Joe Schmidt in front of assembly at Kilkenny College.
Ireland head rugby coach Joe Schmidt was a welcome and popular special guest at Kilkenny College last Wednesday.
Joe made time in his busy schedule to travel to the College and speak to the assembled school community, before rounding off his visit by meeting as many students and staff as time permitted.
Upon arrival, Joe was met by a group of junior cycle students who are captains of their respective sports teams. He was shown the Irish representative jerseys from a variety of sports worn by former students of the College, which hang in Red Square.
The atmosphere was one of of celebration in the College sports hall upon Joe’s entrance, reflecting the success of the Irish team’s recent achievements in defeating South Africa, New Zealand and Australia all in one year.
The New Zealander, who was once himself a schoolteacher, then spoke to the students and staff, reminding them that excellence is achieved through repeated practice and preparation. It is not given to anyone.
He emphasised that a group or team succeeds best when each person within it is working to be the best that they can be. It is then that the combined effort will achieve the best possible results.
The captains of the four senior girls and boys rugby and hockey teams then made a presentation of thanks to Joe, including a Kilkenny College rugby jersey.
Joe’s natural warmth and empathy shone through during his visit. A Whole School ‘selfie’ and a lap of honour around the all the year groups brought the assembly to a conclusion. Joe was gone, but the halo lives on.