‘A Well-Known Prat Factory’


A towel-slapping breakdown of the whey protein-fuelled ritual that is the Leinster Schools Cup by The Slate from 2003.

‘Tis the season in fairness.


The Slate ‘Schools Rugby’  2003 (Brand New Retro)

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43 thoughts on “‘A Well-Known Prat Factory’

    1. ScareySarahCarey

      Expect the players have become much much bigger in the last 10 years as a result of abuse of supplements.

  1. Clampers Outside!

    My trophy cabinet consists of two items:

    1. A bronze medal for running backwards in First Class, that’s the year after high-infants, btw.
    2. A regional trophy for being captain of the best School Traffic Warden team in the west !

    My trophy and medal winning career ended after that, I retired aged 11.

    I know nothing of this experience of rugby this article speaks of…. thankfully.

  2. scottser

    i never got rugby. in the noughties i would refer to rugby types as ‘girvans’, after the impossibly named girvan dempsey..

    1. Jimmee


      Rugby is more a way of life than an actual sport for most Irish people now-a-days. Sure it’s a fun sport to watch, but so are many other sports. The attention it’s given shows we’re currently witnessing a ‘rugby bubble’. I don’t know how long it will be sustained for, maybe when poor little Timothy develops brain disease from one too many concussions.

      1. Joe the Lion

        I think it’s a great game actually, has all the right sort of rules and principles and I like that in its pre-professional configuration any difference in body shape did not rule out involvement.

        The people who comment and follow it, especially in the professional era are utterly repulsive to me however.

  3. Invert

    Potato heads and cauliflower ears for the men ( women more carrot in colour), would not look out of place in my veg garden, no breeding though ,so would not make it on to my stud farm.

  4. Custo

    I have about twenty old copies of the Slate lying around in my gaff. It’s still the best thing that has ever been produced by this country, apart from Rollerskate Skinny’s second album.

  5. Ding

    I went to one of these schools for one year before returning to my natural habitat.
    Hours spent in the assembly hall rehearsing the rugby chants is one of the most bizarre memories. There was a haka type one with loads of references to the school.

  6. madouveh on the dole

    Went to a rugby school myself . Always preferred football as did a lot of other lads I was with. Excellent players, stigmatized as being knackery for not worshiping the culture of jockism in our private schools.

    Most of the best athletes who excelled at football just ended up playing rugby simply because there was no support system for any other sports. Dopey Southside birds are taught to worship it as well so there’s little or no prestige attached to being good at any other sport.

    We live in a jock culture here as a result of this. Hence why our domestically produced art and football teams tend to suck.

    1. Ding

      I milked a knee injury to avoid the compulsory rugby. The history teacher who was also a rugby coach used to have constant digs at my ‘weakness’ during class.

    2. 15 cents

      “stigmatized as being knackery” says man called ‘madouveh on the dole’ .. hahaha. am im jokin, you’re spot on with your comment. its a weird culture that’s developed here. It all stems from the elite classes just really really wanting to be English.

    3. Kieran NYC

      So despite the fact that loads of people play football, and very few play rugby by comparison, it’s rugby’s fault that our football team is shite?

      Right so.

  7. reidman

    Am a Northsider who went to a South side rugby school, enjoyed every day of it – rugby aside. No doubt a few more commentators here may have enjoyed the last few Ireland games too

      1. scottser

        rugby is a different thing culturally in munster, where it’s regarded as a working class game.

        1. Gav D

          This is far and away the biggest myth propagated in Ireland. I’m not having a go at you personally, but more people should know that its pure horseshit.

          While there’s isolated pockets of “working class” rugby in Munster, there’s equal amounts of so called working class rugby played in Leinster, and infinite amounts more in Ulster. And in Munster in particular, the sport is overwhelming played by posh kids (often times from the same type of “rugby schools” the self same kids have such a chip on their shoulders about).

          “in Munster, rugby is a working class game” was an excuse that was made up by large amounts of self-hating cork and limerick GAA fans who jumped on the bandwagon around the advent of the European rugby competition at the end of the 90s. It was seen as treacherous to be seen to enjoy the hated “west brit” game. So when the lads all realised that there was infinitely better craic to be had by hopping on a plane for a weekend to follow their team to France, England, or Italy ten a bus to Dublin or Athlone, they needed some way to justify the whole thing to themselves.

          This is the excuse that they started trotting out, which as most of them didnt know enough about the game in ireland to dispute it, ended up being taken as gospel truth. This myth has become so blindly believed and repeated, by people who really don’t have a bog what they’re talking about.

          1. Mikeyfex

            Wow, I was just going to say to Scottser that what he said was not entirely accurate. That would have sufficed too, I think. Rather than extrapolating from some sort of dislike towards jonny-come-latelies.

            There are clubs and rugby playing schools in working class and middle class areas. IN short it’s open to anyone who wants to play if there’s a club nearby.

            That’s not to say it’s not open to anyone in Leinster.

            So sad that the advent of european rugby in the late 90’s killed off support for and participation in GAA in Cork and Limerick though, isn’t it Gav?

          2. Gav D

            Did it kill off support for GAA? I couldn’t speak to it either way in fairness, but that seems a bit over stated surely?

          3. Gav D

            Also, MF, no intention on my part to deride johnny come latelies. I love the bandwagons – these folks keep buying the jerseys, and Leinster can keep paying top class money for top class players. Even the aforementioned end-of-the-nineties Munster fans can justifiably claim nearly two decades of supporting / following rugby. Everybody has to start somewhere! And the various bandwagons have trickled down and rejuvenated club rugby to an amazing degree.

          4. Mikeyfex

            Fair dues. A reasonable outlook indeed, one that I share. My question to you about the support of GAA down here was sarcastic since it looked like you claimed GAA supporters jumped ship “when the lads all realised that there was infinitely better craic to be had” elsewhere. You didn’t bite so fair play.

            Also, MF are my actual initials so you had me worried there for a sec.

          5. Jam

            nope. you have gone too far the other way. cork is similar to Dublin in that it is played overwhelmingly by middle class/posh kids. In limerick it is played by a broader base. They are the 2 biggest contributors so on balance rugby is played by a broader base in munster but not by so much as people think.
            The self-hating justification part is just too cynical. The fans you talk about do still show up to GAA matches unlike the majority of south Dublin rugby fans. In other words, the lines are more blurred in munster. You don’t get a lot of people who are only into rugby or only GAA. Which is good. more middle ground. Your twisting of these things into this self hating theory probably says more about you than them.

          6. Gav D


            “…so on balance rugby is played by a broader base in munster but not by so much as people think.”

            So basically, you’re agreeing with what I’m saying, yeah?

            “The self-hating justification part is just too cynical. The fans you talk about do still show up to GAA matches unlike the majority of south Dublin rugby fans.”
            Straw man argument there sir. As noted above, I never suggested that munster rugby fans deserted GAA; only that they needed to justify their “treachery” in following the west brit game too.

            Also, a large amount of “south dublin rugby fans” as you put it probably never had any interest in the GAA in the first place, so I think it might be a false equivalency.

            “Your twisting of these things into this self hating theory probably says more about you than them.”

            Just because its cynical doesn’t make it any less true sir. I don’t know what vintage you are, but I concretely remember both friends and family of the munster GAA persuasion being disgusted about the munster rugby bandwagon at first. it wasn’t long before they’d changed their tunes and started coming out with all of this rugby-for-the-working-class-too-in-munster-so-its-alright-for-me muck.

  8. Gav D

    Lot of chips on shoulders in this thread; Dissenting voice away!

    I’m a life long rugby fan, picked it up from my Dad, who got it from his dad and so on. Played since I was 10. Played in school. Played in college. Played at club level. Still play today (to a much worse standard, and with much less frequency).

    Rugby’s great, most of the people I’ve played with over the years have been great. Its an easy sport for anyone to pick up which can be played by people of all sizes, speeds and abilities. I’ve played with people from all “classes”, races and sexualities; theres no distinction whatsoever when you’re on/off the pitch in my experience. In fact, i think in Ireland that rugby has been far more progressive on sexuality issues in particular than any other sport (tip of the hat to the Emerald Warriors, Ireland’s first all gay team – never heard of an all gay GAA or football team, but if they exist im happy to stand corrected).

    While I understand the chip on the shoulder people have about it still pisses me off. I couldn’t give two hoots about GAA or soccer, but you won’t find me having a go at “boggers” or “knackers” anytime they’re mentioned.

    While everything in Slate’s article is as bang on now as it was then (uncannily spot on, in fact), theres very little in there that’d be different if you changed the word rugby to GAA.

    1. illuminati16

      Gaelic football not rugby is the sport of the middle classes in ireland according to the esri study on sports participation. Its known as a middle class game in England. In ireland its lower classes to middle

    2. Bacchus

      Spot on Gav, there’s a lot of ignorance being sported with confidence here but it’s still ignorance.

    3. Someone

      “never heard of an all gay GAA or football team”

      That’s because the GAA is a community based organisation.

      1. Gav D

        Do the gay community not count as a community?

        For the most part, so is rugby anyway. The majority of teams in the country are local / community based teams, no different than the GAA. If you want to see community rugby, go watch a greystones or skerries or arklow game, to name just a few of the rabidly supported community based teams I’ve played against dozens of times. Same case in both Munster, Ulstera nd even (gasp!) Connacht too.

  9. Zarathustra

    I wonder did The Slate write a similar article relaying their version of The Terrible Truth about schools where soccer is the dominant sport? If so, how did it portray the players, girlfriends, parents and the past pupils?

    1. Mikeyfex

      Oh hells no. That’d be perceived as sneering at those beneath them. Whereas this is safely perceived as sneering at those above them. Biiiiiig mutha-f___n difference, silly.

  10. Frilly Keane

    Did ye think t’was my birthday!

    Ye Ledgie’bags!

    Yep. Ledgie’bag.

    Christ t’night.

    As an aside. No lad from Da’Mon ever played for Munster. So where how working man’s game got applied t’Munster I jus’ dunno. But suit yerselves. Couldn’t giv’ah

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