St. Mary’s BNS Ferrybank

Schools Description

Recent years have been very lean in terms of trophies in the school. If success was only measured in terms of winning titles then there wouldn’t be too many successful schools. While it’s very good for morale there’s more to playing sport than winning. At school level we would like to win and we set out each year to win. However, it is much more important to play and to participate in the proper manner. It is great to see the boys in the school play with a smile on their faces and to enjoy playing gaelic football and hurling. It is also great to see the boys practise, improve their basic skills and play in the right way. It’s a pity that everyone doesn’t adhere to the Code of Ethics for children’s sport.

In Ferrybank the school has very close ties with the GAA club. In recent times there has been real emphasis on improving skill levels. Club Coach Paul Martin visits the school regularly and all the boys from Junior Infants to sixth class get the opportunity to practise their skills and play little matches. This is the result of the great work being done by club Chairman Nicky Heffernan and his committee, not forgetting Gary Ryan and other coaches before that.

Another initiative of the club in recent years has been to present hurleys to a specific class. Waterford county players John Mullane and Kevin Moran were the special guests on two occasions. We have also had visits from several other county players such as Dan Shanahan, Eoin Kelly and a really memorable one from Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh. Eoin McGrath brought the Allianz National Hurling League trophy following Waterford’s victory in 200. The Liam McCarthy Cup has visited the school several times but it was brought by players from the victorious Kilkenny teams. Of course we have our own county hurler in the school now as Jamie Nagle is on the teaching staff.

Another big connection between school and club is our own class league competitions.  ‘Limerick, Clare, Cork and Tipperary’ play in our third, fourth and fifth and sixth class leagues. Why no Waterford or Kilkenny teams? You’ll have to ask Ms Tuohy that. The senior competition is for the ‘Johnny Collins Shield’, named after a true Ferrybank stalwart.

In Cumann na mBunscoileanna competitions we haven’t done well in the last three or four years. We won a title when our own Ms Tuohy was Chairperson and too emotional to present the trophy to our captain, Shane Dineen. A year before that our senior gaelic football team, captained by Keith Power, won the Eastern title. In 2006 our best hurling team of the noughties won the Eastern title but unfortunately lost the county final. That team included players of the calibre of Cormac Heffernan, Damian Ahearne, Sam Lawless, Kevin Hurley, Neil Wemyss and Mark Russell. Cormac has been a member of the Waterford county minor panel for the last two years and Damian was on this year’s team. It really is great to see that most of these as well as Seamus Burtchaell are regular members of the Ferrybank intermediate team. MJ Sutton was a member of the winning Waterford Tony Forristal team in 2010.

Prior to that our best best hurling team was in 1999. Our team won the Eastern title by defeating Dunhill in the final. In a very emotional moment our captain, Shane Ryan, donated the trophy to Dunhill in memory of their former principal, Declan Comerford, who had sadly died earlier that year. We had a great day later that year when we were invited to Dunhill for a rematch which we also won. We also had a great day in Fraher Field when we won the county final. Damien Heffernan, Eoin O’Neill, Mark McGuinness, Padraig Flynn, Shane Ryan, Kevin ‘Goosie’ Roche, Cormac Tierney, Eddie McKenna, Shane Anderson, Paul O’Brien, Ian Maley, James Murphy, Jason Hennessy, David Ryan and Paul O’Neill were the players on that panel. That was indeed a superb year for the school as we also won the gaelic football Eastern title. It was also great for teacher Jack Kennedy who had put so much into school teams over the years. Sadly, he died on 15th August 2004.

The teachers in the school led by our gaelic games co-ordinator, Ms Noreen Tuohy, are doing a great job. Word is that in a year or two our teams will once again be a major force.