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Loreto on the Green writing new headlines

IT'S not every school that has St Stephen's Green as their front garden. Or are within a good puck out of Grafton Street.

A short hop to the left there's the National Concert Hall or a small stroll to the right could end at the Shelbourne Hotel. Loreto on the Green have been at home here since 1833. They are one of the most famous schools in the country.

Over the decades they have been widely known for their hockey prowess. Many years ago Loreto used to play at Dartmouth Square.

These days they are writing the camogie headlines, and they are getting bigger by the week.

Their latest success saw them reach a Dublin Colleges Senior final. They lost to the highly rated Lucan CC.

"It was a terrific achievement by the girls to have got to the final. They had a wonderful campaign," explains John Mangan, who manages the side with James Mulligan.

"We were thrilled to have got that far. And it's a big boost to the camogie in the school."

Loreto's city-centre location means they have no pitch. Every match is an away one, which makes their progress all the more noble. Sport has always played a prominent role. There's a big selection box to pick from -- athletics, tennis, swimming, soccer, cricket, Gaelic football and, of course, hockey.

Loreto have a super sports hall with a state-of-the-art floor. They also have an astroturf pitch on site.

That's ideal for sharpening the camogie skill. Lunchtime training sessions are organised.

"We have 21 in the senior squad and many of the girls play with clubs like Na Fianna, St Brigid's and St Vincent's. It's only our third year back in competition and things have gone really well. The girls have worked hard at it."

Loreto have also enjoyed success in the first-year Shield and in the Junior C grades, but progressing to last week's final represented a first significant step for the seniors.

"We'll take confidence from that run and we'll now hope to give the Championship a good bash," relates John.

Backing onto Loreto is CUS, where Ronnie Delany went to school. His 1956 Olympic medal will never fade.

And it looks like that Loreto are well on their way to claiming more camogie gold of their own.

3Don't forget this Thursday's Special camogie night at the Croke Park Museum. Some star names have been lined up. The rich history of the sport will be recalled, while camogie in the modern era will also be examined. More information from 8192361 or email gaamuseum@crokepark.ie.