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Rosmini revel in Sky Blue heaven

POBALSCOIL Rosmini was awash with blue last Wednesday as Dessie Farrell and members of his All-Ireland winning minor football team paid a visit along with the Tom Markham Cup.

Master of ceremonies, Rosmini principal Philomena Cherry, introduced Farrell, his management team and some of his star players - but their was an extra large cheer for one of their own - Philip McElwee.

McElwee was a selector for this year's all-conquering Dublin minor outfit, and has been a teacher in Rosmini for the best part of three decades. So it marked a special moment for him.

As Farrell, who first came across the Derry native patrolling the sideline when he was a student in St Vincent's CBS, addressed the crowd, he paid an extra tribute to McElwee.

"In life we are likely to meet inspiring people who make a remarkable contribution to our lives, special people, and Philip is certainly one of those," he said.

Afterwards, Farrell took time to praise the involvement of McElwee in the All-Ireland success.

"I've known Philip a few years now and his depth of knowledge and experience is immense.


"His passion for the game and for coaching and trying to develop young players is phenomenal. He's been a joy to work with and we have learned an awful lot from him over the years."

When talking to McElwee himself - one of the few men to keep Kerry legend Mikey Sheehy scoreless when he was playing with his native Derry - his modesty shone through.

Instead of talking about his own obvious contribution, not only to Dublin but to Na Fianna as well where he has enjoyed unprecedented success at minor level, he focused on his hopes for Pobalscoil Rosmini.

Indeed, this is not the first All-Ireland trophy to visit the school in recent times as Bernard Brogan and Sam Maguire were the star attractions 12 months ago.

"The idea is that after the lull - the last trophy we won (in Gaelic games) was in 2005 - that this can raise the profile of Gaelic games in the school and in the area as well," he explained.

"It takes a lot of work on the ground (to return to past glories). We have good PE teachers in the school here. We will start small and try and get the interest back up again.

"The games, in all sports, took a hit through the Celtic Tiger. A lot of students weren't bothered with sports. So we have to try and raise the level of all sports."

Given that Rosmini is bang in the middle of GAA powers such as St Vincent's, Na Fianna and Whitehall Colmcille, one would imagine that they would be prospering from the talent in the area, something McElwee said was vital to take advantage of.

"We are surrounded by strong clubs. There are obviously students from the locality and the community who have a background of some nature in Gaelic games. But we have to try to tap into that going forward. We would hope that there is a new energy in our staff to carry the school's traditions on."

McElwee also believes that the visit of the Markham Cup can inspire students, not only in Gaelic games, but across all aspects of life.

"For students to listen to the words of Dessie and to see the players in amongst them shows that they are just ordinary like them," he enthused.

"As Dessie said, they shouldn't be afraid to aspire and believe that you are good enough. It doesn't matter whether it is in sport, drama or art, believe in yourself and have confidence to go and follow your goals.

"We saw the talent in the choir today. We had a talent show which was a great success in the school and there was also a production of Hamlet. It all shows how talented this bunch of students are. We need to build on that."