Soccer-Celebrating 10 years of Soccer in St.Aidan`s

Soccer-Celebrating 10 years of Soccer in St.Aidan`s

This September will mark the tenth anniversary of the reintroduction of a school soccer team at St.Aidan’s C.B.S. after a 21-year hiatus. In his first year in the position, former principal Brendan Harrington approved a request from Mr.Sheridan and Mr.Humphreys to enter an U19 team in the Dr.Tony O’Neill cup, a knockout competition that continues right to All Ireland level.

Captained by Gavin Mc Cabe and including some highly talented players like Josh O’ Hanlon, Luke Kelly and Eoin Mooney, the team were beaten narrowly in the third round by an experienced St.Declan’s CBS. Nonetheless, it had been a successful experiment and an indication that with such prestigious schoolboy clubs as St.Kevin’s, Home Farm, Tolka Rovers and Stella Maris all roughly within a one mile radius of the school, silverware and success would not remain strangers to the school for very long.

Deputy Principal Ann Marie Dunne, also in her first year in the role, was immensely supportive and generous in her accommodation of this new venture, arranging supervision for an already hectic and ultra-ambitious extra-curricular school programme.

When past pupils Michael Kelly and Stephen Brown returned as student-teachers the following year, they brought with them an enthusiasm and attention to detail in their mentoring that was to advance the profile and success of our team.

In a true “ré-órga” of sporting success for the school - in which we would be named not once -but twice- ‘Evening Herald Sports School of the Year”, our soccer team missed out narrowly on replicating the remarkable (and brilliantly relentless) Dublin, Provincial and National victories of our hurlers, Gaelic footballers, athletes and basketballers. At every turn, the very best example was set and displayed to them by their friends and teachers in St.Aidan’s.

With the opening of the magnificent new Sports Hall at the beginning of the Academic Year 2014/15 following our “annus mirabilis”, not to mention the extraordinary amount of silverware on display, a determination among our players to no longer remain ‘beggars at the banquet’ was palpable.

St.Aidan’s, St. David’s CBS Artane and Ard Scoil Rís had been referred to for decades as “The Bermuda Triangle” among FAI school officials, as none of the three schools ever appeared likely to depart from tradition and enter a representative team in FAI Schools competition.

It also implied an appreciation of the vast and unrealised talent among their respective student bodies.

It was, therefore, with bitter regret that the Metropolitan final of 2015 against St.David’s held at Home Farm F.C. saw our team suffer a 3-2 loss at the hands of the other competition newcomers.

Despite twice taking the lead through two magnificent headers by captain Jeff Rafter, St. David’s snatched from our jaws what is arguably the most fiercely contested Regional prize in front of a packed and boisterous crowd in Whitehall. Not even an earlier text message of encouragement from Liam Brady himself and read out at half-time by the coaches to the lads for added motivation could turn fortune back in our favour.

John Connell distinguished himself as the conductor of the legions of our supporters who really rose to the occasion that day and it meant a great deal to the team. We hope that the inclusion of that day’s Man of the Match Andy Gorman in the St. Aidan’s X1 of the Past decade below will make up for the disappointment of not winning “The Liam Brady Perpetual Trophy” that year.

Despite serving the school magnificently over a three year period, 2014-16 saw some of its most gifted footballers pass through without a winner’s medal; goalkeeper Gavin King, Garrett Byrne, Aaron O’Neill, Jeff Rafter, Andy Gorman, Dylan Buckley and Jamie Lennon to name but a small few.

With the onset of the 2016/17 year, we welcomed His Excellency Michael D. Higgins, a keen Galway United and League of Ireland supporter, to open the brand new All-Weather pitch along with our neighbours St.Kevin’s Boys. After a five year period of every game in effect being an “away” fixture and the inevitable expense and effort that this entailed, our team would at last have their own pitch and the richly deserved support of their fellow St.Aidan’s students.

Perhaps the psychological effect of planting this flag and having a place to call home, as well as the welcome position the school now found itself in to enter a younger team in competitions, ushered in the extraordinarily successful period that ensued and has endured to date. The first of these arrived in March of 2017 with a Senior Leinster Cup victory over Coláiste Éanna but not before a most dramatic extra-time period and penalty shoot-out.

It was Darren Barry who wrote himself into the St.Aidan’s history books, finishing emphatically, the crucial spot kick to uproarious reaction and chaotic scenes in the rain. As the saying goes; “The difference between first and second is not a difference in degree but a difference in kind” and the wilfulness of players like Stephen Nolan, Keith Campbell, Jamie Delaney, Eric Whelan and Aaron Malone could well have proved that difference that seminal year.

Despite losing agonisingly (1-0) to Bishopstown in the All-Ireland semi-final in Waterford just four days later (after most unreasonable and exhausting fixture congestion) the year was an immensely successful one - with so much more to follow.

This was also the year that Messrs Brown and Sheridan entered an U-17 team who took no time at all in securing a Metropolitan North League title in their very first venture. Future St. Aidan’s footballer of the Year Jack McMahon (2019), Schoolboy Internationals Gavin O’ Brien and Ronan Kilkenny and their teammates hardly blinked in taking over this mantle and to date have known nothing other than success and a permanent place at the business end of FAI schools competition.

Most impressive of all has been the transition to U15 football, again under the stewardship of mentors Brown and Sheridan and the school’s biggest prize of all - The U15 Leinster and All-Ireland titles of 2019.

Mentored again by Mr.Sheridan and Mr.Brown, captained by another Ireland Schoolboy International in Sean Grehan and marshalled in goal by Noah Jauny, who has since left to attend a French Academy of Excellence, our most junior of representative teams ultimately delivered this stunning national conquest in their first attempt.

While a national title has, to date, proved a bridge too far for our U19s, the 2018/19 season was our most successful yet for this grouping. Jack Mc Mahon captained us to our first Metropolitan North, Metropolitan and Leinster Champions titles, all at A level, playing a hectic brand of the fashionable ‘gegenpressing’ that won many admirers among opposition coaches and players.

The cutting edge of this team featured TY football programme graduates Luke Hennessy and Oisín Gannon, who along with Gavin O’Brien, frequently made the difference in this long but rewarding campaign. Viewers of ‘Match of the Day’ will still hear commentators speak of “Pre-War” and “Post-War” records and eras, in reference of course to the Second World War and the 6-year period in which English professional football was interrupted and uncontested.

Mercifully, it would appear that the “Post-Covid 19” period is almost upon us but many fine St.Aidan’s footballers have been denied the opportunity to represent their school and make similar memories of their own for the best part of two years now. This is unfortunate (if inevitable) but our firm hope and expectation is that for most of you, your most fulfilling moments representing (and supporting) the school lie just around the corner.

Among those who had the misfortune to miss considerable game time for the school due to the pandemic, is the most recent recipient of “The Liam Brady Perpetual Trophy”, Kieron O’Byrne. Kieron is no less worthy a recipient of this award, however. In fact, he is among its most worthy recipients.

Ever the gentleman, but holding his own at U19 level since Transition Year, Kieron’s bravery, athleticism, innate skill, sportsmanship and attitude over the years secured this award for him earlier this month and was presented to him by his mentor Mr.Kelly.

Treise leat, a Chiaráin!

Past pupils and members of the broader school community may remember the representative team of 1989/90 trained and mentored by former T.D. Tommy Broughan. By all accounts it was a clandestine operation with training and ‘home’ matches taking place in Albert College -the students turning out in Ascoli of Italy colours rather than the traditional white with red bar colours.

At the time, Tommy, who was Guest of Honour at our Awards Ceremony in 2014, sought Liam’s help, who in typically generous fashion sent a full set of shirts from his playing days in Italy, though at this point he was back in London, nearing the end of an illustrious career and playing for West Ham United. St. Aidan's were narrowly defeated in The Leinster Final of 1989/90 by Marian College in Tolka Park.

Others will be better placed to recall if they were there, as I suspect, playing in the blue and black stripes of I Neraazzurri, Inter Milan, or the black and white stripes of “The Old Lady”, Juventus….. or indeed Ascoli! In any event, Liam’s boundless generosity continues to this day. He sponsors the trophy named in his honour, and much more besides where the team’s requirements are concerned.

Quite some time before the reintroduction of soccer to St.Aidan’s, he was Guest of Honour at our Awards Ceremony back in 2006 and gave a highly entertaining interview to the evening’s compère, former staff member and Athletics coach Peter Mc Dermott. Perhaps another visit is on the cards.

Finally, all mentors would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Senior Management; our former Principal Tom Shannon and our Deputy-Principals Ann Marie Dunne and Oliver Deneher who perform miracles around The Events Book on a regular basis and offer enduring support at all times.

Furthermore, we would like to express our appreciation to our ever-obliging ancillary staff members Tony O’Sullivan, Seán Moore and Debbie Hutch. Not once in ten years have we arrived to find our kits unwashed or unprepared for an outing, however short the notice might have been. To have done so much for us and our teams is a real privilege, and your contribution to all the success of the sports teams over the years is immeasurable.

Le mórmheas is buíochas ó chroí,



After 18 long months of suspended extra-curricular activities, the anticipation upon our return after the summer holidays was palpable among St.Aidan’s students. While others endured much more at the hands of the pandemic, the time lost out on school games was difficult for students, so many of whom are in their essence representing the school on the field of play. Both our U19 and U15 teams took up precisely where they had left off and enjoyed fine successful seasons.


Metropolitan North Champions - beat St. Paul's 2-1 with best individual performances from Tommy Dillon, Tadhg O'Brien’s immense semi-final performance and Daniel Lowry with several crucial away goals during the campaign.


Our U19s won the Metropolitan North Division for the second time in 3 years but had no luck on their side in the Metropolitan final against Blackrock College at Tolka Park.

Nominees for Footballer of the Year were James Moloney, Jack Power, Darragh Kane and for the first time ever, a Third Year - Tadhg O’Brien.

While Jack Power deservedly won the award, a special award was presented to Sean Grehan for achievements in International Schoolboy Football.

Roll Of Honour

U19 Leinster Cup A 2017

U19 Metropolitan North A and Metropolitan A Winners 2019 and 2022

U19 Leinster Champions League 2019

U15 All Ireland A Cup Champions 2019

U15 Leinster A Cup Champions 2019

U15 Metropolitan North Winners 2022

U17 Metropolitan North League Cup winners 2017

Winners of the “Liam Brady Perpetual Award”

(Footballer of the Year)

2013: Josh O’Hanlon

2014: Joshua Peyton

2015: Jeff Rafter

2016: Jamie Lennon

2017: Keith Campbell

2018: Stephen Nolan

2019: Jack McMahon

2020: Ronan Kilkenny

2021: Kieron O’Byrne

2022: Jack Power


November 2014 U19 Team


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