SMC Express Autumn 2021

Welcome back to the SMC Express! A new school year and a new team of TY students here to bring you a taste of journalism that everyone in the school community can enjoy. Here at the SMC Express we like to keep things unique. So in this edition our content starts with the sports pages given the strong sporting interests of this year’s writers. We look forward to the year ahead and hope we can pique your interest in some of our content in the coming months.
  • If you would like to submit an article or contribute to the "Express" in some way please speak to Mr. O'Connell or contact him at toconnell@stmunchinscollege.ie


Sports PG 1-4

Stephen Kenny, Failure or Savior? - By Sean Kinehan PG 1

The Golden Era of Manchester United - By Niall McGuane PG 2

Championship Predictions - By Conor Hall PG 3

Mayo Fail to Beat the Curse Again - By James Connolly PG4

SMC Podcast - In the latest episode our sports writers debate their Liverpool and Man U All-Time 11

Movie reviews PG 5-8

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings - Review By Cian Kelly PG 5

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings trailer PG 6

Candyman (2021) - Review By Robert Wallace PG7

Candyman (2021) trailer PG 8

Travel PG 9-10

Top 5 Beaches to Visit on Your Summer Staycation - By Niall Gillane PG 9

Top Places to Visit in Georgia - By Nika Gordadze PG 10

Current affairs

How Covid 19 Affected Education - By Jason Tynne Grehan PG 11

Stephen Kenny – Failure or saviour?

By Sean Kinehan

Stephen Kenny is a man who has never played a professional football game in his life. His highest level of managerial experience before working with the FAI was League of Ireland football. There are two sides to this argument and Irish football fans seem to be evenly split. Some fans want Kenny in others want to see Kenny out. Is it a footballing fairytale or is he a fraud?

Kenny Out fans argue that the former butcher who played little professional football at arguably the lowest possible level should never be the national team manager. Kenny’s CV consists of League of Ireland teams including Longford Town, Bohemians, Derry City, Shamrock Rovers and most famously Dundalk. Kenny also had a spell in Scotland with Dunfermline Athletic. He also coached the Ireland U21s. The majority of Kenny’s senior management career is at a low level considering he is now a national team manager. Some fans argue that based on his CV and the lack of good results so far mean that he is just simply not capable nor qualified to coach the Irish team.

The counter attack to that is that Kenny’s work during his six year spell at Dundalk is there for all to see. Kenny ended an eighteen-year title drought at Oriel Park. Kenny brought Dundalk on an unbelievable European adventure. He guided them to a 3-1 victory over Champions League regulars BATE Borisov securing a place in the Champions League playoff round against Polish giants Legia Warsaw. Although Kenny lost the first leg 2–0 in front of 30,000 supporters at the Aviva Stadium Kenny was reaching levels few League of Ireland managers had reached before. They lost the tie 2-1 after a shock win in Poland but after the disappointment of getting knocked out at the last hurdle they still qualified for the group stage of the Europa League. By doing so they became only the second Irish team to qualify for the competition.

The bottom line is Kenny did an incredible job at Dundalk. But some Irish fans feel his CV will never be to an international standard. But the truth is there is no right or wrong answer. Personally, I believe that Kenny should be given more time as he is trying to play a style of football that Ireland have never played before. But at the end of the day results matter and Michael O’Neill had a slow start to his Northern Ireland career before flourishing. And if Kenny is given time, I believe he could do the same.

The Golden Era of Manchester United

By Niall McGuane

During Sir Alex Ferguson’s 26 year stay at Manchester United which is often known as the Golden Era, he won a grand total of 38 trophies including 13 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups and 2 UEFA Champions League titles. Sir Alex Ferguson is not just the greatest Football manager of all time but is also the most successful manager of all time.

Sir Alex Ferguson was appointed manager of United in November 1989. Surprisingly, United lost their first game under Sir Alex. Their first win was against Queens Park Rangers at home on 22 November 1986. Sir Alex won his first FA cup trophy in 1989. United were getting better but were still very inconsistent.

Ryan Giggs made his senior debut for United in early March when United lost to Everton 2–0. (He was only 17 years old.) This loss showed that United still had some way to go. Some people in the media still doubted Sir Alex even after their FA cup success the previous season. During the 1991–92 season United won the European Super cup and also the League cup. However, Sir Alex was still yet to win the league title.

After a slow start to the 1992–93 season United were sitting in despair in 10th place in the league. It looked like United would once again miss out on the league title. However, after Sir Alex signed Eric Cantona for £1.2million, things started to look up for United. On 10 April 1993, United were second in the league when they faced Sheffield Wednesday at home. United were losing with four minutes to go before Steve Bruce equalised. After 7 minutes of injury time which was subsequently named “Fergie Time”, alluding to extra minutes allegedly being granted to Ferguson’s teams to get a goal Bruce scored the 97th minute winner. This put United top of the league, where they would then stay to win their first league title in 26 years. This title also made them the first ever Premier League champions. Ferguson was later voted Manager of the year.

Before the 1993–94 season Ferguson signed Roy Keane from Nottingham Forest for a fee of £3.75 million. He was brought in as a long-term replacement for Bryan Robson. United led the same years league campaign virtually from start to finish.

The 1998–1999 season was one of United’s most famous seasons to date. United won the FA cup, the Champions League and the Premier League.

In August 2003 Man United made arguably there most important signing of all time. Cristiano Ronaldo signed for United. He would go on to be one of the greatest football players of all time.

Overall, Manchester United’s Golden Era is and always will be the greatest of all time.

Championship Predictions

By Conor Hall

West Brom

I think it’s clear to see that West Brom are favourites to win the league this season. While keeping hold of key players such as Sam Johnstone, Grady Diangana, Semi Ajayi and Robert Snodgrass, they also have great Championship players such as Karlan Grant, who in his last spell in the Championship with Huddersfield scoring an astonishing 19 goals in 43 Championship matches. Also, the two Irish men in West Brom's ranks have come into their own so far this season with Dara O’Shea looking like an experienced center back and Callum Robinson is flourishing in the Championship with 3 goals in 4 games so far for West Brom. They also brought in key additions such as former Barnsley star Alex Mowatt, Irish youngster, Jayson Molumby and Championship talisman Jordan Hugill. Biggest addition of all though is Valérien Ismaël from Barnsley who will demand his team to play each game with high intensity from start to finish. In my opinion, West Brom are top.


Fulham has an amazing and smooth attacking side. They heavily bolstered their squad with the permanent signings of Harry Wilson from Liverpool for £13m and Rodrigo Muniz from Corinthians for £8m. With these additions and the emersion of Fábio Carvalho to an already star-studded Fulham team along with the guidance of new manager Marco Silva, Fulham looks like one of the ones to watch this season.


Although QPR might seem like an outside shot from the outside for people who watch the Championship, QPR are as likely to win the promotion race as anyone else. With the additions of Charlie Austin, Stefan Johansen, Jody De Wijs and Rob Dickie along with signing Andre Gray on loan for the season. So far, these signings have blended in seamlessly with other Ranger stars such as Lyndon Dykes, Chris Willock, Ilias Chair and Seny Dieng. Mark Warburton's QPR side looks ready to compete this season.


Bournemouth look to be on fire so far this season with their attack looking like the best in the league. With blockbuster signings like Chris Mepham, Ryan Christie, Emiliano Marcondes, Garry Cahill and Jamal Lowe along with signing Morgan Rodgers and Örjan Nyland, the emersion of youngsters such as Gavin Kilkenny and Jaidon Anthony and keeping hold of all key players, Bournemouth under the organized Scott Parker look like one of the favorites to go up.


Cardiff's style of play is as simple as they come. With a towering team Cardiff try to lump balls into the box and see what sticks. Cardiff is usually among the best for headed goals in the league and I expect this season to be no different. With the addition of James Collins playing alongside Kiefer Moore Cardiff’s long throw in is even more of a danger than before. I suspect Cardiff to be quietly efficient this season and make it into the playoffs.

Birmingham City

The Blues under Lee Boyer look quality so far this season and I suspect they will look even better once the new signing Troy Deeney settles into the team. Tahith Chong came in on loan from Man United along with Adam Clayton from Middlesbrough, Birmingham looks solid, compact, hard to beat and I think will be able to seal a place in the playoffs.

The Bottom 3

24. Derby County

Although Derby and Wayne Rooney has started the season like a promotion contender, they have been struck with a possible 21-point deduction as well as a transfer ban, I think Derby will finish last with their thin, aging squad, manager with lack of experience and financial difficulties I think its certain that Derby fall into the third tier.

23. Blackpool

Blackpool are just a very average side. Besides Jerry Yates I can't see any players who will likely do well in the Championship. I don’t think they bolstered their squad enough by only bringing in the single edition of Jordan Gabriel from Nottingham Forest I think Neil Critchley will relegate Blackpool.

22. Hull City

I think Hull will be the final team to get relegated. Like Derby, Hull got hit with a transfer ban and with a team that looks like it belongs in League 1 and a manager who is mostly unaccomplished in his career I think Hull will go down near the backend of the season with stars Mallik Wilks, George Honeyman and John Magennis all likely to depart over the coming months.

Teams To Watch

Nottingham Forest

Although starting their season off with 4 points from 8 games I think this is a false position and most Championship fans will agree. With Championship stars such as Joe Lolley, Phillip Zinkernagel and Lewis Grabban with an amazing defensive line and a solid midfield with some big editions into the squad such as James Garner, Max Lowe, Djed Spence and Rodrigo Ely with new manager Steve Cooper who plays a possession game with organized attacks I think Forest will either make a playoff push or will be stuck in a relegation battle.


Peterborough has a tantalizing attack with a lackluster defense which means one thing for certain, when Peterborough plays there will be goals. Whether it's coming from Siriki Dembélé, Jorge Grant, Jordan Clarke-Harris or Jack Marriot or even if it's coming from the opposition owner thinks a certain, it will not end 0-0. I think this style of outscoring the opponent can either be a revelation or it can crash and burn, and we could see Darren Fergusen’s side go straight back down to League 1.

Mayo fail to beat the curse once again

By James Connelly

On Saturday the 11th of September Mayo would play Tyrone in the All-Ireland football final. The two teams had both come out on top in the semi finals. Mayo had an outstanding performance against the favorites of the competition Dublin and Tyrone edged the win over Kerry against the odds. Now it was the battle of the two underdogs in the All-Ireland final. This would be the 11th All-Ireland final Mayo would be in since they last lifted the Sam Maguire cup in 1951, could they finally prove that the curse is just nonsense that was all made up or would they furthermore add to the question is the curse is real. For Tyrone they will be going for their fourth ever All-Ireland win, could they once again prove themselves against the odds.

As the teams were named Oisin Mullin was announced to start after his injury that saw him out of the semi final clash against Dublin. For Tyrone Cathal Mc Shane was once again set to start on the bench. The teams lined up in their positions and the ball was thrown up to get the game underway. The opening score came from Mayo’s Tommy Conroy followed by a Ryan O’Donoghue free. Tyrone then immediately came back with a free from Niall Morgan and a fantastic outside of the boot shot from Padraig Hampsey. By the time of the first water break Tyrone had the edge over Mayo as the score was Tyrone’s 4 points to Mayo’s 3 points. The game was still all to play for at this stage and could still go any way. After the water break the two teams took out back onto the pitch. The opening score for the third quarter came from a free taken by O’Donoghue. Keiran Mc Geary then followed soon after to edge the ulster champions ahead. Mayo had a great chance for goal as Bryan Walsh try's to turn Niall Morgan but his shot is then deflected and comes out to Conor Loftus who’s shot is blocked again. At half time the score was Tyrone 10 points to Mayo 8 points. Tyrone look the better team at half time but there's still nothing in it.

As the second half starts, Michael Plunkett is replaced by Enda Hession. After just six minutes into the second half Mayo are given a penalty as Burns is booked for doing a high tackle on Ryan O’Donoghue. O’Donoghue himself steps up to take the penalty against Niall Morgan. He runs up hits the ball and bang off the post. For me this is the changing point in the game as this gave Tyrone momentum and knocked Mayo's confidence. Tyrone then introduced super sub Cathal Mc Shane into the game. After just being on the pitch for two minutes Cathal Mc Shane fists the ball into the back of the net making the score 1-10 to Tyrone and 9 points to Mayo. In the 61st minute of the game Darren Mc Curry palms the ball into the goal and seals the deal for Tyrone. The game finishes 15 points to Mayo and 2-14 to Tyrone.

It was a very poor performance from Mayo but all credit must be given to Tyrone who played an oustanding performance. This is Mayo’s 11th all ireland final loss since their last all ireland win in 1951. I think this furthermore adds to the question, is the curse real?

Click the video to enjoy a hearty discussion amongst our sports team on all-things soccer in the latest episode of the SMC Podcast.

Shang-Chi: and the legend of the ten rings.

By Cian Kelly

Having been a big Marvel fan and enjoying watching the movies as they come out, I was excited to hear that they were releasing a Shang-chi movie seeing as I had never heard of this superhero before I was excited to learn a lot more about him by watching his movie.

Going in I was already happy with this movie because it was the first Asian led superhero movie in the MCU, and not only was the cast majority Asian, the production team that worked behind the scenes of the movie were also Asian. This was a good thing to hear about the movie even before I had seen it.

Now about the movie. The plot was intriguing, and I was never bored throughout the whole movie. The plot had a good fusion of the normal MFarvel feeling while also including the culture and the background that this movie and its characters are based on. They include many different forms of martial arts coming from various Asian cultures and even displayed many aspects of these cultures, through clothes, languages and the design of cities and villages.

The characters in this film were compelling and you really grown to care for them as the movie goes on, they have easily become some of my favorite characters throughout the whole MCU. The main actor, Simu Lui, really brought the comic book character to life and did an amazing job at it, he displayed the emotions of the character perfectly. Awkwafina did an amazing job at portraying the main character's comic relief of a best friend, all the jokes she made during the film really landed with the audience and helped the movie not get too serious at some points.

Candyman (2021) Review

By Robert Wallace

I went into this movie having watched the original, absolutely loved it and had very mixed to plain negative feelings about the two sequels: those being Farewell to the Flesh (1995) and Day of the Dead (1999). I was cautious about it considering the track record that the other two films left behind for me but after learning that it was being written by Jordan Peele, who also directed Get Out (2017), and Us (2019), my doubts were near immediately put to rest.

This movie takes the same approach that the 2018 Halloween film took in that it is a direct sequel to the original and disregards the sequels that came before it. This film, much like the original, isn’t just about the characters getting murdered in brutal and gory ways, it is also a film that tells a connected and well thought out story that ties in with the original film’s story in an incredible way. The big twist at the end may come as no surprise to some as it did to me but I still found the movie amazing nonetheless. The characters are developed well and they all have their part to play be it in minor or massive ways. There are little to no throw away characters in this film because even those who show up for a few minutes or even seconds just to get murdered all help progress the movie's plot and the in-universe legend of “The Candyman”.

Much like any classic or immediately recognizable horror the score for this film is both great and spine chilling, opening the film in a similar fashion to The Shining (1980) setting a dark, brooding and foreboding tone that works well for the film. This score was composed by both Philip Glass who also worked on such things as the Truman show (1998), Dracula (1931) and Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995), and Lichens, who was previously a member of 90-day men before becoming a solo artist. And finally, what would a film be without the amazing kills. The special effects for the kills in this film are stunning as are the kills. The work well with Candyman's character and fit in with his lore. Some of them are beautiful, to a degree, in that the way they are performed and carried out is utterly wonderful.

All in all, Candyman is an incredible follow up to a classic film that expands the universe and characters in new and innovating ways. It is a must watch for anyone be they horror fan or not.

Top 5 Beaches to Visit on your summer staycations

By Niall Gillane

5. Dog’s Bay/Gurteen Bay, County Galway

The Connemara coastline is an iconic home for many beaches. the twins of the Errisbeg Peninsula are one of the prettier beaches. The white sand, unlike other beaches, the sand is not constructed from crushed rocks but in fact seashells. This creates a Caribbean atmosphere to the Irish coastline.

4. Bundoran Beach

The sandy beach facing Bundoran Town is an ideal spot for surfing. With only a 250m walk to the town centre, Bundoran beach is an ideal spot for a staycation. The beach is extremely popular with surfers, but beginners are recommended being aware of the rocks and reefs, which can be extremely dangerous so it is advisable to check with locals.

3. White Rocks Beach

This location is part of the Causeway Coastal Route. The limestone cliffs attract all types of vacationers with the sports enthusiast being most popular in the blue flag award winner, White rock beach. Therefore, I believe this beach is the place to be this summer.

2. Keem beach

This breath-taking sheltered beach is a picturesque beach located at the western end of Achill Island. The white fine sand creates a wonderful to the turquoise sea. This rural coastline is located on the Atlantic way creating a more popular reception for tourists.

1. Inchydoney Beach

The Blue Flag beach at Inchydoney Island, just a few miles from Clonakilty, is known not only as one of the most family friendly beaches in West Cork but also as one of the most beautiful. Therefore, I recommend this beach as the best beach for staycations.

Places to visit in Georgia

By Nika Gordadze

1. Mestia:

Located in the Svaneti region of Georgia, there is a town in the mountain range of the Caucasus. It is the starting point for most tourists trying to explore Svaneti because there are many guestrooms and local travel services which makes it a convenient start to explore. From there you can hike up the glaciers at the base of Mt. Usbha or you can explore the old towers built by the Svans. Overall, this is a good place to visit if you are interested in more mountainous regions.

2. Martvili Canyon:

Situated in the Samegrelo region, this canyon was formed by the river Abasha cutting through the limestone rock. The Martvili Canyon visitor center is located at the start of the canyon and from there you can have a walk along the river or get a boat tour down the canyon. There are also three panorama walkways to see the river. You can also see the waterfalls at the Dadiani Bathe.

3. Sataplia Nature Reserve:

Located in the Imereti of region of Georgia, this national park is made up of beautiful forests, dinosaur fossils and caves. This is a perfect place for a day long trip as everything is in walking distance. The caves have ancient rocks and dinosaur footprints from when they were still walking. When you exit the cave, you have a pathway which leads to a glass walkway above the forest. This is perfect for long walks.

4. Tbilisi:

This is the capital of Georgia. As expected, it has a plentiful of activities and sights to see as a tourist. This is the city which you most likely to first arrive in from airport. From here you can explore the old town or dine at the endless restaurants available. There is a good mix of both old and modern architecture. The Narikala is a huge fortress made of stone back in the 4th century and this is only just one of many historic buildings. This is a wonderful place if you like nightlife and architecture.

How COVID-19 affected education

By Jason Tynne Grehan

As a student I know how covid-19 has affected education it has changed the whole way we get our education for example, before covid we never had to use these apps to get homework or submit photos of our work to teachers but now it is a regular part of our lives. It has affected people's grades and courses for the leaving cert as they got predicted grades and a lot of people got good grades and now the course points have skyrocketed up making it even harder for people to get the course that they had wanted, they are rightfully angry at this.

During the lockdown also people had to do home exams, which was a bit stupid as they went unsupervised, making it extremely easy for people to cheat in the exams and no one would know and would have no proof. In the lockdown it was also difficult to focus and learn as you could be watching movies and playing games and the teacher would never know and they did not really submit assignments, and no one cared and the WIFI was also a big problem as if students or teachers did not have a good connection they could not teach or engage in the class, or it would make it extremely difficult to do this. Also, since you were working at home it was extremely difficult to get motivated to get up and do schoolwork because you were at home and not in a work environment.

All in all it has been a challenging time but I am glad things are getting back to normal.

Photography by Robert Wallace and Cian Kelly. Images sourced using Google Images. Videos sourced using YouTube.


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