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Dominican College proud to be awarded Irish News Post Primary School of Year.

Following on from this year’s stunning success in the JJ O’Reilly U-16 Ulster Colleges competition, Dominican College have recently been awarded the Irish News Post Primary School of the Year Award.

This award is in recognition of the work the school has invested in Gaelic sports over the past few Years and the rich dividends this work is now witnessing. The success in The Irish News competition was also ion recognition of the unique way in which the school, in line with its strongly inclusive ethos, engaged with pupils from a non-traditional GAA background and created a winning team from a range of players from diverse backgrounds.

Pupils from the school are now learning how to coach and the school has the vision that these pupils will help mentor and coach our local primary schools and the Post-Primary award recognises and rewards this superb work being carried out both on and off the field.

Mr Carey, our Gaelic coach and past Dominican pupil, was himself captain of the 2010 Derry-Championship winning Eoghan Rua team and he has used his experience to build a winning team in his own school over the past few seasons.

“Some of the lads come to us and have only a bit of background in GAA through their primary school or perhaps through Eoghan Rua or Glenullin, but many are coming from feeder primary schools that have either a soccer or rugby background. So, beginning in first year, we just try to introduce the game. They have certain physical attributes and basic technical skills that they can apply to Gaelic games, but it’s only really now after two or three years of playing and developing in seven-a-side and nine-a-side blitzes that we are able to get together a full- sized squad to compete at Ulster Colleges level.

This year we won our first Ulster Colleges title which was obviously a huge success for a school such as ours. The real reward in all this is the work done behind the scenes in the school to develop Gaelic games and make them inclusive for all. It is lovely for it to be recognised that there is good work going on in Dominican College, Portstewart. To have won this award on the fiftieth anniversary of boys first entering the school in 1968 makes this success all the sweeter”

In playing terms the challenge for the school is now to build on this season’s JJ O’Reilly Cup victory and next year we will draw on some of the U-16 talent to enter a sixth form team for the first time in our history. Our Year 11 squad, many of whom also played at U-16 level are also just about to compete in an Ulster Colleges Semi-final.

Richard Carey is pictured receiving the Post-Primary award with Dominican College Vice-Principal, Mr Gerry Lynch.

Also pictured are five members of the successful U-16 team are:
Alan Thompson Ryan Taggart, Lewis Hawthorne, Lorcan McMullen, and Jake Wallace

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Year 8 Rugby success


Dominican College are delighted to share the recent success of two of our  first year pupils, Joshua Bryant and Dylan Norton as their team won the Under 12s rugby tournament in SE of England.
Coleraine Under 12s Rugby squad travelled to England the weekend of the 4th- 6th May to participate in the prestigious Camber Sands Rugby tournament. Teams from all over England, Wales and Ireland gave it their all over the two days and got to experience playing on international quality rugby pitches but in the very hot weather conditions the bank holiday weekend enjoyed.
At the end of the tournament Coleraine were top of the leader board and the boys were presented with medals and a large trophy by England and British and Irish Lions Player Lewis Moody. They were given extra special treatment by the crew of the Easyjet flight on the way home allowing the trophy to be presented in the cockpit, cheers from the whole plane and team photos out on the runway!  
Joshua has been playing club rugby at Coleraine since P.2 and balances is management of Type 1 diabetes with being a strong member of the 30+ under12 squad.
Dylan has only recently taken up rugby and is learning the game, meeting new friends and enjoying playing. 
On Tuesday night, at the Annual Rugby Club Awards Dinner, Joshua was awarded with Player of the Year 2018 and Dylan was awarded Runner up in the Best Newcomer category.
Well done to both our Year 8 boys.

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Leavers Mass 2018


To make an end is to make a beginning
On the evening of Wednesday 9th May our school chaplain, Fr. Raymond McCullagh, led our Year 14 pupils and their parents in a special Leavers’ Mass.
Fr. Raymond welcomed pupils and parents together for the first time since those tentative first days in September 2011 to celebrate the culmination of the journey that had begun and to appreciate the fine young Dominican men and women they had become. He encouraged pupils to remain an integral part of the Dominican family.
To commemorate the class of 2017 as our centenary leavers each pupil was given a special bookmark.
The theme of the mass was inspired by T.S Eliot’s lines from Little Gidding:
What we call the beginning is often the end
and to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
In a special ceremony of light pupils and parents passed on the gifts of faith, justice, wisdom and truth and learned that every ending is a new beginning; pupils also reflected on how everything they learned was learned in the company of others.
Fr. Raymond took as the theme of his homily the little-known story of Margaret Devaney who left Sligo aged 19 on board Titanic for a new life in America. Margaret was given the parting gift of a penknife from her brother John, a gift that would prove vital in cutting the twisted ropes of the C lifeboat and saving the lives of Margaret and the other 31 people on board her lifeboat. He explained how this seemingly disastrous end was in reality a beginning as Margaret had a long and happy life.
Fr Raymond compared the penknife to all the values that both the pupils’ parents and Dominican College had passed on and how their Dominican ethos will continue to be a lifeline to them as they begin their journey away from Portstewart.  He challenged our class of 2018 in the words of the First reading from Joshua to “Be Strong and courageous, prosper and succeed and know that the God of Justice will be with you wherever you go” and concluded with the word of St Paul that our pupils must above all “Be happy”.
Reflecting his own leave taking of St Malachy’s over 30 years ago, Fr. Raymond concluded by asking our U6 pupils to be all that God calls them to be and to “always come back to DCP as we always love to hear your stories and see where the road ahead leads you”.
Ms Ronan thanked all those who had made the evening such a success, especially the Music and RE departments who had helped lead the pupils in word and song and our Dominican parents for “entrusting us with their most precious gift; the gift of your young people”.
The principal encouraged our class of 2018 to always see themselves as members of the Dominican family and encouraged then to remain in close contact with the school as they begin to contemplate life beyond the walls of DCP.
The school library is open each day throughout the exam period for our leavers to study. Pupils are reminded that they must be in school uniform for all study sessions and for all exams.
Good luck to all our Year 14 pupils over the coming weeks and every success in their work and life beyond DCP.
Below are some images from Wednesday’s Mass.

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Dominican College celebrates its Ulster success at special ceremony.



On Tuesday 17th April 2018, for the first time in the history of Dominican College, the school’s U16 Gaelic team contested and went on to win their first Ulster Colleges final. This week in school a special prize presentation was organised for the team and their families to celebrate this wonderful achievement with the wider school. The success of the GAA team is all the sweeter in this year, the fiftieth anniversary of the first boys arriving in Dominican in 1968.

Our guest of honour was Mr Enda Muldoon the recently retired Derry GAA player widely regarded as one of the best players of his generation. Enda has been appointed as Coaching officer of the Derry Board and was delighted to be invited to Dominican for the first time to celebrate the school’s success.

Many of the young Dominican team play within their local GAA teams but many also come from a soccer and rugby background. The boys have played and developed together over the past few seasons under their coach Mr Richard Carey and have grown into a formidable squad of players capable of competing and succeeding at the very highest levels.
The team emerged victorious after a thrilling and very closely- contested match at MUSA, Cookstown and all in Portstewart and beyond are so proud of this wonderful achievement for Mr Carey and his team.

At this week’s special presentation Mr Carey described our Ulster Colleges U16 squad as a typical Dominican team. He explained how they all came from diverse sporting backgrounds. A few of the panel played Gaelic within their local clubs but many had more experience in soccer and rugby. Some had never even lifted a Gaelic football until they arrived in Dominican College.

The team initially bonded in Year 8 with success in a Gaelic Blitz. Mr Carey explained how these early seven and nine-a-side tournaments were ideally suited to a young Dominican side growing in numbers, strength, skills and confidence.
Following on from success at U14 level where the team learned to play with and without the wind, Mr Carey described how things all came together with a full strength U16 squad last September in Greysteel.

He told the senior school, gathered to celebrate Dominican’s success in this year’s tournament, that the two attributes that most epitomised his team were character and guts.

Describing the scene that met the Dominican team in Cookstown at April’s final, Mr Carey admitted that: “Although we were seriously outnumbered, we were never intimidated by the support for St John’s Dromore, the beaten finalists”. He paid tribute to his own father Mr Carey Sr. who drove the boys to their games this season.
He described how, “ No matter how old you get in every little boy there lives a desire to please his parents” and also thanked all the Dominican parents and families for travelling with and believing in the team throughout their campaign.

Taking the school through the turmoil of the final, he spoke of his own doubts as the team went in at half time with a slender two point advantage and his fear that the lead may not have been enough. A key turning point in the second half was a goal from Kacper Sobera but, with a mere ten minutes to go, doubts again surfaced as Mr Carey described how the St John’s crowd tried to cheer their team to victory. In these final minutes he described how the boys’ work rate, desire and attitude were exceptional and were enough to carry them across the victory line.

Concluding with a slide show of photos of the team as they evolved from a small year 8 team to a strong panel of 19 with pupils from Years 10 to 12, Mr Carey spoke of our enormous pride in the team and their achievements.

Calling each of the boys in turn to the stage to be presented with their Ulster medal by Enda Muldoon, Mr Carey described their individual talents and how each connected to produce an Ulster victory.

The Year 10 boys:
Lewis Hawthorne
Malachi Hendry
Jake Wallace

Mr Carey described how Lewis often faced boys almost three times his size but yet was undaunted concluding, “He has the heart of a lion and excellent technical ability”.

He explained how Malachi was thrown into the deep end in the semi-final and went on to play well in the final. Jake, on the other hand was described as an excellent footballer who used his wide experience within the NI squad to great effect on a Gaelic pitch and played “Like a natural”.

The Year 11 boys:

No team would be complete without a safe pair of hands and Ryan Taggart proved himself a most reliable keeper.

Logan Jonson transferred his skills on a Rugby team to excellent effect and was again a natural in terms of his handling and tackling.

Danny Liken proved himself “An ice-cool defender” who consistently showed composure as he played out from the back.

Dawid Ryczko was described as “A great athlete” with superb technical skills who became a real asset to the team.

Luke Carter-Woods was described as a player who again overcame players many times his height and a player with a low centre of gravity which enabled him to push the team forwards.

Ciaran McLaughlin was another player who turned his soccer skills to superb effect within the U16 team. Mr Carey described him as a player with “vision and an eye for a pass”

Filip Rygielski was another Year 11 player who was a key presence within the team. Usually tasked with the unenviable job of marking the opponent’s key man, Filip was a team stalwart.

Conor Carlisle was one of the boys who has had extensive experience within his local Eoghan Rua club and was another safe pair of hands whose experience always enabled him to make the right choices under pressure.

Adam Kosinski proved himself to be a versatile player adept at coping with pressure at key times in games.

Our final Year 11 players, many of whom will be available next year, were:
Kacper Sobera whose superb athleticism gave him a lightening pace and led to a key second half goal in the final.

Jude Kerr, another Eoghan Rua player, was called into action in a tense semi-final which allowed him to go on to prove his worth to the team in the final.

Our final year 11 pupil was another pupil with a background in soccer goalkeeping , Jack Lucas, who proved equally adept and skilful on a Gaelic pitch.

Only four of the boys came from Year 12 and Mr Carey described how each in his own way was a leader and mentor to the younger boys.

Bart Drozd was another strong rugby player whose natural ability provided a late point which gave the Dominican team a four point cushion which helped secure ultimate victory.

Alan Thompson again used his superb Rugby abilities to wonderful effect in this season’s campaign, often coming up with key scores at key moments.

Chad O’Neill was a superb full back this season often standing strong as the last line of defence within the squad.

Our team captain, Lorcan McMullen, was the final year 12 pupil.
Mr Carey described how Lorcan was unlucky to have been left out of this year’s Derry minor squad but immediately attained a place in the hurling squad.

The final medal of the day was specially awarded to Mr Hynds in recognition of his instrumental role in introducing many of the boys to GAA in junior school and in helping with coaching at U14 level.

Concluding the special presentation Mr Carey told his players:
“ As a school family we are all very, very proud of you here in Dominican College and you epitomise all that is good about the school. You have trained, played, lost and won together and today we celebrate your amazing success. Very well done lads”.

The school would like to thank all the parents, grandparents and family members who joined us yesterday for this celebration and to thank them for their support for the team over the past few seasons.

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Dominican College are Ulster Champions!

Tuesday 17th April 2018

Yesterday for the first time in the history of Dominican College our U16 Gaelic team contested a first Ulster Colleges final. The boys have played and developed together over the past few seasons under their coach Mr Richard Carey and have grown into a formidable team. Many of the Dominican team play within their local GAA teams but many also come from a soccer and rugby background.

The team emerged victorious yesterday after a thrilling and very closely- contested match and we are all so proud of this wonderful achievement for Mr Carey and his team.

The match was played in very difficult conditions with a strong wind making it very difficult for the players, particularly when it came to scoring. Playing with a strong wind at their back Dominican started well with two quick points from Adam Kosinski and Alan Thompson. While Dominican dominated possession they failed to make it count on the scoreboard and St Johns looked very dangerous on the counter attack. With Dominican 0-2 to 0-1 up they were awarded a penalty which was brilliantly saved by Paudi Tunney, fortunately the rebound fell to Lorcan McMullen who hit the back of the net. Lewis Hawthorne followed this up with a a well taken point. A quick counter attack from St Johns saw full forward Rory Burns bag a well taken goal to make it a 1 point game.

Lorcan McMullen had another goal chance brilliantly saved by Tunney with the resulting 45 going wide. McMullen continued to make strong runs and the St Johns defence struggled to contain him, he tagged on a point and nearly finished the half with another goal. Despite dominating possession Dominican failed to capitalise and it looked like the chances they missed in the 1st half could come back to haunt them. They went in at the break leading by 2 points.

HT DOMINICAN 1-4 St Johns 1-2

Playing against a strong wind it was important Dominican started the 2nd half strong and that’s exactly what they did, two points in quick succession from Alan Thompson and Lorcan McMullen stretched the lead to 4. Dawid Ryzcko and Filip Rygielski covered a lot of ground in defence and their fitness was a great asset throughout the game. The introduction of Simon Garrity for St Johns was a great boost and he was causing all sorts of problems for the Dominican defence. McGarrity and Phelim Gallagher pegged Dominican back with two great points, however, after a great run from Alan Thompson he fed Kacper Sobera who unleashed a rocket of a shot into the roof of the net to give Dominican a 5 point lead. But back came St Johns with a goal from McGarrity and two points from Burns to level the scores with 10 minutes remaining. The Remainder of the game was a tense affair, Jack Lucas and Ciaran McLaughlin worked extremely hard and the introduction of Conor Carlisle provided a cool head and a safe pair of hands. At crucial times Dominican were able to relieve the pressure on their defence with some great penetrating runs, Jake Wallace made a couple of great runs to win crucial frees.

Two brilliant frees from Lorcan McMullen gave Dominican a 3 point lead with 5 minutes left. Under intense pressure the Dominican defence stood firm, with Chad O’Neill and Logan Johnson outstanding. Danny Liken made a number of excellent interceptions. Ryan Taggart was a calming influence at the back and was rarely troubled such was the dominance of the Dominican defence. With time nearly up Bart Drozd landed the insurance point of his weaker left foot, Dromore brought the gap back to 3 with the last play of the game.

The work rate and effort from all the Dominican players was incredible in the second half and they are worthy champions. At half time it looked like Dominican were going to struggle, however, to their credit they never gave up when St Johns made a comeback.

They say hard work always trumps talent, but when you bring the two together with belief and conviction it is a lethal, winning combination.

Well done lads, the whole school is really proud of you.

The Dominican Team:
Ryan Taggart, Logan Johnson, Chad 0’neill, Danny Liken, Jake Wallace, Filip Rygielski, Dawid Ryzcko, Lorcan McMullen capt, Alan Thompson, Jack Lucas, Ciaran McLaughlin, Bart Drozd, Kacper sobera, Lewis Hawthorne, Adam Kosinski, Conor Carlisle, Luke Carter Woods, Jude Kerr, Malachi Hendry

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Dominican pupils are all set for Lourdes Visit.


 Good luck to our four pupils who will travel to Lourdes this Easter as part of the Irish Pilgrimage Trust. The Dominican Students will be joining more than 1200 Volunteers and young people from across Ireland.

For Jessica and Aoife (Year 10) this will be their first experience helping to care for younger pupils with special needs and both girls are very excited about having been given the opportunity to partake in the pilgrimage.

Jack and Jordan, both Year 14, will return to Lourdes as carers having previously been as younger pupils. Both boys described their previous visit as “truly life-changing” and cannot wait to return next week. There is a strong international dimension to the pilgrimage with more than 5000 young people from other countries due to arrive in Lourdes next weekend.

The group have been busy collecting money for the IPT would like to thank all those who helped and supported their fundraising efforts. To date the group have raised in the region of seventeen hundred pounds.

Fr Raymond will also travel to Lourdes as part of the Irish group and we wish them all the best in their mission.

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