment, of the children to which he’s so genuinely dedicated – and never resting on his laurels, despite hosting an incredible 140 kids at last week’s opening summer camp!
It was this success, and that of last year’s camps (also 100+) that made me perk up and think ‘this fella is doing some job!’ So, I asked him would he have a chat, to which he replied; “Yeah, whatever you need, I’ll do for you to try promote the Club.” Such is his attitude when it comes to most requests!
We took a seat in the Stag Bar (over a couple of glasses of water of course!) and were aptly surrounded by whiteboards and posters which Thomas had prepared to train his coaches for their roles in the camps. When I asked him about them he remarked on the importance to equip young, eager members with the coaching skills to develop the next generation, and noted the high standard from the young coaches this year.
Although I’ve known Thomas a while – first as an opponent, then as a referee and finally as Scoil GPO – I wanted to get a full understanding of his background and how he wound up having Scoil as a second GAA home, after St Finbarr’s with who he is still heavily involved.
“My first taste of the GPO role was when I did my transition year work experience with Eamonn Fennel, who was Finbarrs’ GPO at the time,” Thomas recalled. “I really enjoyed it and wanted to know how I could make it my career.”
In 2015, once Thomas had completed his coaching courses he began working part-time in Ballyfermot De La Salle and in 2016 he was asked to take on two small GAA Clubs on either side of the Liffey. With such a hectic schedule working between three groups all over the City, Thomas put forward his application for a full-time role and in late 2016 was assigned to Scoil.
“To be honest, out of the clubs seeking full-time GPOs I was delighted to get Scoil. Here I get to know each one of the kids individually, whereas in the other clubs in the mix I don’t think the GPO could possibly know 70 percent of the kids’ names,” Thomas said.
Thomas has the air of a man who genuinely feels at home in Scoil now, but while this means he’s always respectful, it always means that he doesn’t deal in BS.
“Don’t get me wrong, Scoil is a tough Club to work for,” he admitted. “Whether it’s Clontarf or Finbarrs, other clubs just don’t have to deal with the challenges of such a high level of social integration that we do.”
When I asked him if growing up in Cabra helps him in this regard, he quickly corrected me:
“No, I’m from Town! Grew up on Dominick Street in the Inner City and went to St Mary's Primary School, and from there I actually represented Dublin in a GAA skills competition in Croke Park – which I won!”
It was this spotlight that brought him to the attention of St Finbarrs, with who he’s played from under 9s right up to Senior Hurling and Football.
“Finbarrs are such an important part of my life – they really pulled me out of a very challenging environment,” he reflected. “There were times when I was a kid that managers would come and drag me out of the house for matches, with one particular time being after my granddad’s funeral and I was really down afterwards. Nicky Keogh arrived at my house with socks, shorts and everything I needed to go play a match. At the time I didn’t want to play, but afterwards I realised it was the best thing for me.”
As I offered my admiration for Finbarrs and the challenges they face, I likened this story to one which I myself witnessed many times as I sat with fellow teammates in the car en route to a match as one of our mentors worked on convincing one of our more ‘distracted’ players that a GAA match would serve them a whole lot better than hanging around the streets.
“Ah it’s huge – sure half my mates from when I was a kid are either wrapped up in drugs, crime or are dead,” Thomas said with a little more seriousness than I had intended to rouse for such a sunny afternoon!
We decided to move onto a lighter topic as a way of intermission, and did a quickfire round of some of the Meet the Members questions:
What has been your greatest sporting moment / achievement?
“Refereeing the county hurling semi-final in 2016 between Kilmacud Crokes and O’Tooles”
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you in Scoil?
“Well the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to me happens pretty much every day when I awkwardly give members a generic ‘howya’ when they address me by my name. To anyone reading this: I’m sorry, but I’m useless with names. I’m able to remember all the kids’ names, but this takes up all my hard drive space in my brain for name memory!”
What are your favourite hobbies outside of GAA?
“Genuinely none. My life is GAA – from coaching to playing to refereeing!
What is your favourite Scoil ‘quirk’?
“Ha I’d have to say the tyre marks on the pitch – is it ‘Mossy’ or someone? The worst was the day I came down for the Easter Camp and it looked like joyriders had been rallying around the pitch – I had to check myself to make sure I was still in Clontarf or back in Cabra!”
Finally, if you could make one addition to Scoil in any way (don’t be restricted by the plausible!), what would it be?
“Easy; a hall. It would make such a difference for us if we could ensure training goes ahead for the kids so that they not only keep their skills up, but that we keep the momentum going to keep them interested!”
It was the answers to some of these questions which reminded me of Thomas’ growing reputability as a top referee.
“I started refereeing when I was 14 and just loved it,” he told me. “As I got older I started to realise that it was probably my best bet at making an appearance in Croke Park as an adult!”
Thomas did in fact made his Croke Park debut just last week, and while he’s very modest in speaking about himself I’ve come to understand just how highly regarded he is in the Dublin County Board, and that he is very much in their plans for the top gigs in the coming seasons!
Having satisfactorily lightened the mood, I decided to steer the conversation back to the Club’s work in the North Inner City schools, given how topical it is with the upcoming Oneness Gala. I wanted to understand some of the challenges we face, what we need to do to overcome them and the opportunities which lie in wait for us.
“Six of the seven schools I work with are based in town,” Thomas clarified for me. “I think it’s important that my background allows me to understand them, and what challenges they might be facing. For the most part, the kids themselves are dead keen and are all interested in GAA – the problem with the kids who don’t show up for training generally lies with the parents.”
Thomas told me about the frustrations he’s encountered with parents who just aren’t engaged in their children’s lives and how this attitude filters down to the kids themselves.
“I think if we made a real push to let all the parents know who I am by having a picture of my face, with my name and my association to Scoil in the schools it would make a big difference,” he noted.
“The bus is also huge. The St Laurence O’Toole’s bus takes kids from their school and O’Connell School out to the Club and it makes a huge difference. Once the kids are here you can see how much of a difference it makes to their lives.”
Thomas then spoke of the importance this coming together of different demographics is to everyone.
“If everyone could come up to the Clubhouse on a Saturday morning and see all these kids from different backgrounds who wouldn’t normally ever get a chance to integrate all just sitting around blending with each other, they’d understand what a special environment we’re creating,” he said with a palpable sense of pride. “At that age the kids really don’t care where you’re from and this integration really sets all of them – whether from affluent suburbs or working-class areas – up for later life.”
This is a topic which Thomas is clearly passionate about and I must admit he really began to inspire me!
“Kids just don’t criticise each other about where they’re from,” he insisted. “The under 11s are a great example of how the diverse groups rub off each other in a really great way. For example, I’ve noticed that a lot of the suburban kids have higher skills levels because they’ve been involved since nursery, but they help the other kids to bring their skill levels up. In turn, the kids from the inner city always have that bit of natural fight in them that is perhaps needed more in their areas, and so they toughen their teammates up!”
Wrapping up, I asked Thomas what his favourite part of his job was;
“Definitely the look on the kids’ faces when they see me come into the class, and knowing that I’m potentially the best part of their day,” he said with a smile. “And the look on their faces when they realise they have to go back to class – if you want to instil a love of GAA in kids then the more we offer it up as a relief from studies the better,” he laughed.
When asked for any final comments, Thomas noted:
“Well, I’m a hurling man first and I think people in Scoil need to focus a little bit more on developing young hurlers. There’s a certain amount of football skills which will develop organically but hurling and camogie takes more of a focussed effort, so I’d encourage all parents and mentors to get the kids into the habit of carrying their hurls everywhere and getting that 10 minute daily practice in.”
A hurling-first interviewee chatting to a hurling-first interviewer would always give way to a final hurling rally call. As I close I think I can hear Tommy Naughton’s unmistakeable ‘Arghhhh’ in the distance…
Thomas Gleeson has worked as a full time Games Promotion Officer for Scoil Uí Chonaill since 2016. Thomas visits seven schools which act as catchments for Scoil, with just one school located outside of the Inner City. Six of the schools are DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) with Thomas’ work widely being recognised as vital to the development of students. A proud Naomh Fionnbarra Clubman, his commitment to Scoil Uí Chonaill is hugely commendable.
Please say hello to Thomas next time you see him in the Club!
Tickets for Dublin vs Roscommon at Croke Park on Sunday 5th August are now available. Orders must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 6pm on 29th July.
- Ladies B team continue their good championship start
- Both Senior Hurling & Football teams registered big wins in the league against Kilmacud Crokes & Templeogue SS respectively.
Ladies Football B
St Judes 1-6 Scoil Ui Chonaill 2-12
The Ladies B team continued the good start to their championship campaign with a fine win against St Judes in Tymon Park.
Again, they had to call on juvenile players Eve Courtney, Caoimhe Mulligan and Holly O`Rourke and they all played their part in the victory. Lena Donnelly Sheridan continued her comeback, this time in goal where she made a number of very good saves,
Scoil were on top in the first half and a couple of late goals from Aideen Naughton and Katie O`Rourke gave them a slightly flattering 2-6 to 0-1 lead at half time. With St Judes playing down the hill, the second half was a different story. The lead was narrowed down to five points and could have been closer except for a missed penalty by Judes. There was also some fine defending from Emma Smith, Lili Kavanagh and Emily McMullen.
At this stage, the non stop running by the 2 Duracell Bears at midfield, Deirdre Egan and Melissa Courageot, restored the initiative. Scoil scored the last 4 points of the game to ease the nerves of the supporters on the line and secure a well deserved victory.