Health and Fitness

‘A co-educational school has never won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup!’

So I name a gathering of the well-known Castlerock College Dream Team in The Bridge 1859 – the day after Ireland beat Scotland. Everyone exhibits up, regardless that we’re all trying and feeling like shit that’s been stepped in twice.

But after I name the goys to order by going, “Okay, I think we all know why we’re here,” all I get – I swear to fock – is, like, 20 faces staring again at me blankly.

“I thought we were going to get hammered,” JP goes, “to celebrate the Triple Crown win.”

I’m like, “No, Dude. Although I’m not saying that won’t happen? But the reason I texted you all was to let you know that we unfortunately have a snake in our mist… midst… mist.”

Oh, that grabs them.

“Is this about me sending my son to a gaelscoil?” Christian goes.

I’m there, “No, we’ve both said all we have to say on that matter and – as I told you at the time – I’m not sure how I can go on being his godfather. No, the snake in our mist is the new so-called principal of Castlerock College.”

They all simply have a look at one another and nod – like I’ve simply informed them, I don’t know, you possibly can’t flip proper off the Merrion Road onto Serpentine Avenue anymore

I watch Fionn roll his eyes. He’s obtained numerous nerve.

“Who has decided,” I am going, “in his wisdom – and without consulting any of us, can I just point out? – that from September of this year, Castlerock College will be going co-ed.”

Let’s simply say that I don’t find yourself getting the response I’d hoped for? They all simply have a look at one another and nod – like I’ve simply informed them, I don’t know, you possibly can’t flip proper off the Merrion Road onto Serpentine Avenue anymore.

“Co-ed,” I repeat. “It means they’re going to be letting in, like, girls.”

Oisinn’s there, “Yeah, we all know what it means, Ross. It’s just that, well, none of us really have a problem with it.”

“Actually, my niece is in sixth class,” Christian goes. “It’d be very handy for her – she wouldn’t even have to get the bus.”

It looks like I’ve been abruptly stabbed within the hort.

“Dude,” I am going, “can we all just take a breath here and think about what we’re saying. Because words matter. There’s going to be girls . . . in Castlerock College. Repeat. Girls. In Castlerock College.”

JP’s there, “So?”

I’m like, “So? Father Fehily didn’t believe that women got into Heaven.”

“That’s not strictly true,” Fionn tries to go. “He thought they went to a different Heaven.”

I’m there, “A slightly less good one – exactly. So who are we to tell, I don’t know, God that the Irish education system should be in some way different?”

“Ross,” Fionn goes, “the world has moved on since Father Fehily’s time. We have to accept that a lot of the things he held dear have no place in modern society.”

“Are you talking about his collection of Hitler speeches on vinyl?”

“I’m talking about his beliefs, Ross. Look, life is co-ed – so doesn’t it make sense for students to spend their formative years in a learning environment that better prepares them for the future beyond school in a more diverse society?”

Do you realize who I’m fascinated by? St Claude of Bethany, the founding father of the order, who, in 1572 swam to Ireland from France with a rugby ball underneath his orm

“My boys are in Andrew’s,” Robbie “Goffo” Gough – tighthead on the 1999 crew – goes. “It was actually my wife’s idea, but I have to say it’s had a definite civilising effect on them. They’re not only thriving academically, but developing social skills that I never had at their age. They’re a lot more respectful of women than I was at their age. And they’re more mature and confident in themselves. That all comes from the new experiences and fresh perspectives they’ve gained from being educated alongside – I’m going to say it, Ross – but girls.”

There’s numerous nodding heads within the room, it saddens me to say it.

I’m there, “Do you know who I’m thinking about? St Claude of Bethany, the founder of the order, who, in 1572 – can I just remind you? – swam to Ireland from France with a rugby ball under his orm-”

Everyone laughs.

I’m like, “What, are you saying that’s bullshit?”

Fionn goes, “We’re saying that, like a lot of Father Fehily’s stories, Ross, it wasn’t meant to be taken literally.”

“Well, I took it literally. And he was against the idea of educating girls at all.”

“How could he swim to Ireland using only one orm?” Oisinn goes. “Wouldn’t he just keep going around in circles?”

I’m there, “That’s blasphemy. And he’d be spinning in his grave today if he hadn’t been burned at the stake by the GAA.”

I’ve misplaced the room right here – you don’t want a windsock to inform you if you’re pissing right into a hurricane. Another one in every of Father Fehily’s sayings

JP goes, “I’m sorry, Ross, but I have to agree with Fionn and with Goffo. I want Isa to go to a co-educational and – I’m going to say it, Fionn – non-denominational Castlerock College. Because, frankly, I don’t want my son to be the kind of boorish, misogynistic idiot that I was in my teens and twenties. I want him to have female as well as male role models and a wider, more diverse network of friends.”

I’ve misplaced the room right here – one thing that by no means occurred to me after I led these goys into battle again within the day. You don’t want a windsock to inform you if you’re pissing right into a hurricane. Another one in every of Father Fehily’s sayings. God, I liked that man. I want he was right here proper now.

I’m about to stroll out of there when, rapidly, I hear a voice go, “Nineteen-hundred-and-seventy-three – High School Rathgor won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup! The following year, they went co-ed and no one has heard of them since!”

I flip round and – yeah, no – there’s my previous man, his face as purple as Thomond within the good previous days, jabbing his finger in Fionn’s normal postcode.

“Your precious St Andrew’s College,” he goes, turning to Goffo, “haven’t been in one final since they took in girls around the same time. Newbridge College went co-ed in the year nineteen-hundred-and-eighty-four and have not won a single Leinster Schools Senior Cup since!”

“That’s not true,” Fionn tries to go. “They shared the title with Clongowes in 2020.”

No one says a phrase – in all probability for the perfect.

The previous man goes, “A co-educational school has never won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup – not in this century, nor in the last! And if you introduce girls to Castlerock College – I will tell you this now, Mr so-called Principal – it will happen over! My! Dead! Body!”

And it’s, like, goosebumps.



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