Primary School of the Year Divine Mercy SNS, Lucan
Divine Mercy School was founded in 1984 in a small country lane between Lucan and Clondalkin. (Although it was after his time, the school began about 100 yards from the home of the famous Dublin footballer, Jack Sheedy.) Tadhg O’Donoghue was the founding Principal. John Ring was Deputy Principal and he first enrolled the school in Cumann na mBunscol Gaelic Football leagues. The school began entering hurling teams thanks to current Deputy Principal Joe McDonagh and John Ring. In 2002 Joe McDonagh and Richard Dolan managed a team to win the Corn Aghais. In 2004 the school separated into the junior and senior schools. John Ring became Principal of the Senior School. He was keen to drive further interest in Gaelic Games. More teachers joined the staff that year and continued on their great work. Later John Ring with the help of Maria Meehan and others expanded GAA in the school to incorporate a camogie team. In 2013 Christine Campion and Maria Meehan led the camogie team to victory in Croke Park.
Sadly John Ring passed away in 2016. His initials are printed on our school jerseys today. His grá for GAA particularly Hurling and Camogie has inspired so many staff members to continue his legacy. Regina Halpin has since become Principal and she has made sure to facilitate, encourage and continue this in his memory.
Past pupils such as Jessica McClelland, Sujon Algamir and Andrew Carroll have represented Dublin at underage level. John Byrne, Peter Carroll and more recently Anthony McNulty, have represented Lucan Senior hurling team in the Dublin SHC. Mairí Moynihan has gone on to represent Dublin at all levels including Senior Camogie level.
We have grown in recent times from having 15 -20 children taking part in GAA in the school, to incorporating over half our student community. In 2019, the school won its first ever Go Games South competition beating 3 Gaeil Scoileanna along the way. Aoife Hill and Anne Murphy managed our Camogie team to win the Sciath Nuri. Tom Breen, (former Kilkenny minor winning captain way back in 2007!) Chris Crummey, (Dublin Captain) Cronan Dooley and Eoin Rosney brought the hurlers to Croke Park for the second year in a row. In total, 237 children took part in morning training, school blitzes, internal leagues or Cumann na mBunscol competitions last year.
Both Lucan Sarsfields and Cumann na mBunscol have given great support to our school, assisting the supply of hurleys and coaching as we try to increase interest in an area where the promotion of GAA is difficult. The school supplies everything they need as most children don’t have the equipment. The school opens the hall every morning at 8.30am to give children an opportunity to practice. We run internal ground hurling leagues for 3rd, 4th,5th and 6th classes at lunchbreak. Our biggest challenge is getting the children to join a GAA Club. Lucan Sarsfields recently awarded the Endeavour Award to many of our pupils who may find it difficult to pay membership.
Without the support of so many School Staff who volunteer their time and continue to cultivate a love of GAA, it would not be possible to give these children an opportunity to delve into the great world of GAA.
A little Revolution has started in Balgaddy, long may it continue.