PRESENTATION Brothers College were today celebrating a historic hurling victory for the rugby powerhouse.
After entering the U16 ½ grade for the first time, PBC bridged a gap going back to 1923 to reach the Munster final. And they made no mistake against Borrisokane Community College on the big stage.
With captain Ethan Twomey from St Finbarr's in exceptional form, Douglas duo Daniel Squires and Mark Howell sharing 1-2 and James Dwyer, Ballincollig, and Blackrock's Fionn Coleman striking three points from play apiece, they were worthy winners, 1-18 to 0-12. The PBC rearguard only coughed up two points from play.
After collecting the Darra Uí Dhonabháin Cup, Twomey singled out John Connaughton for his role in driving hurling in the school. The school accountant, who still lines out for Ballincollig in both codes, is joined by Kate O’Neill, Caleb Sheehan and Enda O’Regan in the management team.
"The previous Principal Mr White encouraged hurling and football to come back because it was an old tradition," said Connaughton. "Pres were very strong in the GAA in the 1920s and the 1930s. The new Principal Mr Barry has kept it going and encouraged it to continue.
“Rugby is number one in the school and it will always be number one. But we feel there is an outlet for boys who are not big into rugby to play other sports. The Principals have encouraged that. We are hoping we will be competitive in the lower grades as time goes on. We have a mixture of rugby players, GAA players and soccer players."
After almost 80 years with no hurling in Pres, they've made significant strides in recent years. There was a spread of club represented, 11 in total, including Ballinhassig, Erin's Own, Midleton, Blarney, Ballygavan, Glen Rovers, Nemo and Ballinora.
“This year we have senior football and hurling and U16 ½ in hurling. Last year we only had senior football and hurling. This is a new team this year, this is our first time entering this competition. The younger boys coming through wanted to enter this. We felt we had the players to do it.
“The Vice-Principal told me that when Cork won the All-Ireland in 2010 which was the last one we won, that our school was the most represented among past pupils on the team. Not all of them did the Leaving in Pres. None of them played for the school because there was no school team.
“Today is a great day for Pres and there are a lot of teachers with GAA backgrounds that have been encouraging it.”