Here in Bennekerry N.S. we recognise that Sport is very much part of our culture and touches nearly everyone’s life to some degree. Getting children involved in sports has many benefits. Through the P.E. curriculum, all pupils will have opportunities to experience a variety of activities relating to the six strands - Dance, Gymnastics, Games, Outdoor and Adventure Activities, Aquatics and Athletics.
We also seek to promote sports in other ways and teams from the school participate in many competitions in disciplines such as Gaelic Football, Hurling, Camogie, Soccer, Tennis, Athletics, Basketball, Rugby and Spikeball. We have had considerable success over recent years in many of these competitions as outlined below.
We are fortunate in that we have wonderful links with clubs in the local area and regularly have coaches from these clubs visit the school to share their expertise and skills. At present the school/club link between Palatine GAA and ourselves sees Martin Hosey take our Junior Infants through to 2nd class for Gaelic Football. Coaches from Carlow Town Hurling Club and Setanta promote Hurling and Camogie and Leinster Rugby provide coaching sessions for 4th-6th classes. Students from the F.A.I. Soccer programme in I.T. Carlow visit in the final term.
We are an Active School, and while a number of children enjoy the competitive edge of some sports, our aim is to promote physical movement for all our pupils. We do this through a range of fun activities such as Music Mondays, 2@ 2,10 at 10, Fund Day Fridays, Go Noodle, Run Around Europe, Active Schools Week etc. In an effort to include all our pupils, we have borrowed tiny balance bikes from Co. Carlow Sports Partnership and teamed up with the rowing club who facilitated indoor rowing sessions for the older pupils. We place great emphasis on promoting an active lifestyle, as being on the move helps children to stay healthy and it also builds athleticism and endurance. We believe that playing sports can help improve mental well-being, reduce anxiety and strengthen bones. Through sport children learn a sense of fair play and co-operation as there will always be winners and losers. Competition is part of the game, but it is through winning and losing that children learn sportsmanship and how to overcome adversity. Learning how to deal with things that don’t go your way, like missed shots or an unfortunate bounce of the ball, helps children to grow and mature. As an added bonus, participation in sport often leads to the formation of lasting friendships and the development of good communication skills, a sense of community and a respect for team mates and coaches. Even athletes in individual sports learn to work as a team with their coach and make lasting friendships with others in their sport.
Ms. Tomlinson co-ordinates the sports programme in the school and is regularly helped out by other members of staff. Every year we run an Autumn League for pupils from 4th-6th class so that everybody who is interested can partake. Over the years we have found that many pupils who were not involved up to that point, went on to play for the school or joined local clubs.
Our Board of Management and Parents’ Association contribute greatly to our efforts in promoting sport as they have fund-raised endlessly and invested heavily to provide top of the range facilities including our beautiful playground and superb all-weather pitch.
Recent Sporting Success:
Cumann na mBunscol: In 2017 our girls Gaelic Football team began what has been an amazing run of success when they beat the Gaelscoil to take the Division 1 title. This was the first of a “three in a row” as they went on to take the title in 2018 and 2019 also. In fact, our boys Gaelic Football team were also Division 1 winners in 2018 and again in 2019 so this year marked the “double double” of successes.
Buoyed up by the football success in 2018, it was decided to enter a hurling team in the schools competition for the first time. The pupils, staff and parents were delighted and excited when this inaugural team tasted immediate success as they ran out winners in the Division 1 Cumann na mBunscol hurling final.
Girls and Boys Cumann na mBunscol Football teams 2019
Not to be outdone, the girls opted to play in the camogie competition in the spring of 2019. Once again a team from Bennekerry N.S. emerged victorious and an incredible record was set in the county as our school held the Division 1 title in all four disciplines, boys’ football, girls’ football, hurling and camogie in the same school year.
Camogie, Hurling and Football winner in Glór nan Gael Division Finals school year 2018-19
This has certainly never been done before in county Carlow and we suspect may never have been done in any county in the country. We are open to correction though so feel free to let us know if you know of any other school with similar success rates. In the Glór na nGael final in 2019, The boys retained the trophy for the second year in a row while the girls were just beaten by Graiguecullen, denying us the double double. Nonetheless, we were proud of all our players and the way they played.
Although our soccer players have not reached the dizzying heights of 2009 when our girls won the FAI 5-a-side All-Ireland competition, we have had a number of teams enter the competition each year and have, on many occasions, reached the Co. Carlow playoffs
We have fared better in Basketball and won the girls schools competition in 2018 and again in 2019, while the boys team was just beaten by a very strong team from Gaelscoil Eoghain Uí Thuairisc in the 2019 final.