Cross country champions from Móinín na gCíseach

Galway Community College in Móinín na gCíseach opened on September 1 1969. Jack Mahon was the first principal and among the staff were vice-principal Tom Gallagher, Philomena Burke, Joe Rooney, Peter Keady, Seán O’Donnell, Noel Carpenter, Joan Ryan, Myra Ryan, and Philip Cribbin. The aim was to create a caring atmosphere where students were and are encouraged and helped to develop their unique talents and gifts, by providing the academic and vocational skills that enable them to attain their maximum potential and participate fully as good citizens in society.

Since then the school has made a huge contribution to Galway life, with many students going on to successful careers in teaching and business and in many other ways

The initial enrolment was 171 students, and the official opening was on May 4 1970. A new state of the art extension, including a library, was built in 1980. Peter Giles was the first caretaker, and he recalls that turf was burned to heat the school. There was a big hollow where the pitches are behind the school and this had to be filled with soil, which cost £3 a load. The erection of the sports hall and the development of the pitch contributed greatly to the organisation of all games.

Sport was always high on the agenda, and various fundraisers were organised to raise funds to buy gear for the various teams. The 1970s were lean years on the sports field, but since then the school has enjoyed many notable successes in hurling, football, and the sport we feature today, athletics.

Our first team photograph shows the Connacht Colleges senior cross country champions of 1978. They are, back row: Brendan Higgins, Seamus Cahalan, Tony Allen, and Conrad Conneely. In front are coach Mick Roche, Tom Kelly, Martin Hanley, Seamus Coughlan, Jimmy Fallon (who was an All Ireland cross country champion ), and Jack Mahon, school principal.

Our second team were senior girls’ All-Ireland schools cross country champions in 1981. They are, from left: Norann Flaherty, Geraldine Lally, Mary Folan, Marena Corcoran, and Mick Roche (coach ).

The Connacht Schools Cross Country Championships for this year take place today in the grounds of St Mary’s College, starting at 12 noon. There will be eight races in all with winners going through to the All-Ireland finals, and possibly being selected for the national team. Anyone who is interested and would like to watch is welcome to attend.

Incidentally, the translation of Móinín na gCíseach is ‘an improvised pathway or road laid over a small soft boggy patch’. They obviously did not need smart traffic lights in those days.

The Old Galway Society will host a lecture this evening at 8.30pm in the Mercy School Newtownsmyth. The title is ‘The History of Renmore Barracks’ and it will be given by Bryan Smyth. The barracks played an important part in the history of Galway and nobody knows the subject better than Bryan. All are welcome.

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