This weekend saw RBAI take up their invitation to enter the Irish Interschools Fencing Championship which took place at Clongowes Wood College in Kildare. Eight fencers from years 8 & 9 travelled down by minibus to represent the school and take part in this prestigious team event.
There were 4 schools, Clongowes Wood College (Kildare), Glenstal Abbey (Limerick), Dunamase (Offaly) and RBAI (Belfast). Each school fielded an A Team and a B Team, making 8 teams in total. The selected RBAI teams were: Team A: Oliver Hodkinson (Captain) / Gabriel Thompson / Luca McDowell / Jack Woolsey (who was unable to make it due to sickness) Team B: Ryan Dumigan (Captain) / David Martin / Griff Black / Adam Gibbon.
Both teams lost their first match in round 1. The A’s lost to Clongowes B by only 3 hits which were lost in the last fight. However, the lead changed 4 times throughout the 45 hit match, with team captain Oliver and also Gabriel both pulling their team back during their fights by 9 and 10 hits respectively . It was a nail biting fight for all involved. The B Team had Glenstal A to contend with and only lost by 4 hits which was a great achievement. David and Adam both fenced superbly to gain 10 and 9 hits respectively to bring the team back into the lead at one stage.
In the Round 2, nerves had settled and both teams won their matches. The A’s against Dunamase A by 45/31 and the B’s beat Dunamase B easily 45/24. Again Oliver managed to bring back the lead when the score dipped slightly in the middle of the match and the B’s never really looked in doubt with steady 5 hit victories from the start.
The final round saw RBAI A drawn against RBAI B for 5th and 6th places. Both teams put up a great fight. Again David fenced exceptionally well to put the B’s into a position where they could have beaten their club mates, but Luca found his form in this match and with his 2 strong team mates, Oliver and Gabriel, the A’s won the match 45/38.
The winners of the competition were Clongowes A Team who seemed to take the event in their stride without losing any matches throughout the day. Overall, the joint results of the two teams placed RBAI 3rd, winning the Bronze position trophy.
Once the fencing was over, Clongowes invited everyone to a great lunch in the school canteen. It was a good day of fencing which gave the first and second years great experience for their future competitions.
Thanks should also go to the RBAI coach, Katie Arup and Teacher-in-charge of fencing, John Wilson who both gave up their weekend to accompany and support the boys. Thank you.