ST. MARY'S C.B.S. in Enniscorthy was coming down with football stars on Tuesday last when both Redmond Barry and Colm Cooper gave of their time to present Leinster Colleges football medals to the school's Juvenile (Under14) Leinster champions.
The students were honoured and impressed to be presented with their medals and team photos by such famous sporting heroes. The boys had come out on top in the Leinster Colleges championship after playing six games on their way to the final.
Redmond Barry, who presented their medals, said, in reply to questions from the panel, that he would have liked to have played both hurling and football at under-age for the county, but he wasn't allowed to do so by one of the sets of management at the time.
In reply to another question, he said that beating Dublin in the Leinster championship is one of his dreams, particularly in a Leinster football final. He felt that Wexford were not far off being among the top flight of the footballing counties in Leinster at present and, with luck, they could bring it off in the next year or two.
Colm Cooper, better known throughout the football world as 'The Gooch', presented a team photo to each member of the panel and eencouraged the students to continue their involvement in all games. His particular sport was football but participation in whatever sport they favoured was beneficial to all young people.
In response to a question, he recalled his nervousness going out in front of over 80,000 spectators in Croke Park, particularly when marching in the pre-match parade, but said that once the game starts, his nerves disappear and he becomes totally immersed in the game. He enjoyed playing all counties, but got greatest satisfaction in defeating either Cork or Dublin.
After the presentation, 'Gooch' took the panel for a training session on the school's astro turf pitch, during which he put them through various exercises and moves, before joining with them in a short game of football. In his closing remarks, he encouraged them to hone their skills and to maintain their level of fitness.
On behalf of the school, Michael Carty, deputy principal, thanked both sportsmen for their generosity in taking time to come to the school to present the medals and photos to the panel. Such actions could do nothing but good for the pupils and he hoped that some day in the not-too-distant future, some of the students present would don the Wexford jersey and have their day - hopefully successful - in Croke Park.