Clongowes on view


Clongowes Wood College, one of Ireland's most prestigious and private second level institutions, opens its doors to the public on Monday night in the form of the final documentary of this season's True Lives series (today, RTE 1, 9.30pm-10.30pm). The programme entitled Clongowes - The Greater Glory charts the path of the school's Senior Cup team as they bid to retain the Leinster Schools Senior Cup won by their predecessors in the season 1999-2000.

The filming begins on the first day of term and continues until the final scenes when the team are feted in defeat by their fellow pupils at an assembly style gathering, having lost to Terenure College, the eventual champions. The film, produced and directed by award winning documentary maker, Donald Taylor Black, is not one dimensional, i.e. exclusively rugby, branching out to dip its toe in a potted Clongowes' history under the guidance of Father Michael Shiel.

The documentary incorporates the rituals of training, pre-match exhortations, the thoughts of the coaches Noel Murray and Adam Lewis in conjunction with match footage, the cheer practice and the rituals associated with the night before game.

Clongowes offers no apologies for the affluent backgrounds from which it draws its pupils - cue shots of the boys arriving for the first day of term.

Black does a good job of capturing the excitement and emotional grip that the Cup engenders in a school set against the beautiful backdrop of the Kildare college. What he might have given for this access 12 months earlier, but very watchable nonetheless.