Eton eclipsed at the Olympics by Coleraine Inst, a Northern Ireland grammar school

Late adds  I’ve struck a new headline which just might draw the attention of an aggregator to the story and give a well deserved boost to Slugger’s profile. You never know, with the debate going on about the disproportionate role of English private schools in contributing to Team GB’s victories. See for example Lord Moynihan’s orginal comments here, Alastair Campbell in the Observer    and a contrary view from  Telegraph blogger Brendan O’Neill. 


Am I surprised that the Olympics have scarcely dented the gloomy surface of the Slugger agenda? A bit, I admit. Perhaps it goes to show that pessimism is the parochialism of choice these days.(Easy up guys, they’re in a different category of experience but  they are  actual, really).  Or does it mean that we no longer need a Mary Peters to give us a lift because things have really got better and we can afford to keep moaning?

Anyway three cheers for Alan Campbell and the Chambers brothers for their stunning achievements on the water. And two for my old school Coleraine Inst for producing them ( and US Open winner Graeme McDowell too). The austere shade of school rowing coach and head of Maths (shudder!) Mickey Eyre will be giving a rare smile of satisfaction. The Slugger thought police may be interested  to note that even in the depths of exhaustion in that memorable interview just after the race, Alan still had the presence of mind to have succeeded  for “all parts of the  British Isles,” not just GB.

It’s another medal for our wee part of the country – the Chambers brothers yesterday with the silver, myself with the bronze and I’m proud to be from there and proud to represent all parts of the British Isles.

“To have three medals from the one town is pretty exceptional and I’m very happy about that.”

For some this may not have been the perfect insular formula but the all-Ireland message was not in doubt.   How very interesting too that David Cameron visited Coleraine boathouse on the day of the final as part of a UK wide tour to encourage sporting legacy. And really nice to note to that my old school has been achieving more sporting successes than his.

  • Nordie Northsider

    ‘The British Isles’ isn’t exactly free of problems itself, Brian.

  • Yes hats off to Coleraine Inst and to our Olympians and medallists.Poor show for Eton if what you say is correct after all Eton Dorney is in their backyard and owned by the school.

    Must be very difficult for all the rowers to come off the water to be met by Redgrave and Pinsent, they should be judged in their own light and by events on the day. What those Coleraine men did was immense.

  • Well indeed …congratulations to the Coleraine rowers. In addition to winning medals, they actually came across as nice guys. Indeed watching the Olympics Ive been impressed by just how many decent people there are around. A lot of Olympians from a lot of nations do have a good tale to tell. Pster boys have been over-hyped and the lesser known people from lesser known sports have been given 15 minutes of Fame.
    And yes in this part of the world we need to catch a break at the Olympics…..Ms Peters in 1972 ……Wayne McCullough in 1992…….the Coleraine rowers in 2012 or perhaps later today we can all gather round the TV and cheer on Paddy Barnes from Belfast as we all did yesterday with Michael Conlan yesterday.
    Like Mr Walkers school… own has an Olympic pedigree. Jim McCourt 1964 bronze medalist was a pupil.

  • I regret my omission of other Gold medalists from this part of the world during the “dark days” from circa 1988/92 Jimmy Kirkwood and Stephen Martin (GB Hockey). The latter is now Cheif Executive of the Olympic Council of Ireland.

  • “Micky Eyre will be giving a rare smile of satisfaction”

    Mickey passed on two years ago, Brian. COBRA Rowing on Facebook.

  • Brian Walker

    Nevin, I wrote the austere shade of Mmcikey

  • Brian Walker

    I wrote the austere shade of Mickey Eyre…

  • comhfhreagrai eachtrannach

    If Team Ireland win a medal or two, I will not be unhappy, I suppose, but to be honest on the whole I find the Olympics a bit of a borefest and a television turn-off.

  • “the gloomy surface of the Slugger agenda”

    I totally agree and am refreshed to note that a Slugger blogger admits that fact. On the subject of coverage of the Olympics on Slugger, the lack of any previous blog regarding the sport is very disappointing. The TV cannot cover every nuance of Sport, no matter how hard it may try. Blogging can reach the parts that TV coverage cannot reach so thank you Brian.

    The Northern Ireland rowers were magnificent, as were the rest of the British and NI rowing team.

    4 golds, 2 silver and 3 bronze from 14 events is an astonishing medal haul for one nation in an Olympic Games. I have been looking at the medal records for rowing in past Olympic Games. The GBNI rowing medal haul is the second or third largest (depending on how you view Germany) for any one Nation in an Olympics. In 1988 (Seul), the whole of Germany won 6 rowing golds (2 for west Germany and 4 for East Germany). In 1904 (St. Louis), the United States won 5 rowing golds.

  • innis

    Damn those Greeks and Romans from millenia ago in naming the group of islands and causing today’s problems (for those who seek problems where there may be none and for those of us mature enough not to care about minor semantics).

    And who can forget Billy McConnell from Newry who won bronze with the GB and NI Hockey team in Los Angeles in ’84.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    Watching Alan Cambell was probably my highlight of the games – so emotional.

    Chambers brothers were gutted – an opportunity lost but a silver so nothing to be sniffed at..

    Shame that wendy was dropped from the cycling side – they picked up gold 2day.

  • BluesJazz

    It’s been a fantastic day for the country. We’re now third in the world and Jessica did us all proud tonight. Hopefully the national team, including the Coleraine trio ,will be invited to Stormont, Holyrood and Cardiff, so we can celebrate as a nation.

    Maybe our winners can voyage south to the Irish republic to show them how its done. Friendliness with our neighbours should be part of the olympic spirit.

  • Mark

    ” Maybe our winners can voyage south to the Republic to show them how it’s done ” ?????

    To show them how what is done ? Winning a silver medal …. check your Olympic facts Bluejazz .

    Will you attending any of the Olympic events up there this week ? Oh that’s right …

  • The Olympics are a borefest. What is an olympic sport exactly? It’s totally arbitrary seemingly. The desperate attempt to include popular sports in among the less fashionable ones to get the seats filled. Let’s face it, jusxt because the Greeks started it it a century ago, doesn’t mean it’s any use.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    poor dan. it seems like a billion or two disagree with. probably hasn’nt been a tv audience like this since the royal wedding .

  • Old Mortality

    You clearly haven’t looked at CAI’s admission statistics lately, or you wouldn’t describe it as a grammar school. Not many candidates are disappointed. Maybe it should reinvent itself as a sports academy.

  • The local BBC and UnionistTV are only interested in GB olympic entrants from here. They rave about bronze medals for Coleraine entrants to fill up their ‘alleged news’ programmes. The sectarian bias is out in the open. Who do they think is fooled?

  • OneNI

    ‘The local BBC and UnionistTV are only interested in GB olympic entrants from here’
    The parochailism of Irish nationalism laid bare. It is almost rubbish – beeb will cover Team ireland success too.

    Fact is that Irish nationalism choose to go down the narrow cul de sac of Gaelic games and largely turn its back on international sport.
    Thankfully their are many Irish people north and south who do participate in internationally known sports such as cricket, rugby and football.
    No doubt nationalsits regard the sailing fraternity as ‘west Brits’

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    I have CAI family connections too, so especially pleased about our rowers. But yes, I had noticed that the remarkable Olympic mood in the country isn’t reflected on Slugger. Parochialism or nothing to argue about?

    But it’s been a fantastic event and so far a wonderful reminder of what we have, in terms of diversity, spirit and achievement, from Danny Boyle’s Isles of Wonder onwards. We’re not any better than anyone else, but we’re just as good as anyone – and it’s been lovely to see that optimistic spirit coming through after several years of miserable news (and a crap government – it’s lions led by donkeys, IMHO).

    Being positive and feeling good doesn’t always get interesting debates going. But the Britain on show at the Olympics should be making people reflect, in a good way, about how we’ve come on as a country and as an ever changing blend of peoples. As Billy Bragg tweeted on Saturday night, golds for a mixed race lass, a ginger and an asylum seeker should put the anti-multi-cultural brigade in their place. I hope those parts of the world – and there are many – who had previously thought Britain was defined by bowler hats, tweeds and tradition are starting to realise what we’re all about.