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To say St Dominic’s sporting teams have been successful this year, would be an understatement.

The pupils at St Dominic’s have finished this year with 6 major titles across a range of sports.

Back in January, our newly formed U19 camogie team, led by Miss Cassidy, were convincing winners in the Rosina McManus Competition. This was a first Ulster title for the school as a single entity, having previously won the title back in 2010 when the St Dominic’s team combined with players from Colaiste Feirste. Camogie has gone from strength to strength at the school with teams fielding across all age groups from Yr8-U19.

Still on a high from this success, the NI Schools’ Netball league finals were held in February. The St Dominic’s junior team faced Friends School, Lisburn in the final. They came away with the win with a final score of 18-12. This team dominated the junior competition this year. To no surprise, they qualified for the Junior NI Cup final. In the final, they faced a good Aquinas team but ran out winners 15-4. This again showed their dominance at this level of netball. 3 of this junior team were included in the NI and NI development teams who played at the European U17 competition held in the Antrim Forum in February. Anna Rice, played on the NI U17 team and Aoibheann Donnelly and Amelie Annett represented the NI U17 Development Squad. Having these players compete at this top level of netball, increased the standard and expectations within our school netball team. Mrs Cassidy and Laura Lovett, guided the girls to the first ever double win for this age group at the school.

Not to be outdone, the intermediate netball team also took the top spot in possibly the most exciting game of school netball we were involved in this year. The team faced a very strong Wallace side. Going into the last quarter, we found ourselves down by 4 goals. The grit and determination and true resilience of the St Dominic’s girls prevailed to the very last second of the play, when Anna Christy won a penalty. She passed the ball to Anna Rice, who put the ball in the net. The disbelief and pride at the final whistle sent the crowd wild and the players and coaches were left in utter shock but pleasant relief. This team have grown as a unit throughout the year, and it all came to fruition in those final moments where it mattered the most. Amy Murray was a stalwart in defence and again, helped by her involvement in the NI U17 Development Squad, she was able to impose her influence and experience on the team.

The St Dominic’s basketball teams have been a working progress over the past number of years. With the sport growing in the local community among girls, and the work of Miss Murphy, basketball is becoming more popular within the school. This year, the junior basketball team were comfortable winners of the Northeast Region ‘C’ competition. Having secured this title, they carried on through the All-Ireland stages of the competition. The success continued to follow, and the team qualified for the first time in the school’s history for the All-Ireland ‘C’ Junior Girls Final. With a coach load of supporters, the team travelled to the National Basketball Arena in Dublin to face Carrigtwohill Community College, from county Cork. Standing to the National Anthem before taking to the court, allowed the girls to appreciate the sense of what they had achieved. The game itself started slowly for the St Dominic’s side going into the second quarter 16-0. Aoibheann Donnelly, stepped onto the court and as they say the rest is history. She tore the opposition apart and at the half time interval, we went ahead 22-19. Overturning the deficit to going ahead by 3, was an incredible comeback.

Aoibheann, not surprisingly has been selected onto the Ireland U16 basketball team who will compete in the European’s this summer in Montenegro. The 3rd and 4th quarters were a much tighter affair with the game ebbing and flowing between the two sides. The final few seconds of the game, we found ourselves down by 2 and it seemed like it was out of our hands. Erin Stewart, released the ball and the crowd, team and coach, held their breath and watched as it sailed through the basket. The game would now go into overtime. The opposition struck first and were on top after the break. Again, in true St Dominic’s style, the girls battled to the last seconds of the game. At 32 all, Anna Rice, received the ball on the outside of the 3-point line. She released the ball and watched as the ball passed through the net to claim the win. The arena went wild and capped off a wonderful experience and a first for the school which we can hopefully repeat in the future.

Our final title this year went to our newly formed handball team. Fiona Shannon has been working with our teams throughout the year and guided the girls and the school to their first Ulster Schools’ Handball title. An amazing achievement from the winning team backed up with a semi- final spot from our second team. We look forward to developing this club further next year and in the years to come.

Despite this incredible sporting success and having our name on all of the titles mentioned above, St Dominic’s has also had significant representation across various other sports this year. Mrs Bannon and Miss Fleming and the Gaelic football teams continue to push for Ulster Success across all age groups. Our Cross-Country team were successful at district level qualifying for the Ulster’s. Our swimmers competed at the top level of the schools’ competitions. Our newly formed soccer team have entered into the schools’ competitions for the first time this year.

Sport in St Dominic’s is thriving, and it is a credit to the pupils and staff who continue to give up their time to ensure that it continues to do so. Coming back from the covid-19 pandemic, we were worried about the mental and physical well-being of our pupils. It is safe to say that they are in good hands in St Dominic’s.


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