Welcome to the St. Munchin's Express - an online space where students post articles, reviews, reports, creative writing, and other pieces that aim to celebrate the values of individual thinking and independent thought.

Autumn Edition

Our purpose here at the Express is to present the reader with a broad profile of St. Munchin's College and the wider world through a vibrant mix of articles from the following sections:

In the News - An essential for any news publication, this segment keeps you up to date on goings on both local and global.

Around the School - For students, by students, about students. Articles about student life and experiences are covered in this section.

Review Room - A popular segment for both our writers and readers (particularly in the current iteration); here we bring you our review team's opinions on movies, games and music.

In Focus - A tip of the hat to investigative journalism, our In Focus section will target key issues affecting both school and society.

The Scrum - Reporting on all sporting matters with rugby taking centre-stage, but "propped" up by information on GAA, soccer, athletics, and other sports.

  1. Climate Crisis by Aron Calvert
  2. Homework Debate by James Hassett
  3. Classic Movies by Vinnie Jones
  4. Shrek Retrospect by Jakub Szczerbaty
  5. Ta13oo Review by Fionn McKeogh
  6. Spider-man Problem by Scott Quin Daly
  7. Refereeing in the RWC by Eoin Walsh
  8. VAR Assessment by Danny O'Donovan
Is Ireland doing enough to combat the climate crisis?
  • By Aron Calvert

In the News

Climate change is something that affects every single person, no matter where we lie on this globe. It’s also a problem that we all have a responsibility to deal with. For countries in the western world this responsibility is even larger because our fossil fuel emissions are much greater than those elsewhere in the world. Countries in Europe and North America are the main contributors and so we should be the leaders in resolving this climate crisis the world is currently embroiled in. Although Ireland is a small country with a small population on the outskirts of Europe, our greenhouse gas emissions per person are among the highest of any country in the world. We have already begun to see the effects of global warming and without enough action by the people and government these effects will only grow.

What needs to be done to address the climate crisis?

In order to solve the problem of climate change we need to begin to do something about it now and radically cut our burning of greenhouse gasses. Carbon emissions are contributing to the greenhouse gas effect, when greenhouse gases like carbon and methane cause heat to become trapped in the atmosphere, which then causes the Earth to heat up, causing sea water levels to rise when icebergs melt. This leads to increased storms, extreme weather and many other side effects. On our island not only have we failed to reduce our carbon emissions, they have been growing slowly, mostly because of our actions like agriculture, transport, and our extensive usage of energy. To prevent carbon emissions from continuing to grow, we need to stop burning fossil fuels and begin to turn towards more renewable energy sources, and we need this to happen quickly.

Is the government doing enough?

Ireland has been involved in several climate talks and loads pf agreements over the years, on both a global and European level. Most of our climate policies have been introduced due to these meetings. However, it’s imperative we know that just because the government has signed up to these agreements and have begun to create policies, it doesn’t mean for a second that the Irish government has begun to act on them. Ireland has recently declared a 'climate emergency', the government needs to act in order to really address the issue and treat it with the seriousness it deserves.

Potential solutions

The Government may love to portray the image of them working tirelessly for the environmentalist cause, but the truth is far from that. They continue to sign treaties and agreements, and nothing continues to be done. The government needs to work to make a carbon neutral life a viable one. One of our largest carbon contributors is our usage of cars however none of the alternatives presented by the government are viable for a lot of people. Public transport outside of Dublin consists of Buses and trains the latter of which are not useful for most daily travel. Buses in Ireland have limited routes and are extremely unreliable. Often late buses will leave you waiting for up to an hour. People cannot be expected to use public transport ahead of private if it is of such low quality.

Electric vehicles

Electric vehicles are often pointed to as the main alternative for transport however due to the lack of charging stations around Ireland and the time it takes to charge long haul journeys are quite risky in these vehicles. They also can tend to be expensive. They are an option for some people but are not a one size fits all solution.


The changes that must be made will take time and will likely be difficult but are not impossible. Young people want to see the government act rather than blabbing their gums consistently about things that will get them elected. We don’t care about how many agreements we want action and it needs to be immediate.

Perhaps if more of us has such zeal for this issue then a solution would be more readily found.

Homework: Good or Bad?
  • Below is the text of a speech from SMC's Debating Club member, James Hassett

Around the School

There are many advantages for doing homework. It’s not just about going over what you learnt in school that day. It is also about learning skills such as setting priorities and time management which are important skills for life.

Homework teaches students about time management – you learn to work out how much time you need on each subject depending on how much you have to do each night. This is an important skill to have if you later decide to go to college or even when you are at work. You need to be able to manage your study time in college or your tasks that have to be completed at work.

Homework also teaches us how to set priorities which is something we also need for later life. We need to know how to priorities our study, work and free time.

Homework also is of benefit to teachers as it shows them how much a student understood what was done in class and shows the student how much more they need to learn.

It also gives students the chance to go over work that was done in class without any distractions, maybe in a place they are more relaxed to learn in.

Homework also teaches us how to solve problems and to be able to work on our own. It makes us responsible for learning ourselves and teaches us that sometimes we have to do things even when we don’t want to.

Some people may argue that homework eats into our spare time but I would argue that it teaches us to manage our time better, prioritise what we need to do and make choices about how we spend our free time.

Others may argue that parents may get too involved in a student’s homework removing the benefit of learning a home but I disagree with this. It can be valuable time for parents and children to spend together.

Overall homework teaches students the importance of planning, being organised and taking actions which far outweighs any disadvantages. Thanks for your time hope you will consider my points of view

Classic Movie Countdown
  • By Vinnie Jones

Review Room

3: Shawshank Redemption

Well, where do I start? Shawshank Redemption, if you haven’t seen it, is a movie from 1994. The main protagonist Andy is convicted to two life sentences for the murder of his wife - which he did not commit.

He spends 19 years in a prison seeing the true brutalities of life. But he also makes friends in there. Red, famously played by Morgan Freeman, is a prisoner who befriends Andy.

Andy then starts planning his breakout he spends years using his rock hammer to break through his cell wall covering it with a poster. Once he is through his cell wall he navigates through the sewers until he comes out "clean".

He then moves to Mexico where he is reunited with red. These features is why I place Shawshank Redemption in my top 3.

2: Rocky 4

The fourth edition of the rocky series starring Sylvester Stallone is without a doubt the best movie out of the set. The movie shows the Soviet Union making its way into the professional boxing scene. They are represented by their fighter Ivan Drago.

Rocky’s friend and fellow boxer Apollo Creed decides to fight Drago and sadly is killed in the ring from a massive blow from the furious Russian.

Rocky then decides to fight Drago even though the odds are stacked against him. He then travels to Russia where the fight is on and starts his grueling hard training to prepare for the fight.

The fight is 15 grueling rounds which ends with Rocky knocking Drago out with a blow to the head. From the emotional deaths and the tense victory this movie will really keep you on the edge of your seat and that is why it gets second place on my list.

1: Forrest Gump

Now to the top of the list - Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump is a movie made in 1994 starring Tom Hanks. If you’re looking for a complete movie then you’ve come to the right place. This movie really has everything, from the romance between Forrest and his childhood sweetheart Jenny, the action in the Vietnam War, the friendship made between Forrest and Bubba, and the comedic moments like the iconic bus-stop scene where Forrest talks about his life to an old woman. This scene is also where the iconic phrase “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get” was made.

In my opinion this is the greatest movie ever made.Others seem to agree, with it getting a 8.8/10 on IMDB.

Shrek: best movie ever?
  • By Jakub Szczerbaty

Review Room

Shrek is a 2001 animated comedy movie. It grossed over 484.4 million USD and won an Oscar for best animated feature. Fun Fact: Shrek the movie was actually based on the game Shrek Smash n’ Crash Racing.

Of course, one of the most debated topics in the film world is, is Shrek the best movie ever? Well today I am going to end that debate and convince you that Shrek is, indeed, a cinematic masterpiece and the best movie ever.

The main character is the lovable and huggable, Shrek, with his classic catchphrase “Man do I love lasagna”. Don’t we all Shrek, don’t we all. Shrek is an ogre who lives peacefully in his swamp, scaring any human who tries to give him cheek. He doesn’t even have to touch them; he just roars, and they run. Legend. Then one day Lord Farquaad evicts all the fairy tale creatures away from his Kingdom of Duloc into Shrek’s swamp.

Shrek along with Donkey, go to the kingdom of Duloc where Lord Farquad tells them if they can bring him Princess Fiona, the fairy tale creatures will leave his swamp.

Shrek and Donkey, go on a quest to save Princess Fiona and bring her back to Lord Farquuad. They save her from her tower, guarded by a dragon but when she discovers her savior is an ogre, she is less than pleased. Shrek however doesn’t care about her opinion and takes her, and they start walking back to Duloc.

It gets late and the three stops for the night. Fiona locks herself away in a cave for the night, so that Shrek and Donkey can’t see her sleeping. It is in this scene, as Shrek and Donkey look at the stars, that Shrek expresses his frustration with people and how they treat him. They judge him before they even know him and believe he is a monster because of the way he looks. It’s why Shrek acts like a monster, he is tired of being rejected from society and so he accepts his role as a monster.

This scene echoes a previous scene, probably one of the most important and iconic scenes in cinema history. The scene takes place in a field filled with onions and Donkey asks Shrek why he doesn’t just beat up Farquuad and Shrek tells him that ogres aren’t always aggressive.” Ogres are like onions” says Shrek.” They have layers”. What Shrek means by this is that Ogres are intelligent and emotionally complex creatures that are capable of feeling love, happiness, fear and sadness and not just mindless monsters that attack people for no reason. But because of his brutish exterior and looks society judges Shrek without taking into consideration that he might not be a monster. That he might have layers. And like Shrek says, they judge him before they even know him. And so, he acts out and rejects society, like society rejected him.

During the movie as Fiona, Shrek and Donkey travel back to Duloc, Fiona and Shrek bond. Fiona even murders a mother bird and cooks her young not even born children to make breakfast for the crew. But as they come closer to Duloc Shrek and Fiona become sad as they realize they will soon be parting. On their last night together, Shrek wants to tell Fiona about how he feels, but overhears her saying something about ogres being monsters which makes him feel vulnerable and stupid and so he rejects his feelings. What he doesn’t realize however is that Fiona wasn’t talking about Shrek. She was talking about herself. At night Fiona turns into an ogre, and Donkey walks in on her transforming. She then explains to him how the only way to get rid of this curse is a true loves kiss. She hates herself and refers to herself as a monster, which Shrek overhears and assumes it’s about him.

Shrek returns to his swamp and Fiona goes to marry Lord Farquaad. This is both Shrek's and Fiona's lowest point so far. They both feel unhappy as they are separated by society. However, Donkey follows Shrek and tells him that Fiona wasn’t talking about him, but herself. He tells him that Fiona is an ogre like him, and that Shrek must stop feeling sorry for himself and go get her before she's married. This is commentary on how sometimes the reason people push others away is because they feel inadequate or not good enough for that person and how to form bonds with other people you have to stop thinking of them as perfect, and see them for the flawed individuals they are. Once you do that suddenly you don’t feel as inadequate.

Shrek storms into the Duloc church just as Fiona and Lord Farquuad are about to get married and confesses his love. Lord Farquad ,along with his followers laugh at this because they don’t understand how Shrek, an ogre, can feel love or ever be loved. Fiona however accepts Shrek for who he is and refuses to marry Farquad. Then as the sun goes down, Fiona turns into an ogre in front of the whole crowd. Everyone in the church panics and Lord Farquad gives orders to have both ogres executed. Unfortunately for him, the Dragon guarding Fiona smashes into the church and eats Farquad. His followers don’t go along with the execution and Shrek and Fiona get married.

Their wedding is in Shrek's swamp surrounded by all the fairy tale creatures playing a smashmouth song, as opposed to a regular wedding. This wedding is a perfect summary of the entire movie.

Shrek is ultimately a film about being able to accept someone's love. Not just romantic, but all love, platonic, family etc. Even if you are an outcast or shunned by most you can’t become bitter and isolate yourself. You must stay open to people and to the possibility that maybe not everyone in the world is out to get you. Shrek isn't at a place where he is able to love himself, not yet anyway, but over the course of this movie learns to able to accept others love. Fiona and Donkey are the first two creatures in his life that treat him with respect and dignity and genuinely care for him. And despite a few mishaps, Shrek ultimately accepts them as a part of his life.

So, would I say Shrek is the best movie ever? Maybe.

Is it great? Is that even a question?

Ta13oo Review
  • by Fionn McKeogh

Review Room

Ta13oo Review

The album Ta13oo was releases in July of 2018 by Florida rapper Denzel Curry. This is his 5th solo project. This album was split into 3 parts consisting of the light side, the grey side and the dark side. These all take up different styles of music and different meanings behind songs. This album was called ta13oo because of the dark subject matters it discusses. The album is made up of 13 songs divided into a ratio of 4:5:4 between light, grey and dark. The light side keeps a more positive and uplifting vibe and they are the more chill songs on the album. The grey side which houses 5 songs on the project delve into deeper, more personal issues for Denzel. In these he shows off his rapping capability with multiple interesting and intricate flows. The final third to this project keeps the same style through the final 4 songs with more aggressive, louder sounds that Denzel has used on previous projects.

Light side

Denzel opens up this album with the track titled ‘Ta13oo’. This song is a slow song in which he introduces us to the dark subject matter with the line ‘Welcome to the darker side of Ta13oo’. In this track he talks to a little girl about dealing with trauma. Denzel later revealed this track was about him and he approached it in a 3rd person perspective. The next song is titled ‘13lack 13aloonz’ and is a very upbeat song with a catchy hook. Deep down in the lyrics we realize this song is about dealing with suicidal thoughts and carrying pain [the black balloon]. Towards the end of Denzel’s verse he talks about popping the black balloon and letting the pain stop, in other words taking his own life so he doesn’t have to deal with pain. This track features an exciting verse from Goldlink and Twelv’len on the chorus. Next up is ‘Cazh Man1ac’ featuring Nyyjerya who delivers a beautiful chorus to brighten up this song between Denzel’s verses. This song talks about one being money hungry, rising to the top and looking down at haters. ‘Zumo’ is the fourth track and keeps up the positivity through a hard hitting beat and chorus. Zeltron talks about having too much money and how its not that good for him. In this track Denzel spits some of his hardest bars on this project including metaphors and word play that excel. This paves the way for the next part of the album where Denzel shows off more wordplay and metaphors proving that he is one of the best lyricists in the rap game.

Grey side

The next part of the album begins with a fun ,energetic track named ‘Zuper Za1yan Zuperman’. This track does not shine light on any particular topic but is there to show off his lyrical ability. The track’s name originates from Dragon Ball Z character Super Saiyan. Next up is ‘Zw1tch 1t Up’ a song that tells a tale of the people who switched up on Denzel throughout his career as an artist. He lets people know about how people turn fake once he starts to make money and people befriending him because of it. The follow up track keeps the same theme and is titled ‘Mad 1 Got 1t’. Denzel talks about jealousy of his success amongst others in his home city. Here he mentions of how a good guy gets turned inside out by ‘fake’ friends who are hating on him because they aren’t as successful as he is. This song includes some of Denzel’s best lyricism and wordplay written in all 3 verses of this track. ‘Z1renz’ is up next and is one of the more popular tracks on the album. With rising star Billie Eilish on the hook, Denzel discusses a taboo subject amongst the African American society with racial discrimination and police brutality. In verse 1 Denzel talks about current society and mentions the murders of his brother Treone and Trayvon Martin who were both murdered by police in his city in Florida. This track features a memorable verse from J.I.D which would be considered one of the best in 2018. With a fast, intricate flow J.I.D revolves his verse around deliberate abuse by police. J.I.D’s verse was so good Denzel decided to write another verse so he wasn’t outshone on his own song. Donald Trump is mentioned in the 3rd verse of the song. Here Denzel looks down upon Trump for not solving the police crisis. The final song on the grey side is Clout Co13a1n, the lead single for the album. This takes a more melodic route, unusual to Denzel’s normal style. The state of the music industry is what Denzel tackles with this hit, claiming that the artist is one of many acts the label ‘owns’. He says that the label doesn’t care about the artist’s wellbeing or mental health and all they want is money. Denzel says that music fans are oblivious to this nature and are heavily influenced by what the labels want them to see and copy. The songs title is a nod to Nirvana rock star of the 90’s Kurt Cobain. Kurt is notorious for his sudden suicide and this is continuously addressed in the catchy chorus. Money and fame take center stage in the theme of this track and how they affect the artist.

Dark Side

The dark side inhabits a more aggressive tone to each of the final 4 songs on this project. The first song of this side is titled ‘The 13lackest 13alloon’. On this track Denzel grieves the loss of his older brother Treon Johnson. Treon was tased by the police and went into cardiac arrest where he died from his injuries. Following up this song is an aggressive track and one of the 3 singles released before the album in ‘Percz’. In this track Denzel goes back over the state of the rap industry as he does in Clout Co13a1n. Next up delivers 2 of the best features of the year with Jpegmafia and New York metal artist Zillakami. The song is titled Vengeance and was followed up with a music video 1 month after. Denzel finishes off the album with ‘13lack Metal terror1zt’, a song solely built off of aggression and rage. This is the perfect finish to the album as the styles have varied throughout the project and have progressed from a soft, melodic sound into a hard metal sound. This has been one of the best acclaimed albums of the year of 2018 with 98% like rate by Google users.

The Spider-man Problem
  • By Scott Quin Daly

In Focus

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years, (or you’re not a marvel fan) you’ve heard of Spider-Man in the MCU, that’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe for those of you out of the loop. In relatively recent times, Disney, who own Marvel, struck a deal with Sony, this deal entailed that Spider-Man would be incorporated into the MCU and would get his own movie series. Undoubtedly, this went brilliantly for Sony. Before now, Sony had been having trouble with creating Spider-Man movies, having made two reboots since they acquired the rights in 1999, totalling to five movies. These did relatively well in the box office, the first movie of each grossing around 800,000 US Dollars. However, Sony could not seem to continue either series, ending both abruptly. Then in 2015, they penned a deal with Disney. Thus, creating the new Spider-Man we know today, played by Tom Holland.

Since then our wall-crawling friend has been in a total of 5 Marvel movies, with two solo movies and three “Avengers” titles. All these movies did extremely well, both in the box office and in peer reviews, with his two solo movies alone grossing a total of almost two billion US Dollars worldwide. The three original Spider-Man movies come just short of 2.5 billion. This puts it into perspective that this deal has been very good for Sony. However, this isn’t the purpose of this article; recently Sony and Disney have came into conflict regarding this deal leading it to break down for a period of time.

You may be asking questions like “Why?” or “Which idiot did this?” I will try to answer both these questions now. Firstly, why? Well when it comes down to it, the simple answer is of course, money. What do I mean? Well Disney, who are, in my view, the ever-greedy ones, wanted more of it. Therefore, when the initial deal ended, Disney decided to push for more money, asking for a 50-50 split of the revenue, rather than the previous 90-10 split. Now I know, this seems rather fair, however, there is more. While Sony own the film rights to Spider-Man, Disney still own and get all revenue from comics, and merchandise sold under the Spider-Man brand. This means of course that Disney would be getting much, much more money than Sony would in the end if this deal went through. Of course, that is unacceptable from Sony’s end as they would likely lose money rather than gain or break even. Of course, Sony tried to push for the deal to remain the same, which would be profitable for both Disney and Sony. However, under no circumstances would Disney accept this deal. As a result, the relations between the two companies quickly dissolved, thus removing our favorite spider-human hybrid from the world of Iron man.

However recently these two companies have came to an agreement that will keep our favorite web slinging superhero. the two are said to have agreed to return to the previous deal. now spider-man is due to return to our screens

The standard of refereeing in the rugby World Cup 2019
  • By Eoin Walsh

The Scrum

There has been a large discussion about the standard of referees in the rugby World Cup this past week. These complaints have been mainly about policing the offside line. Some people have suggested bringing in a second official specifically for watching the offside line. Initially, I thought is that not the job of the assistant referees but after further research I discovered that assistant referees are instructed to limit their interactions with the referee to five per game. Because of this assistant referees tend to only worry about dangerous play and don’t pay much attention to the offside line.

With the way many defences in the modern game play with a fast rush defence if the offside line is not policed properly it can lead to attacks being snuffed out and often results in boring games of rugby.

Proper policing of the offside line definitely makes for a better game of rugby with the attacks having more time and space to exploit and score trys.

To fix this problem I would simply have the assistant referees on both sides communicate to the wingers and make sure the defence is onside.

The TMO could also communicate with the ref and for example say “number 12 blue offside” this would make it easier to police the offside line without having to distract the referee or assistant referee in other events in a match. That would be an easy fix.

The introduction of VAR to the Premier League
  • By Danny O'Donovan

The Scrum

VAR was introduced to the Premier league at the start of the 2019/20 season.

The idea of VAR is to automatically check important moments in the game from the Video Operation Room. It will check goals for off-sides or to see if there was any foul play in the build up to the goal that the referee might not have seen.

The idea of VAR is good but it is not executed brilliantly. VAR is still making some wrong decisions. When the referee makes a decision VAR sometimes hesitates to overrule the referee even if the decision is wrong. The Premier League’s Referees chief admitted four wrong decisions that should have been overturned. The four wrong decisions were allowing Fabian Schar’s leveler for Newcastle against Watford, Youri Tielemans red card for his stamp on Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson, not awarding Manchester City a penalty when Jefferson Lerma stood on David Silva’s foot in the Bournemouth box, and failing to give West Ham a penalty when Sebastian Haller was brought down by Norwich’s Tom Trybull.

VAR is not all bad makes. VAR makes the correct decisions the majority of the time like when Aubameyang scored for Arsenal and the linesman said he was offside but that was the wrong decision and VAR overruled the linesman and allowed the goal which gave Arsenal a point vs Manchester United. VAR adds excitement for fans watching the match if the decision goes your teams way as when a goal is scored VAR could overrule the goal.

VAR is a logical idea and I think that eventually it will get a lot better and the whole football world will approve of it because, like Jose Mourinho said, “Only thieves can complain about the introduction of VAR”.

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