Minister Donohoe presents sports awards

St Declan's honours its sportsmen with gaelic football, boxing and athletic awards
04-March-23
Sports presentations

Sporting heroes honoured

(All photographs courtesy of Joe Gavin)

Website link: Frank Gavin Photography Dorset Street

The 2022 second year gaelic football team together with Oliver Hopkins and Lee McEvoy were honoured during a medal presentation and award ceremony held in St Declan’s College last Friday. Medals and trophies were presented by past pupil, local Dublin Central TD and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe.

It was a lovely occasion with which to mark the fantastic achievements of our Gaelic football team and two outstanding individual athletes.

The team was managed and coached by Mr Smith and Mr Connell benefiting enormously from their playing and tactical expertise. The development of the team throughout last year was evident culminating in a fantastic semi-final performance in John Paul II park against Terenure College. On a day when the game seemed to have been beyond them they showed amazing grit and determination scoring two fantastic goals in the final minutes which catapulted them into the Dublin Final.

The final played in St Patrick’s College Drumcondra was another memorable game. It was clear from the outset though that our semi-final experience would stand to us. Determination and a never say die attitude was running through each player's veins. It needed to be in a titanic struggle against Malahide CC which saw Declan’s win by two points, making them worthy Dublin champions.

Mr Smith in talking about the team at the ceremony spoke about the calibre of players he had the privilege of working with. Character is central to anyone involved in sport and it is clear this exists on an individual and collective level with these young players.

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In his speech Minister Donohoe explained how sport in school helped form him. He described his own experience of running The Bogies as a ritual PE exercise and how it elicited both a personal and group response. Summoning every piece of physical and mental courage he could muster he finished the challenge for the first and only time on his final attempt in sixth year to the applause and encouragement of his classmates. It is a memory which has stayed with him all of these years and a great metaphor for what education in St Declan’s instils in its students.

Individual trophies were presented to Oliver Hopkins (athletics) and Lee McEvoy (boxing).

Oliver Hopkins

Mr Burke, who coached Oliver, spoke about his many racing successes in the maroon and sky singlet in both cross country and track and field. A transcript of his speech is given below:

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“Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I present the next award to a truly outstanding athlete. Joining St. Declan's in 2018, this individual has been a force to be reckoned with in athletics from a young age, having been involved in the sport since he was just 8 years old.

He first competed at Nationals when he was U13, representing his club in turbo javelin, and since then he has gone on to receive many cross-country National medals for his club, Donore Harriers.

Before the pandemic hit, he won the Dublin Indoors 1500m on the track, but unfortunately, the Nationals were cancelled due to COVID-19. He also won the Schools All Ireland Cross Country Championships during this time. However, he again missed out on the opportunity to represent his country due to COVID-19, but he didn't let that stop him. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this athlete has continued to push himself to new heights.

After the pandemic, he competed in the Dublin Mountain Races and represented Ireland with great distinction. He then competed in a road 5k on New Year's Day 2022, running it in under 16 minutes at just 16 years of age, a remarkable achievement.

At the next School Cross Country, he won the Dublin Championships and once again went on to represent Ireland at the Nationals, winning a silver team medal. He then represented St. Declan's College in the Schools' Track and Field Championships, where he competed in the 1500m and became the All Ireland Champion once more, representing Ireland once again.

Oliver has continued to strive for excellence, narrowly missing out on the qualifying time to compete in the U18 European Championships by mere seconds.

His achievements are a testament to his hard work, talent and determination. Today, we, at St Declan’s, are proud to present this award to Oliver Hopkins, in recognition of his outstanding achievements in both cross country and athletics. We wish him continued success in all his future sporting endeavours. Congratulations, Oliver!"

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Lee McEvoy

Ms O’Reilly had the honour of speaking about Lee Mc Evoy (Avona BC) who together with Roy Colgan represented Ireland in the World Boxing championships in La Nucia, Spain last November.

Boxing in the lightweight (60kg) category he had a particularly long journey to the medals circle having to win four fights to ensure a bronze at the very least.

Lee, a southpaw, defeated the best Turkey has to offer as well as a fighter from the traditionally strong Azerbaijan before out pointing Puerto Rico’s Carlos Jamil De Leon Castro to claim his bronze. The skilful 17-year-old wasn’t deemed as one of the major medal hopes prior to traveling to Spain but came of age on the International stage and claimed a medal in a talent packed and heavily populated weight class.

No doubt we will hear a lot more about each of these young men in the future.

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