Staff Versus Students – June 1982 – Basketball (The Real Story)
The annual match was fought out on June 3rd, 1982. The students were determined to prove that there is no substitute for fitness, youth and misguided optimism, while the staff were of the opinion that experience (even if it was tinged with an odd dose of senility) was their trump card (41 was the name of the game and average age of the team). On impartial observer was quoted as saying that ‘It was a game of two halves – the first was even , the second was even worse’. However, this writer was of a different opinion and in the following paragraphs will explain why.
Before the game rumors abounded, like water at a christening. One such rumour was that Mrs. Daly would miss the game due to food poisoning. Mrs. Carmody was missing as she was on retreat (one rather snide remark even said that se was out (‘footin turf’). Mr. Flaherty’s wooded leg had suspected woodworms and he was supposed to be a doubtful starter. Other such rumours were that two staff team members were taking Anabolic Steroids and Mrs Flaherty was in secret training with Moyvane Pot Holing Club.
Despite the intense media exposure, the staff team did their best to carry on as usual but as the match day came close it was obvious that everybody was ‘on edge’. Just before the official throw-in, it was finally confirmed that Mrs Dillon had lost her battle for fitness. She sustained an injury when competing in the Knockanure Superstars contest. Had she not been injured, it was confidently expected that she would have given Gerry Loftus a run for his money. Mrs Dillon is famed for her rebounding and shooting skills and her loss was a tragic blow to the team.
Coupled with this, there was an objection lodged against Mrs Williams togging out for the staff because of a ‘question of numbers’. Added to this was the loss of Mrs ‘School Tour’ McCarthy’s gear before the match, (some staff members said it was ‘borrowed’ by over-enthusiastic sixth years). Mrs McCarthy plays a ‘high fielding – long throwing game’ and was another big loss.
The Hall was packed to capacity as the staff members sprinted onto the court for the game. Mrs Prendeville was visibly nervous and she walked quickly up and down the court encouraging the players. The opening score went to the staff – Sr. Cecilia tenaciously won a rebound and with the help of Sr. Cyril mathematically worked the ball out of Mrs. ‘science’ McCarthy who accelerated horizontally up court. This well placed pass found Miss ‘Ballybunion Bomber’ Purtill and she opened the staff scoring account with economy of effort. Mr Behan, team captain, was leading the side by example and his vast experience was evident not just in his geographic positioning on court but also by the gray in his tousled hair.
At this point special mention must be given to Sr. Consolata who was really ‘on song’ and she showed that she was at home with basketball scores as she is with musical ones. The performance of Mrs ‘newly wed’ McCarthy was cautious to say the least but she had another ‘match’ to think of.
Nevertheless she brought ‘sparkle’ to the occasion (her engagement ring). After a nervous start, when he nearly swallowed the ball on a rebound, Mr. Tarrant eventually ‘came to grips’ with his game. Mrs Carmody showed no ill-effect of either her alleged retreat or the solid fuel alternative. To say that she was ‘inspired’ would be an understatement – she showed the crowd that she was equally as good, if not better, on her feet as she was on her knees. Mr. Flaherty and Mrs Flaherty (no relation) were ticking along nicely and Sr. Angela was defending stoutly (for a pioneer). Miss Hayes treated the crowd to an exhibition of footwork which could be matched only by Fred Astaire or Charles Haughey answering Brian O’Farrell’s questions.
Off court, great work was being done by our ‘back room boys’ Sr. Gemma, Mrs Hanrahan, Sister Anthony, Sr. Eileen and Mrs Foley. Sr. Gemma was team manager and she roared on her team with great gusto. Mrs Hanrahan was technical advisor to the team. Sr. Anthony and Sr. Coleman in charge of ‘first-aid’ and were the busiest teachers at the game. Sr. Eileen wrote the captain’s winning speech in Irish for Mr Behan. Mrs Foley was the official staff supporter and she enthusiastically lent herself to the part.
After a tough contest the staff emerged as winners and will gloat over the victory for sometime to come. For the students there is always next year and the charming possibility of ‘getting ‘their favorite teacher before they leave.