Jimmy’s Winning Matches, or so the song says of Jim McMcGuinness’s phenomenal success with Donegal footballers.
Phenomenal is the only way to describe, too, the success enjoyed by the boys and girls of Scoil Mhuire NS, Glenties - Jim McGuinness’s old primary school - on the sports fields of Donegal, Ulster and Ireland over the past few years. It must be a Glenties thing!
This is especially so of the girls of Scoil Mhuire. The schools 5-aside soccer team were recently crowned Avia Health FAI Primary School 5s National Champions for small schools.
The team of Bronagh Gallagher, Amy Boyle Carr, Shana Quinn, Danielle McDevitt, Niamh O’Donnell, Orlagh McGuinness, Sophie Connaughton and Niamh Agnew won the A section for small sized schools, retaining the title they won last year for the first time.
The final, which was held in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, was Scoil Mhuire’s third final appearance in-a-row. The school were the runners-up in 2011.
For the second year in-a-row also, the school had the player of the tournament in Danielle McDevitt, who scored five goals in three games, one less than last year’s winner of player of the tournament, Amy Boyle Carr.
In the finals Scoil Mhuire competed with teams from Galway, Longford and Clare.
“It’s phenonimal; there is no other way to descibe the succcess these girls have enjoyed,” said school principal, John McCann, who is also the sports co-ordinator at Scoil Mhuire.
“For a small school in South West Donegal, to take on the best in Ulster and Ireland and to come out on top two years in-a-row, and to be runners-up the other year, and to win three Ulsters in-a-row is a brilliant achievement.
“I’m not sure if it is a record nationally but it certainly must be one for Donegal. The girls have only lost two games in the last three years. They lost the very first game,in this year’s finals against the school from Longford and the 2011 final. Other than those two games they have won all the other games they have taken part in and that also includes the Ulster Primary School’s Indoor 5s last year.
The Scoil Mhuire girls won the Ulster 5s in Cookstown, to become the first Donegal school to do so.
Success at the school is not just confined to the soccer fields. The girls are also chasing a fourth Donegal Cumann na mBuncoil success in five years when the final of that competition take place in the next week or so.
And not to be outdone the boys at the school have enjoyed their time in the limelight too in recent year.
The boys won the Cumann na mBunscoil 5-a-side indoor hurling and have represented Donegal in Ulster and also competed in Cumann na mBunscoil football competitions.
And their success played no small part in Scoil Mhuire being named the Cumann Na mBunscol School of the Year for Year for 2012, in the four to eight teacher category. Scoil Mhuire is an eight teacher school.
“It is important to emphasise that the Cumann na mBunscol National Award was an All-Ireland 32 county award which is again a very significant achievement for a small school in South West Donegal; to be selected from all the four to eight teacher schools in the 32 counties, which I imagine is a large number, is a huge achievement,” explains John McCann.
The school were presented with their award at a special presentation ceremony, in Croke Park in December, and the plaque that denotes the success is up on the school wall.
Rugby and athletics are also promoted at the school and Scoil Mhuire was named the Donegal Primary School of the Year by the Donegal Sports Star award judges in 2010 and at this year’s Awards, Amy Boyle Carr picked up the Primary School Athlete of the Year for 2012 at the Donegal Sports Star Awards.
And with ex pupil Jimmy continuing to Win Matches, Scoil Mhuire and success on the sports fields looks set to also go hand in hand for many years to come.