Kicking exam pressure to touch
MY EDUCATION WEEK:Evan Kelly, Senior Cup rugby team, Kilkenny College
Woke up at home in Edenderry after a long week in school, rugby training and studying for my mocks. I board at Kilkenny College and come home every Friday night. When I get up I don’t lie about though. There’s plenty to be done on the family farm, especially now that it’s lambing season.
I help out as much as I can. I’m studying agricultural science for the Leaving and sometimes I share some of the theory with my Dad – grazing systems, types of slurry, stuff like that. So far he hasn’t really taken any of it on board though. I suppose there’s method to his madness. It would be hard to change his mind. Eventually I hope to run the farm myself so I can apply my Leaving Cert theory then, if it hasn’t all changed again by then.
I plan to go to college first though, and study engineering. For now though, it’s all about the mocks and the Senior Cup. One game at a time, as the professionals say.
Headed down to the local rugby club to watch a game. Headed home after the match for a good roast dinner with the family before it’s back to boarding school food tonight. An hour’s supervised study back at school and that’s my weekend over. I’ve an early start to training tomorrow.
We’ve had a very full training schedule since September, although it feels more intense now because we’re in the middle of the Cup season and the mocks. We’re in the gym at 6.50am doing speed and agility training every Monday, Thursday and Friday, as well as out field training in the afternoons. The work in the gym involves running in and out of cones. Sounds dull but you really notice the difference out on the pitch.
After the gym I go back to class for my favourite subject, engineering. We’re all working hard for the mocks – I’m going to need at least 410 points for engineering at NUI Galway and probably more – the points are expected to go up. As far as a career goes, I’ve always really planned to work the family farm. But I’ve always been told that I had to get a degree behind me and that’s what I will do.
At 3.40pm I’m back out field training until 5.15pm. Then I have three hours of supervised study in the dorm, as we do every night. A very full day.
Tuesday is rest day from training so I have a chance to focus on my engineering project for the Leaving Cert. I’m designing a Lunar Roving Vehicle – a moon buggy, in other words. Engineering is my favourite subject because it’s very hands on and that’s what I’m used to, working on the farm.
When I’m home there’s plenty of talk about study and the mocks but my parents are BIG rugby fans so I can usually steer them off the topic when all the talk of exams gets too much. My three sisters wouldn’t be quite so mad into rugby so a bit of compromise is required – I keep my mouth shut during Emmerdale. And Coronation Street.
My parents sent me to boarding school in Kilkenny because education is very important to them, but I know the rugby had a part to play too. Our team is doing very well so, while they do put a lot of emphasis on schoolwork, their very excited about the rugby too. They come to all the games.
This year Kilkenny College won the Leinster League for the first time, beating Castleknock College by a point before Christmas. Things are looking good. On Thursday we play St Andrew’s for a place in the quarter finals of the Leinster Cup.
Back to training with a vengeance – tomorrow we take on St Andrews. Field training today and an early night. In the afternoon I had a photoshoot for this diary. The lads were leaning out the dorm windows giving me plenty of stick. I should have ironed my kit, apparently. I’m going to get slagged for this one way or the other. I like boarding though. You make great friends.
I suppose there’s not much time left for anything outside rugby training and study, but the structure suits me. The routine is organised in such a way that the study and the training don’t clash. The fresh air and exercise I get training makes it easier to settle down to the books when I get in so it’s not a bad balance, even if it sounds full on. There are lots of different sports played here, so it’s not all about rugby. Still, at the moment with the team doing so well, there’s definitely a bit of a rugby buzz around.
A great match and a great win – we beat St Andrew’s 39/7. There’s a great atmosphere around the school. This is not the first time that Kilkenny College has made it to the quarter finals of the Leinster Cup but with the League win behind us we’re feeling very positive. Our next game will be against CUS on the 26th of this month. I’m not exactly nervous but there will be renewed focus on the training tomorrow.
Tonight had a read of the Farmer’s Journal, as I usually do on a Thursday – good for my subject and good for the talk around the dinner table. Quite a lot of the people I board with are from farming backgrounds so it’s not that unusual to be seen reading it. I haven’t got time to read much else.
Almost at the end of another week – I‘m looking forward to a training game against Castleknock College on Saturday and the return of the GAA season back in Edenderry on Sunday. I play for the local football team and we got to the county final last year.
With our Castleknock game on Saturday, football training and the ewes about to lamb my weekend is pretty well mapped out. My only relaxation, I suppose, is sitting in the tractor listening to Beat FM and the odd half hour on Facebook. I was never one for sitting around watching television anyway. Apart from Emmerdale, but I haven’t got a choice in that, do I?
THIS WEEK I WAS . . .
READING The Farmer’s Journal
WATCHING Coronation Street(no choice, three sisters)
LISTENING TOBeat FM on the tractor