Our Ladies Castleblayney - School News

Our Lady’s Castleblayney are crowned National Champions in Show Choir Ireland 2017

Our Lady’s choir travelled to Dublin on Sat 4th November to the Show Choir Ireland 2017 Competition and returned later that evening as National Champions. Around the same time last year the choir had been placed in 2nd place and in true champion style this very talented hard-working committed group of young people returned in 2017 to finish off what they had started the previous year!

The National Show Choir Competitions are held each year for performing groups who usually sing and dance, combining fun, excitement, passion and friendship in a performance that will inspire the audience and impress the four judges present.

This year there were seven groups who qualified to take part in the final and it is interesting to note that Our Lady’s was the only secondary school who qualified with all the other competitors coming from stage schools and performing arts academies, some being 3rd level institutions. Our Lady’s talented choir with a range of students from First to Sixth Year, a 61 strong group, put on a superb performance that captivated the audience and had the judges remarking ‘on the phenomenal performance’ that had left the judges ‘speechless’. One judge remarked ‘this is how you do it...’. The panel of judges loved the group’s ‘use of space, their high energy’ and singled out Laura Brereton, Lisa Rose McMahon and Emma Larney for special mention. They also commented that every single member of the group gave 200% and left the audience wanting more. The choir won both the judges & the audience vote and came away with 1st place, a superb trophy, the overall prize of €1000 and also captured the choreography award, for good measure.

Speaking to the Principal of Our Lady’s, Mr Kelly in the wake of the success, he acknowledged the outstanding commitment and dedication made by the Music teacher Ms Murray in preparing the students to such a high standard. “Their success is a just reward for all their hard work and efforts and we as a school are incredibly proud of their achievements. They are a very important part of our school community and make a very special and inspirational contribution to liturgies and most events in Our Lady’s – they are the gift that keeps on giving. The students in the choir are excellent role models for our school community and we could all learn lessons from their generosity of spirit, honesty of effort and humility”.

The choir and Ms Murray were feted before the entire school community in the gym on Monday afternoon where their breath-taking and electric performance was pitch perfect and professional to the last. Congratulations to all concerned.

Pictured in Our Lady’s Secondary School are the 61 strong choir who captured 1st prize in the National Show Choir Competition 2017 in the O’Reilly Hall against stiff competition from stage and performing arts groups, many of whom are in full-time performance! The group who also received the choreography award are pictured here with their mentor, Music teacher, Ms Murray and Our Lady’s Principal, Mr Eddie Kelly.


All Star Awards

 Three more All Star Awards for Our Lady’s Secondary School, Castleblayney
……… as they celebrate their 15th Ladies All Star in six years

Our Lady’s Secondary School added to their fantastic success in the Ulster Ladies Colleges All Star Awards scheme on Wednesday November 8th when it was announced that three girls from the school, Niamh Kerr, Jennifer Duffy and Jayne Drury were selected on the Ulster Ladies All Star team for 2017 / 2018. This brings the total number of Ladies All Star Awards in the school to fifteen in six years - an extremely impressive record by any schools standards.

The three girls were among five girls selected by the school to attend an initial trial in Cookstown where 130 girls from across the province attended. All three girls impressed the selectors present to be invited back to the second trial on November 7th that was attended by 75 players. The school was delighted that the three girls were selected as representatives on this year’s team.

Niamh is the daughter of Ciaran & Ann Kerr from Annyalla and plays her club football with O’ Neill Shamrocks. This is the second year in a row that Niamh has been selected on the Ulster Colleges All Star team matching the achievement of her brother Barry who received Ulster Colleges All Stars in 2014 & 2015. Jennifer is the daughter of Mick & Patricia Duffy from Carrickaderry, Clontibret and also plays her club football with O’ Neill Shamrocks. This is Jennifer’s first All Star Award. Jayne is the daughter of Stephen & Marie Drury from Ballybay and plays her club football with the St. Brigid’s Club in Ballybay. Jayne is the youngest ever Ulster Ladies Colleges All Star in Our Lady’s. All three girls will receive their awards at a special ceremony in Kelly’s Inn Ballygawley after Christmas and will train with the Ulster All Star panel in the coming weeks in preparation for the Interprovincial tournament in Kinnegan, Westmeath in January.

These awards come as a timely boost to the Senior Girls GAA team who have made a promising start to their Ulster ‘A’ campaign. Speaking at the school during the week the Principal Mr Kelly congratulated the girls on their outstanding achievement ‘for a school to have one Ulster Colleges All Star in any year is a fantastic achievement but to have three representatives on the team in one year is a huge honour and one of which we are very proud. All three girls are excellent role models for their peers and for the younger students in the school and I’ve no doubt that they have great futures ahead of them in Gaelic Games. I would like to pay particular tribute to their coaches Mr Graham & Ms O’Keeffe for the fantastic work they are doing with the girls and indeed all our GAA coaches who give so generously of their time to help our students develop and display their talents and skills in Ulster Colleges football. The high level of success we have enjoyed in GAA and the number of All Star Awards for boys and girls is a testimony to the great work by all teachers involved in coaching & promoting Gaelic Games in our school’.

For the record the fifteen All Stars since 2012 are as follows:

  • 2017 / 2018: Niamh Kerr, Jennifer Duffy & Jayne Drury
  • 2016 / 2017: Aisling Callan & Niamh Kerr
  • 2015 / 2016:Muireann Atkinson, Celine Nally, Orlaith Maguire & Eimear Finnegan
  • 2014 / 2015: Muireann Atkinson & Niamh Callan
  • 2013 / 2014: Aoife Duffy, Niamh Callan & Muireann Atkinson
  • 2012 / 2013: Emma Mc Kenna

Prestigious Scholarships to UCD for Our Lady’s Castleblayney Students

Our Lady’s Secondary School Castleblayney is very proud of their most recent past pupils who were recipients of Entrance Scholarships to University College Dublin last week. Cormac McKenna (Economics & Finance), Arlene Leonard (International Commerce) & Evan Comiskey (Radiography), all from the Leaving Cert class of 2017 were honoured at a ceremony in UCD last week.

These prestigious Scholarships are awarded to students based on their excellent Leaving Cert results, having achieved in excess of 560 points. The three students received their award at a ceremony in UCD attended by school Principal, Mr Eddie Kelly.

Speaking at the school during the week, Principal, Mr Eddie Kelly offered his congratulations to the four students who had been awarded scholarships. “These young people have not achieved such spectacular success without alot of hard work and effort. It is fantastic that their application and commitment to their studies has been recognised by their university, they are a credit to themselves and their families and we in Our Lady’s are very proud of their achievements. They are wonderful ambassadors for the school and they epitomise all that is good in Our Lady’s, striving to do their best, to make the most of their talents while remaining true to their core values of honesty, integrity and fair play. All of the staff join with me in wishing them well in their future endeavours, as we do to all the class of 2017 in their chosen career paths and courses. Of course none of this could happen without the hard work of a very committed and dedicated staff and on behalf of the students I would like to acknowledge their unfaltering committment and interest in the wellbeing of their students.”

Pictured at the presentation of Entrance Scholarships in University College Dublin is three students from the Leaving Cert class of 2017 in Our Lady’s, Cormac McKenna, Arlene Leonard & Evan Comiskey who were the recipients of this prestigious award.


Science Week

Science week at Our Lady’s was a hive of activity with all kinds of weird and wonderful experiments and happenings. It provided students with many interesting and varied experiences. Science really came alive! This was all part of the Cavan Monaghan Science Festival which had organised a very varied and comprehensive programme to engage people of all ages and to promote awareness not only of the Science field but also of Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths areas.

Fifth and Sixth Year Chemistry students got to see science in action when they got to use a UV-visible and infra-red spectrometer when they took part in a Royal Society of Chemistry Workshop entitled ‘Spectrophy in a Suitcase’. The students were shown how these instruments are used in identification and quantification of substances and how the results can be used to solve crimes. This was a great opportunity to get hands-on experience in using instruments that schools do not have access to. During the workshop the chemistry students were told about the huge variety of career opportunities open to chemistry graduates. They also got to hear from Trinity Phd students from Spain and India who spoke about their Phd projects and the many great experiences they have had as a result of studying chemistry at 3rd level.

On Friday afternoon 5th year chemistry, physics and music students took part in a hands-on workshop exploring MaKey MaKey. This cross-curricular activity allowed students to explore the connections between art and technology incorporating practical aspects of Science, technology, engineering, arts and maths as they invented their own musical instruments out of recycled material. The instruments ranged from a musical pizza to a piano playing harp to a musical fortune teller. It was a very enjoyable afternoon for all involved and a great example of how STEAM subjects can be explored in an innovative way.
On Friday morning TY biology and physics students organised a science quiz for all second year students. This brought an exciting and a very educational week of Science to an end and certainly left Senior students with much to think about!

Sally Moloney: Students are intrigued as 5th Year Chemistry student, Sally Moloney checks out the experiment observed by Luis, PHd student from Trinity College who took part in the workshop and spoke to the class about his PHd project and career opportunities open to Chemistry graduates.

Corinna & Dearbhla: Chemistry students, Corinna McCormack & Dearbhla McQuaid consider their next move as they construct their piano playing harp, all part of Science Week in Our Lady’s