2nd Level School of the Year St. Declans College
St Declan’s College was founded on the Nephin Road in 1960 by the Irish Christian Brothers satisfying the demand for a boys’ voluntary secondary school in the local areas of Cabra, the Navan Road and Blanchardstown stretching beyond into County Meath. The broad geographical range of primary schools which fed into the college brought students together from various backgrounds bringing a rich diversity to its academic and sporting development.
As with all Christian Brothers schools the provision of a holistic education was central to its philosophy. No sooner had its doors opened then the staff mainly of Brothers set about embedding a strong academic standard balanced by a healthy engagement in co-curricular activity. To the forefront was athletics, gaelic games and basketball. Such was the work they put into the students in their care that St Declan’s soon established its name among the top schools in the city. In those early years Brothers Morgan, Caffrey and Clavin were on the staff enthusiastically putting countless hours into the training and preparation of teams generating a true passion for all things Irish.
In the local area Naomh Fionnbarra, St Brigid’s and Eoghan Ruadh were already established GAA clubs. St Oliver Plunkett’s was founded in the same year as the school and in many respects school and club grew up together each benefiting from their respective triumphs and success. Very soon young hurlers and footballers were emerging who would find prominence on the county and National stage. Bernard (Senior) and Jim Brogan were members of a large family who backboned many a team for the school. In later years Ruadhri Boland, Peter Sweeney, John Flanagan, Ronan Doherty, Paul Gannon and Enda McManus would emerge as shining lights.
The end of the nineties leading into the new millennium brought a golden period for gaelic games in the school reflected in its success in both codes at county and provincial level. It was during this time that Alan, Bernard, James and Paul Brogan, Barry Cahill, and Declan Lally all played, setting down a standard for future teams to follow. Development squads emerged providing a pathway for fast tracking young talent into the county scene. Ian Franzoni, Gareth Smith, Stuart Mullen, Peadar and Michael Carton, Alan Nolan to name a few were products of this system.
However, the real strength of a school can be measured in how it builds teams and allows the ordinary player develop. The strength of any team is the spirit that is built and the extraordinary bond that develops within and between its players. In that way a whole host of students look fondly back on their school days and the many matches played in the Bogies and trips down the country. St Declan’s prides itself in the time it puts into fostering such a spirit. Coaches such as John Caffrey, Senan Connell, Brian Avery, Vincent Teehan, Luke Brady, Diarmuid Ó Luanaigh and Seán O Laighin have given selflessly to ensure the tradition of excellence in gaelic games flourished.
Today current senior Dublin players Donal Burke, Eamonn Dillon and Seán Bugler set the standard for our students. Tonight’s award honours the work of teachers throughout the last 60 years and the many players who represented the school with pride. We are extremely grateful for their massive contribution and commitment.