EXCITEMENT is mounting in Chapel Street as the Coláiste Rís Junior Debating team makes its final preparations for tomorrow ( Thursday) night's All-Ireland Final of Comórtas Díospóireachta Ui Chadhain, the Irish language national debating competition organised by Gael Linn.
This is the school's seventh successive appearance in the final since the competition format changed in 2004 and Coláiste Rís were the winners of the new competition in its inaugural year. They won it again in 2006 and hopes are high that they can bring home the trophy for the third time in seven years.
This year's final is an allLeinster affair, meeting teams from Maynooth and Arklow and fierce rivals Coláiste Eoin from Booterstown, Dublin.
The motion before the house is 'Tá ardchaighdeán iriseoireachta in Éirinn!' – there is a very high standard of journalism in Ireland. Coláiste Rís will be opposing the motion.
The team is the youngest ever to represent the school in the national finals and is captained by Ceallaigh Nic Fhloinn from Kilkerley. She is joined by twins Mícheál and Neasán Mac Suibhne from Carrickmacross. The Mac Suibhne family have distinguished themselves representing Coláiste Rís with brothers Éanna and Aonghus and sister Caoimhe appearing in previous finals at both junior and senior levels.
They are past pupils of Scoil Rois, Carrickmacross while Ceallaigh is a past pupil of both Scoil Rois and Scoil Náisiúnta Chill Chomhairle.
Caoimhín de Bhuinn, príomhoide Choláiste Rís, is thrilled to have his school represented yet again in the All-Ireland Final. 'This is an outstanding achievement from our three students. To get to this stage is a wonderful achievement and we are all very, very proud of them. It is great to have the name and reputation of our school in such safe hands.'
Seán Ó Coigligh, team mentor, is equally impressed with his charges' achievement but is taking nothing for granted. ' We set the final as a target at the beginning of the campaign. We have achieved that.
'But there is a determination among everyone to do the business tomorrow night. We have had our fair share of disappointment in the past.
'Hopefully tomorrow night will see all the hard work rewarded and bring home the cup.'