Wednesday 24 January 2018

Matthew awarded Overall Fittest Schoolboy

Thomas Barr and Ashling Thompson presenting the 'Overall Fittest' award to Matthew O'Leary
Thomas Barr and Ashling Thompson presenting the 'Overall Fittest' award to Matthew O'Leary
Thomas Barr and Ashling Thompson presenting the 'Overall Fittest' award to Matthew O'Leary

Sara Gahan

Bunclody Vocational College sixth year student Matthew O'Leary has been crowned 'Overall Fittest Schoolboy' in Ireland.

Matthew, from Kildavin, is an accomplished boxer and has won several Irish and European titles. He has his sights firmly on rising to the top of the amateur ranks, or possibly the pro ranks.

When Matthew is not in the ring, he is on the GAA and soccer fields, and is heavily involved with in Gaelic football, hurling and soccer with both his school and Kildavin clubs.

Matthew's principal at Bunclody Vocational College, Jay Murphy, was over the moon at the student's win.

'It is a great achievement by Matthew to win the award, considering there were more than 22,000 students taking part altogether. But to be honest, it would be no surprise either to anybody who knows Matthew and how serious he is about his sport and training,' he said.

Matthew is very dedicated to training and fitness as he is often generally up at 6 a.m. each day to go for run before even going to school.

Over 700 Wexford students participated in the Irish Life Health Schools' Fitness Challenge where results revealed that boys are 42% fitter than girls with the fitness gap increasing as students' progress through school.

The 2016 athlete of the year Thomas Barr and Cork camogie star Ashling Thompson presented Matthew with an award for overall fittest.

As part of the schools fitness challenge, Irish Life Health held an awards ceremony in Croke Park where further winning schools were awarded.

'Congratulations Matthew O'Leary on your win. The Irish Life Health Schools Fitness Challenge is a national health initiative designed to assess and improve fitness levels among Irish secondary students with the aim of improving overall health,' said Irish Life Health managing director Jim Dowhall.

'Any form of physical activity is better than none. We should move away from the rigidity of the current PE curriculum to short periods of physical activity that encourage senior cycle students, particularly girls to stay active,' said Prof Niall Moyna.

The programme was overseen by Prof Niall with the challenge created with the aim of making physical fitness a national priority.

Gorey Guardian

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