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Cork school 'incredibly proud' as ex-pupils earn first All-Star and athletics acclaim on same night

Edel Murphy of St Mary’s Central School in Enniskeane talks about their successful former pupils.

A PRIMARY SCHOOL in Cork is celebrating an unique achievement after two of its former pupils achieved huge honours in their respective sports over the weekend.

Over in Torun, Poland, sprinting sensation Phil Healy continued her impressive rise in athletics on Saturday. Competing in her first major final, the 26-year-old narrowly missed out on a medal in the 400m at the European Indoor Athletics Championships.

But Ireland’s fastest woman didn’t come short-changed, as she clocked a new personal best of 51.94 to finish just outside the podium spots. To illustrate the field of excellence that Healy was running in, Femke Bol of the Netherlands won the race in 50.63.

This was just the latest installment of honours by the Bandon bullet, and there’s much more to come from her down the track.

Back in Ireland, the camogie All-Star awards for the 2020 season were being dished out. All-Ireland semi-finalists Cork picked up three gongs, with Orla Cronin slotting into the centre-half forward position.

Amazingly, this is Cronin’s first award having previously picked up the Player of the Match award in the 2017 All-Ireland final after overcoming their rivals Kilkenny.

These are major honours for Cronin and Healy to achieve, and the roots of their sporting ability be traced all the way back to their days in St Mary’s Central School in Enniskeane.

“It’s incredible for Phil to be representing Ireland and Orla winning an All-Star on the same weekend,” Ms Edel Murphy tells The42 about the talented duo who she coached when they attended the school.

“It was a huge achievement.

“They’re incredibly talented but they had the right attitude. They excelled in sport when they were in school. Phil would have won the West Cork football final when she was in sixth class in 2007 and Orla would have won the Sciath na Scol camogie final when she was in sixth class in ’08.

“They both achieved great success in school and won trophies in the Cork Primary Sports over the years, so you could see their potential when they were in school.”

The school honoured the pair at the weekend by posting a lovely throwback photo, showing Cronin and Healy holding up the silverware they won at Cork Primary School Sports.

Murphy says they both displayed a natural flair for sports from a young age, lending their talents to every sport that was available to them. 

Both Healy and Cronin continue to stay in touch with their old primary school, and as their arc continues to rise, the current generation of pupils at St Mary’s are taking note of what they can go on to achieve in sport.

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They’re walking the halls that were once occupied by an All-Ireland champion and a record-breaking track athlete.

“They both positively engaged with the school over the years,” says Murphy.

“Both girls were always willing to come back when we reached out to them. And Orla would have brought in the All-Ireland cup to show the children in the school. When Enniskeane won the Cork intermediate final in 2020, she brought back that cup [too.]

 ”And Phil would always engage positively with the school.” 

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