A GRAND Slam winner, an All-Star hurler, an Olympian, and a European weight lifting athlete are among those who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame at St Clement’s Redemptorist College in the city.
Twelve individuals who attended the school or had a strong sporting association with it over the past 40 years have received this honour from the 130 year-old all boys school.
Cecil Clarke accepted the award on behalf of her 91 year-old father, Paddy Reid, a member of Ireland’s Grand Slam team in 1948 and a player with Garryowen and Munster, at the ceremony accompanied by his grandson Greg. Paddy was the first rugby coach in the school in 1979, and his daughter said he would be “delighted” to accept this honour.
John Sheehan, a rugby coach in the school who started after the legendary Paddy, said the ethos of the school has always been “to try everything and not to get burnt out”.
Principal Vincent Foley said the awards acknowledge the great work done by people involved with the school in recent history.
“St Clement’s would be a school that would pride itself in catering for different sports. We use the word ecumenism in sport. We don’t focus on any one particular sport The important thing is the student and catering for the students needs, and not the pride and glory of the school. Whatever ability they have, whether it be in drama or sport, will be cultured and nurtured,” he said.
It was an added honour that Vincent’s son Mark, a winner of two All-Star awards and a teacher in the school, was among the first tranche of sports stars inducted to the hall of fame on the South Circular Road school.
Others to receive the honour were Tommy Reidy, the Adare man who represented America in the 1992 Olympic Games in badminton and is now a director of Badminton Ireland; Kieran Stout who competed in the European senior weight lifting championships while still a school boy and David Costelloe who won an All-Ireland schools soccer medal in 1980.
Twins Ger and Mark Fitzgerald were described as brothers who “epitomised the spirit of rugby in the college”.
Both played senior club rugby with Garryowen and Young Munster, while Mark was on the famous Young Munster team which won the first AIL League.
Liam Toland, who is now a rugby commentator with The Irish Times, played for the Irish schools rugby teams in all of the winning home countries games in 1989/90, and was captain of the Leinster rugby team in the 1990s. Liam, who started school in St Clement’s in 1984, said there was a greater focus in St Clement’s on sport “than just winning trophies”.
“It’s an important day of celebration. My sport happened to be rugby, and it was my favourite sport, but I played Gaelic and soccer and that was the beauty of the school - that you tried everything. You experienced a cross-section of things, which is an important part of the tapestry of any school,” he said.