Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh has made a very successful return to the Corn Ui Mhuiri (Munster Post-Primary Schools Senior Football Championship) after dropping a grade in 2012.
The Bishopstown secondary school was drawn in Group 4 along with High School, Clonmel, Bandon’s Hamilton High School, and city rivals Coláiste Chriost Ri.
They successfully negotiated their way out of the group following a series of strong performances that propelled them to the last eight of the championship. They are now scheduled to play Skibbereen Community School on Wednesday, January 18.
Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh is managed by Castlehaven senior football goalkeeper Anthony Seymour. Anthony memorably won a Corn Ui Mhuiri medal with the school in 2005 after they defeated St Brendan’s.
The Bishopstown school has enjoyed a very strong start to life back in the Corn Ui Mhuiri as they clinched their quarter-final berth in style after they topped their group. Their proud manager has been thrilled with their ‘hard work’ to date.
“It was a great achievement to get out of the group and to finish in top place was an added bonus. The lads have done everything asked of them since day one. They have been great to work with so it's the reward they deserve for their hard work and commitment to date,” he said.
Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh won their three group games against tough opponents and against varying weather conditions which enabled them to secure their quarter-final berth. Anthony was pleased to get out of the group stages.
"Against Clonmel especially the underfoot conditions and weather were atrocious, but the team showed great resolve against severe elements to see out the game to start the group with two points.
“In the second game, they had to show their resolve to hang in there against a very strong and more experienced Hammies team. They had to come from five points behind to win while the third game was a local derby against Coláiste Chriost Ri. The team showed great maturity to perform and see out that game as well,” he added.
Another past pupil, Brian Coffey who is involved with Bishopstown, and Sophie Long who plays with Aghada, make up the management team with Anthony. The team manager is full of praise for the role Brian and Sophie play with the senior team.
“We all bring something different to the preparation and game days. Without their assistance, ideas, and input the team wouldn't be in the place it's in right now.”
The Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh footballers continued to train hard during the festive season in the build-up to the much-anticipated quarter-final tie against Skibbereen Community School. Anthony is looking forward to the clash next Wednesday.
“We are looking forward to the quarter-final game. It didn't matter who we drew after coming out of the group stage.
"It is very exciting to be training for this big game with a chance to progress to the semi-final stages. We have played Skibb a couple of times in the last 12 months so both sides have an idea what the other team is about.”
St Francis College, Rochestown was the last Cork team to reach the final of the Corn Ui Mhuiri in 2015, while Coláiste Chriost Ri remains the last Cork team to win the championship back in 2011.
Anthony is delighted that five Cork school teams have made the last eight of this year’s tournament.
“It is great and at least with our draw, there will definitely be a Cork school in the semi-final of the competition. Should Rochestown make it to the semi-final then you'd be guaranteed a Cork school making the final from our side of the draw as well.
"The competition offers a great experience for young players in Cork to be getting at this age. To have five Cork schools in the quarter-final stages shows the great work that is currently being done in clubs and underage divisional squads.”
Spioraid Naoimh’s last game in the province’s top-level football competition came in November 2011, when they lost to Chriost Ri in their final group game. Anthony is thrilled they are back playing the elite school teams in Munster.
"Our aim was to compete and get out of the group and that’s where we are now. There has been a lot of work in the background over the last six or so years and hopefully, this will be sustainable to ensure that we keep competing on a regular basis.”
The Castlehaven senior football goalkeeper has enjoyed coaching the Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh senior footballers and said he would like to concentrate on coaching exclusively when his playing career concludes.
“I have enjoyed it. It’s the next best thing to playing. My best memories of school were playing football so I'm enjoying being able to help this group make their own memories. I enjoy learning especially through sport so I might give coaching more time when I can't play anymore,” he added.