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BC with BC Union Hosted

BC with BC Union Hosted

An Evening with Joe Schmidt

More photos in the gallery here...

A packed O’Reilly Theatre shook with the resounding Belvedere welcome which was extended to Irish rugby coach Joe Schmidt on Thursday 30 November. In a cosy fireside chat format, Joe chatted about all things rugby with Sunday Times’ rugby correspondent (JCT finalist ’79 .SCT ‘82 and former Irish international cricketer)  Peter O’Reilly (OB 1982). Peter set the scene by highlighting Joe’s stellar coaching record and imposed Chatham House Rules which, thankfully for some, limits the detail which can be recounted here. Suffice to say, Joe’s insightful and thought-provoking remarks were delivered with a great sense of humour and the audience were fully engaged from start to finish. Joe covered his life from teaching and coaching schools rugby in his native New Zealand through to success with Leinster and now Ireland. In response to questions from the audience he covered such topics as dealing with his emotions during games, selection issues in particular managing players who were to be left out of the team and what makes a good team.                                                                                           
Joe was joined on stage by three recent Belvo rugby heroes, Max Kearney (victorious SCT Captain 2017, SCT winner 2016 and 2017), Hughie O’Sullivan (SCT winner 2016 and 2017) and emerging prop Ivan Soroka (OB 2014). The next generation gave their recollections of the emotions of those SCT wins and in particular the final heart-stopping moments of the thriller in 2017 when they held off a late Blackrock attempt to snatch their well-deserved victory from them. The bonds forged on and off the pitch will remain with these young men for the rest of their days.

Following the interview, College headmaster Gerry Foley thanked all who had been responsible for putting the evening together and he emphasised the College’s desire to forge even greater links with past pupils through a number of different events such as this which provide an opportunity to re-connect with the College. Gerry mentioned the great work being done by the present Belvederians and, of course, took the opportunity to mention the Sleep out 2017 which will take place again in the days running up to Christmas.

Proceedings were closed by Belvedere and Ireland legend, Ollie Campbell (OB 72) who presented an award to Steve Gibbons for his commitment to coaching in Belvedere. Ollie told the audience that nothing in his career, which included Lions tours, ever matched the high of his back-to-back SCT wins in 1971 and 1972. Without wishing to add to the pressure on the current SCT, Ollie did make it clear that a three in a row would be quite nice.

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