When Temple Carrig School in Greystones Co. Wicklow opened its doors for the first time in 2014, it became clear that sport would be a very significant part of the school’s identity. And from day one rugby was at the centre of their sports programme.

Head of Sport Mark Crean made sure that he had a programme in place that would generate enthusiasm among the boys and girls attending the school and ensure a culture of participation from day one. And rugby was at the centre of that programme with all first year boys participating. To ensure that he had the necessary resources to deliver this ambitious plan, Crean reached out to local club Greystones RFC.

Mark tells us that his request for support could not have been met with more enthusiasm.

“The club went above and beyond the call of duty by providing gear, facilities and volunteer coaches”.

In their first year the school managed to field two competitive teams and by last year, their third year in existence, they had built on this fantastic start and fielded six boys teams and a girls team that played in several tournaments and blitzes.

The hard work and commitment of the students and coaches was rewarded when their Junior Cup Team won the Father Godfrey Cup at the first time of asking. This victory propelled them into the first round of the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Junior Cup where they were beaten by a strong Belvedere College team but the marker had been laid down and Temple Carraig had taken their place at the top table of schools rugby.

Rugby is not the only sport that is being developed in the school. And as Mark explains they are having success in all areas thanks to the sporting enthusiasm of principal Alan Cox and the staff who coach on a volunteer basis.

“We also won the First Year County Cup for Gaelic Football last year and six of our athletes qualified for the finals of the All Ireland Athletics Championships. This success along with our rugby success has really helped to build the school’s identity and generate pride among the students”.

This year sees a further step being taken in the development of rugby in Temple Carrig as they field their first team at senior level.

It coincides with their first transition year within the school and it is this group that is competing in the TY competition.

They had their first outing recently when they travelled to Cisterican College in Roscrea and as the Tipperary school’s Director of Sport Brendan McKeogh says, this was another positive step in their development.

“We have a very strong TY group here in Cistercian College and this Temple Carrig side tested every aspect of their game in a very tight match. The standard of rugby played by both sides was excellent and bodes well for the season ahead for both schools”.

Creen and his fellow coaches Henry Hurley, Gabán Ó Briain, Philip Kinsella, Peter Wallace, Adam Rice, John Simpson and John McGuinness have already achieved more than anyone could have expected in their first three seasons but with their sights firmly set on senior rugby now, there is no doubt that further success will follow.

They will surely draw on the success of St. Fintan’s School in last year’s senior competition for inspiration and the continued support of Greystones RFC along with coach and player development programmes offered by Leinster Rugby will help them to achieve their potential.