St Marks Special School in Newbridge joined RILSA in 2012 and received a full size snooker table from RILSA in 2013. The facility of a snooker table installed at St Marks set about a new craze for the sport among the students who took to the sport immediately.
The girls in particular were very keen to get playing and the school set about a schedule to help each student who wished to play the sport the opportunity to do so.
With the help and support of Aidan Murray who gives of his time each week to coach and organise table time to the girls, we have seen the School take many titles and silverware over the short period they have been involved.
The first women’s Special Needs Championship in 2014 was won by a former student in Christine Carr who has gone on to do amazing things in both snooker & billiards since. Her opponent, Rachel Bradley also from St Marks was runner-up on that occasion. However Rachel came back in 2015 to take the National Special Needs title, she was unable to take part in the 2016 National Championship but returned in 2017 to retake the title for the second time, a great achievement for Rachel.
Rachel Bradley along with many of the other girls have enjoyed the sport and participate in the National Special Needs Championship each year, some of the girls, like Rachel play on the RILSA tour.
Aileen O’Brien one of the teachers at the school is always very supportive towards these events and Aileen is our National Special Needs liason Officer.
Alma Carley the Principal is so supportive of all our events and we at RILSA thank both Aileen & Alma along with all the other teachers and staff of St Marks for their fantastic work that they do at the school and in promoting girls cue sports as part of their sporting curriculum.
We in RILSA are absolutely delighted to have St Marks on board and the School received the 2018 RILSA School of the year award and Rachel Bradley received Special Needs Player of the year award, an award so deserving of such a fantastic facility and great people.
We just want to acknowledge our appreciation also to Mary at reception who is a delight to work with and like everyone at the school, is very supportive.
When Fergal O’Brien visited the school in 2017, he was amazed at the number of girls and indeed boys who play cue sports and that the students are playing and enjoying the sport at their level.