Congratulations to Gonzaga college for a mighty impressive performance at this years All-Ireland Schools Championships ..Winning 18 gold medals .. Gonzaga college’s team captains proudly show their trophies (left to right – above) at u-19 Andy Keenan, u-14 Colum O’Brien & u-16 Peter Cooke. Our hosts .. St. Mary’s college Galway went the extra mile providing refreshments and snacks for players and coaches. This is the first year that chess has been played at St. Mary’s college. It evolved from a lunchtime games room where teachers Cian & Miariad (pictured above) focused some attention on the boys playing chess. They entered 2 teams in the Connaught championships and are now silver medalists in the u-14 All Ireland championships.
The Connaught champions, St. Geralds, played at u-16 level (also, their 1st year of chess thanks to teacher Joe Daly). The Castlebar school finished in 3rd place in a very competitive section. The highlight was a ding-dong match between Gonzaga and St. Benildus. All six games were “live” with 5 mins on the players clocks, and the result impossible to call. The Gonzaga players turned a couple of draw-ish looking games into wins (2 pts) and held all the other endings (4 draws), winning it 4-2.
Ulster were represented by St. Colums of Derry at U-14 level and Ballymena Academy at U-19 level. Ballymena (pictured above) were in a mild state of shock after their round 1 collision with Gonzaga but they recovered strongly to take second place in this division.
Munster were represented by Scoil Pol in the highly competitive u-16 grade. And Ard Scoil Ris were very competitive on boards 1 and 2 in the u-19’s section with the Keating brothers both scoring 2 out of 3 pts.
Finally, a special mention to the St. Benildus teams, and their team manager Mr. Frank Scott who was active in helping to bring all the teams together at short notice and providing teams where other provinces were unable to.The placing and points tells the story of the day .. out of a possible 54 game points Gonzaga scored a whopping 49.5. Tournament organiser Daniel Lynch advises that next year it’s Ulsters turn to host the event. Every team left with All-Ireland medals of some colour and learned some new tricks (well, we’ll hope so!).