Fixtures of Old
Joe MacAvin's 1952-53 scorecard
Joe MacAvin kept a remarkable scrapbook of his time at Knock, that details quite a bit of living history. Thankfully this he has now donated to the College Museum where all can peruse it at their leisure. We've already published snippets on skinners and feckin' out and attached here is the SVC scorecard where Joe recorded the senior football results for 1952-53.
The external opposition detailed thereon, Mountjoy aside, would be similar to what it is today. The two internal fixtures though may require further clarification as both had died out by the 70's if not before that -
Walk vs. House was a fixture where the prefects played their fellow pupils. Joe's scorecard has it that the House won the football but the Walk had their revenge in rugby, via a penalty kicked by the then Dean, Fr. Brendan Steen who himself was Head Prefect back in 1939-40. The Top Walk was the area between the Chapel and Crease that was reserved exclusively for Vins and Prefects. The Walk itself disappeared as part of the new Gym build in 1968, but the name survived in Knock vernacular as the colloquial term for prefects.
It was a brave set of prefects that met their fellow pupils on the rugby field, as the opportunities for retribution, as egged on by a baying crowd, must have been sorely tempting - witness this report from the 1952-53 Chronicle:
March 15.-The big attraction for this Sunday was the annual House v. Walk match. The numerous and vociferous supporters of the House felt that with the aid of their captain Garret Cooney, better known to his many fans as "the Cavan Slasher", their team would humble the might of the Prefects. The latter also seem to have some qualms about the result of the match as they enlisted in their side two "pro's" i.e. trainers, and also two other Vins.
The match itself proved to be a mighty struggle between two well matched teams. Many and unintelligible were the murmurs and mutterings that were to be heard from the tenebrous recesses of loose maul and tight scrum - many also but clearly intelligible were the cheers and remarks from the touch line. The reputation of the Prefects remained unsullied as, amidst the catcalls of a violent crowd, they saved the day with a mighty penalty goal.
Let it also be said that despite the needle in the encounter, there were no major injuries, not even a few arms broken. At the same time it was noticed that a number of the Vins were slow on the move the next day.
Understandably so, prefects of today have never clamoured for a return of this fixture.
Past vs. Present was a less fractious annual affair where past pupils returned to play the present, primarily to toughen them up for the upcoming cup campaign. It was a always keenly fought encounter and a good barometer of likely success in the cup campaign. The Director of Rugby today would surely welcome a return of this fixture? Meeting a past team led by Toner, Moore, Farrell et al would be quite an inspirational challenge for the SCT.