Thursday 18 January 2018

Pupils hoping 13 won't be unlucky for 'Gooch'

Majella O'Sullivan

THEY say a captain wearing the No 13 jersey will never raise the Sam Maguire.

But in Kerry they've always liked to do things differently.

And if Kerry raise the cup tomorrow, it will be the first county in Ireland to do so with a captain wearing the so-called unlucky number.

Colm 'Gooch' Cooper will be captaining the team and among those who will be rooting for him will be former and current teachers and pupils from the Presentation Monastery National School in Killarney.

The school has a great record as regards past pupils and All-Ireland finals, with former pupils Dick Fitzgerald, Johnny Culloty and Donie O'Sullivan all going on to captain Kerry to All-Ireland victories in 1913 and 1914, 1968 and again in 1970.

And now the school -- known locally as The Mon -- is hoping the fourth captain it has produced will do the same.

"We're used to preparing for All-Irelands but this one is a special one for the school because the captain is a past pupil and so is James O'Donoghue, who's also on the panel," said principal Colm O Suilleabhain.

There was hardly any work done at The Mon yesterday and the thoughts of its pupils were on the game.

Ann Leacy's fifth class boys were busy making good luck cards for Eoin Brosnan, to be hand-delivered to the Kerry centre half-back by his wife Mary, who is a language support teacher in the school.

Mary's language students come from Bangladesh, China, Latvia, Poland and Malaysia but all were sporting the green and gold in school yesterday, as much a part of the excitement as any of the Killarney boys.

The football tradition remains strong in the school.

"I'd say we have about five future players," said Ian Prendergast (10) who will watch the final in Croke Park with his granddad Tom, who won two All-Ireland medals for Kerry.

Cooper has maintained his links with the school and is a frequent visitor. It's hoped the next time he'll drop by will be on Tuesday with a certain trophy under his arm.

Irish Independent

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