Students and teachers getting used to the new all weather pitch surface at Loreto College.

Golf star Maguire cuts ribbon on all-weather pitch at Loreto

It was a special day in Loreto College on Monday as the school marked the official opening of a new all-weather sports pitch and who better to perform the honours than perhaps the greatest sporting star the college has ever produced - golfer Leona Maguire.

Having spent hundreds of Mondays in Loreto up until she sat her Leaving Cert in 2014, Leona was relaxed and right at home in the surrounds of her Alma Mater and the school community was delighted to receive her - fresh from her Solheim Cup success.

Calm as ever, Leona strode onto the expansive new pitch, interacting with students and teaching staff, before cutting the ribbon.

“We would have loved to have a facility like this when we were here. The girls are very lucky to have it and hopefully they will make good use of it and try out lots of new sports,” she said.

Leona credits Loreto College with her “work ethic”, which she says is instilled in you as a student there.

“It does not matter whether that is in respect of studies or sport – it applies in any walk of life and of course the friendships we made here, will last for the rest of our lives. I enjoyed my time here and it is nice to come back today,” she told theCelt, adding that she will be back in action on the golf course in two weeks in New Jersey.

Leona fondly recalled her time at Loreto and smiled broadly when she later located her class picture on the college landing.

Those present for the special occasion included Eddie Hynes, Loreto Education Trust Board; Padraig Kellegher, chairman of the Loreto College Board of Management; Kieran Callaghan, chairman of the Cavan County Board and Callaghan Electrical (sponsors); Michelle Smith, chairperson of the Camogie Board and Carol Kiernan, chairperson of the Cavan Ladies County Board.

The BOM chair, Mr Kellegher said: “This all-weather facility will be a tremendous asset to the college.”

He highlighted how over the last 18 months, throughout the pandemic, mental health and wellbeing became increasingly important.

“Conor Maguire and myself met with the builders during the summer holidays. This is the type of work that teachers do outside of school hours and sometimes goes unnoticed – thanks Conor for all your work and Ms Lee for your sports input,” he added.

Mr Kellegher pointed out that other members of the Board of Management, Edel Morrison and Cliona Hyland, also put in a lot of work on the financial sub-committee.

Hecongratulated Leona on her recent sporting successes.“I think it is a wonderful reflection on the character of someone like Leona that returns to their roots and take time out of a busy schedule to do so. The students and staff are all thrilled to see you here today,” said Mr Kellegher.

Principal Angela McGarvey extolled the virtues of the wonderful new facility and said students are already shown great enthusiasm in utilising the pitch.

“Any ideas you have girls in relation to new sports you would like to see developed in the school, please bring them forward. If you can find a teacher to support your idea, we will support you every step of the way,” enthused Ms McGarvey.

“Ladies, you are a credit to your clubs and to the college and it has to be said that the work that goes on in clubs feeds into the college and vice versa,” she said.

When Leona made her way to the staff room, an area off limits during her time as student, she was given a rousing round of applause and presented with a bouquet of flowers before catching up with some of her former teachers.