Castlebridge NS has been crowned Wexford’s Fittest School after its team of teachers beat off fierce competition from five other schools in Tuesday’s final.
Cheered on by their vociferous army of supporters, Ann Marie Hearne, Declan Buggy, Bridget Carberry and Mark O'Connor hung tough on the horizontal bars, powered their way through the exercise bike section and then stormed through an obstacle course which included pulling a tractor and its driver.
Having qualified second behind Bunscoil Rís the Castlebridge team were hopeful of victory but they, along with all the other competitors, faced a nervous wait while the times and scores were totted up after an intense day of action. Following some words of congratulations from Wexford GAA Chairperson Michael Martin, the top six were announced in reverse order. Bunscoil Rís were confirmed as third place finishers, St Peter’s College second and, to rapturous applause, Castlebridge NS as winners.
Surrounded by pupils asking whether this win meant there would be no homework for the week, Mark O’Connor said it was the second big success for the school in recent weeks.
“It was great having all the kids coming out to support us, we recently won the Rackard League final as well and there was huge numbers at that too,” he said.
Paying tribute to Laura Carr who had been part of the semi-final team but had been unable to compete in the final, Mark believed the extra effort in the hang tough section had proved decisive.
“We’re definitely surprised to win, we qualified second and were a few seconds off Bunscoil Rís but we hung on longer on the hang tough section and I think that’s what gave us the win.
"The course was harder today, the runs on the circuit were longer than the previous day. The team is brilliant, we had Declan come into the school this year and he’s great with the kids so we’re delighted,” Mark said before confirming that yes, there would be no homework for his pupils for the rest of the week.
That was later confirmed by school principal Ed Lyons who described the win as a “marvellous and historic” achievement.
“It was a wonderful way to follow up the success we had in the Rackard League and we had such a great turnout, such great support from the entire school community, from the teachers, the students, the staff, the parents, and the grandparents,” said Ed.
"We actually had our own version of the fittest school this week where the teacher’s team took on the pupils, we had all the classes out in the big field and there’s going to be more celebrations to come. And I can confirm there was no homework this week.
"I want to congratulate the team on this marvellous and historic achievement, it was a night that will live long in the memory of all connected with the school. Well done to the team, including Ms Laura Carr, who competed in the semi final but was unable to take part in the final, we’re very proud of you all. Huge congratulations also to the children’s team who propelled the teachers to the final and were there to cheer on the adults on the big night. Thanks also to all our supporters on behalf of the whole school community, it was so uplifting to see all the level of support we received from everyone at Wexford Park and from those watching online.”
Castlebridge NS received a Promethean Active Panel and a €3,000 O’Neills sports voucher for finishing first. St Peter’s received a €1,000 O’Neill’s sports voucher and Bunscoil Rís a €500 O’Neill’s sports voucher.