SMC Express Autumn 2020

A big welcome back from all here at the SMC Express! It's strange times we live in but here at the Express we want to keep things as we always do - promoting a positive mindset, embracing independent thinking, and enabling students here in St. Munchin's to explore journalistic endeavours to the best of their ability. As usual we bring you articles on a range of topics: Media, Sport, Travel, and Current Affairs among others.

In this edition:

  • In the News Jonathan Moloney offers us predictions for the US Election 2020
  • David Roche takes you into the Review Room with a look at a classic
  • Mark McGrath examines one of his favourite games of the recent past
  • Rory Butler brings the Uighur's plight In Focus for us
  • Kyle Murphy explores the land of his heritage in our Special Feature
  • The Scrum is as busy as ever with writings on all things sport from soccer to cycling, and ruby to basketball

As always - for anyone interested in writing an article, speak to Mr. O'Connell or email a submission to toconnell@stmunchinscollege.ie

US Presidential Election 2020 Predictions

In the News with Jonathon Moloney
In the News

The next American presidential election will take place on Tuesday the 3rd of November. It is now a contest between current president Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden. It is turning out to be a very important election that could drastically change America for the next few years.

In American elections the winner is not always the person who gets the most votes. There is also a system called the electoral college which awards extra votes. Each of the 50 states has a certain amount of electoral college votes to award. For example, Trump did not get the most votes in the last election, but because he won in more states, the electoral college helped him to win. So even if more people vote for Biden, he may lose.

As of the latest poll Biden is on 49.6% while Trump is on 42.1%. Trump has lost a lot of popularity due to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and of the recent protests in many American cities. Trump has dropped a lot from the 46.1% he got in 2016 but it is still possible this could change. Trump has an advantage in the Electoral College because while he has less voters, they are spread across many states while Biden's are concentrated in a few states in the West and North East. Also, this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many people will vote at home and post it instead of going to a voting station, this is known as postal voting. His recent debate performance is unlikely to help him either. This will mean that the results of the election may not be known for a few weeks. Donald Trump has also claimed that postal voting will result in election fraud, which is very unlikely to be true.

It now looks very unlikely that Trump will win the popular vote overall. There are a number of states that are usually close that will decide the election (known as swing states). Biden is winning all but one these. Unless he can make a big comeback and win in states like Florida, Ohio and Arizona he is finished. I predict that Trump will lose the popular vote and narrowly lose the Electoral College. I also think however that he will refuse to accept the results of the election, blaming “fraud” caused by postal voting. If this happens, the outcome of this election may not be fully know for a long time.

by david Roche
Review Room

Apocalypse Now is one of the most influential movies of all time which was directed by Francis Ford Coppola. After it came out, we got an influx of great Vietnam War movies such as Platoon and Full Metal Jacket. The movie is about an already mentally destroyed Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) being sent up the Nung river on a U.S Navy patrol boat, on a mission to assassinate a renegade special forces Colonel, Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando) who sees himself as a god to the natives in Vietnam.

So, let's start off with the positives. The movie is beautifully shot by Vittorio Storaro, he expertly shows us the Philippine jungle with amazing sweeping shots. He makes us feel just as uncomfortable as the characters are with close up shots of Kurtz lurking in the dark. The acting is another huge strong point of the movie. Robert Duvall, who has worked with Coppola before in the first two Godfather movies and won an Oscar for only eleven minutes of screen time, which goes to show how good he was. Martin Sheen did an excellent job at showing how war can affect people. In the opening few minutes we can see his character has already lost the plot, dancing around in his room naked and punching a mirror, subsequently cutting his hand pretty badly. Marlon Brando calm but demanding demeanour really elevates the final act of the movie. Even the supporting cast which includes a young Lawrence Fishburne really do a good job of showing how the crew members begin to loose their sanity as the descend further down the river. The soundtrack, which includes “The End” by The Doors is amazing.

The film isn't without its faults, sure no movie is. The pacing of the movie is slowed down in a few scenes which take the film away from the horror of war and if you're squeamish this isn't the movie for you. Overall, I really can't recommend this movie enough and I would give it a final score of 9.5/10

doom eternal Review

By Mark McGrath
Review Room

Doom Eternal was released on May 20th, 2020. It is the much anticipated sequel to Doom 2016 and is the next installment in the Doom Franchise. In this review I shall detail some of the things I liked about the game.


Doom Eternal still has the same themes as the last games in the franchise at its core - you run around defeating demons. Guns, chainsaws, your bare hands, it doesn’t matter which method you use, all that matters is taking down the many different types of hell spawn. The gameplay in Doom Eternal however has been expanded on greatly, new elements and gameplay mechanics such as platforming and dashing have been added, new weapons have also been added to assist you in your quest of tearing apart the forces of hell such as the flamethrower and grenades. The gameplay is fun and exhilarating, the fast-paced action and violence definitely provide a fun experience. Overall, the gameplay is extremely solid and fun.


Believe it or not but Doom Eternal actually has a story and isn’t entirely a demon fest. You take up the role of The Doom Slayer, a warrior of legend who struck fear into even the armies of hell, after dealing with the demons who invaded a Mars research facility you were located at (Doom 2016), The Slayer is teleported to Earth only to find it overrun with Demons, the invasion is being headed by the three Hell Priests and the main villain, the Khan Maykr. The Slayer then must embark on a long crusade of slaughtering the Hell Priests to stop the invasion once and for all, that’s only a brief overview of the story, there is so much more that I can’t cover in this review as to not spoil anything, there is so much deeper lore, such as how The Doom Slayer came to be who he is, the Ancient Civilization of Argent Dnur and its fate, the Maykr race and their dying home world of Urdak and so on. Overall, I consider the story exciting and engaging, it really drags you in and gets you invested in the world of Doom and its rich history.

Final Thoughts

Overall Doom Eternal is an excellent game that was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, I recommend that you give it a try at least once. It’s definitely a major candidate for Game of The Year 2020.

Who are the Uighur Muslims?

In Focus

By Rory Butler

I am writing this to educate people on the crisis that is currently occurring in North West China, one that is largely being ignored by world governments and media. By writing this I am attempting to spread greater awareness on this issue, and I believe that if enough of us work together, we can lobby the United Nations to take decisive action and force the Chinese government to stop what it is doing. Please spread this message to others.

The Uighur Muslims are an ethnic group of people that may have originated from central Asia. They can now be found in the North West corner of China and number at around 11 million. Uighurs are predominantly Muslims, which puts them at odds with the Han Chinese living in the rest of China.

The Chinese government has begun a brutal crackdown on Uighur Muslims, supposedly to prevent Islamic extremism and terrorism. Measures taken include using police surveillance and video cameras to keep people under constant watch, mass detentions of nearly a million innocent Muslims, and forced assimilation into Han Chinese culture while erasing Uighur faith, culture and history. Many Uighurs have also been separated from their families and sent to “re-education camps” against their will, where they are forced to learn Mandarin and are indoctrinated using Chinese Communist Party propaganda. Former detainees claim to have suffered torture and abuse. After attending these camps, they are sent to work in factories as forced labor.

Hopefully the United Nations will step in and prevent the Uighur people from being further persecuted by the Chinse government.

Top 5 things to do in the Philippines

Special Feature

By Kyle Murphy

Definitely the first thing to do when you visit the Philippines is go island hopping. If you haven't heard of island hopping before then I’ll explain, island hopping is traveling from one island to another, visiting all the different and famous tourist spots on each island while on some beautifully designed traditional boats. For example, you can visit Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao Province, which was the ending scene of Avengers Endgame where Thanos stayed after using the Infinity Stones.

One experience that I really enjoyed was scuba diving in Boracay. It was great fun and you get to see many different sea creatures. There isn't just scuba diving in Boracay, you can also visit some of the places on the island itself

See if you can take a nice hike in Bohol on the chocolate hills. On one of the hills you can get a picture of all of them together.

Have an amazing fun time riding the longest dual-zipline in Asia in El Nido on the island of Palawan. The zipline goes from one island to another. You can reach speeds of 90km/h while looking over a beach and some ocean.

And then of course you must visit the island of Cebu and see the beautiful waterfall in Moalboal. You can also go snorkeling with thousands of sardines that swim along the shore of the beach.

Facts about the Philippines:

  • Officially known as the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. In the western Pacific Ocean.
  • It consists of about 7,641 islands that are broadly categorized under three main geographical divisions from north to south.
  • The population of the Philippines was last recorded as 106.7 million.
  • The capital of the Philippines is Manila.
  • The currency is the Philippine peso.
  • And the flag has red, blue and white with a sun.
Stephen Kelly In The Scrum

The Blues' Ambitions

Chelsea have been very busy in the transfer window this year. Chelsea have went all out to catch up with other title challengers. They have spent a total of just over 200 million where as fellow title challengers Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool have spent a combined 117 million. Chelsea have spent smart this summer bringing in a calm and experienced centre back in Thiago Silva to fix their short term defensive issues and improve the young players around him. I personally think this is a great signing and will drastically improve their defence. The fact that he is 35 gets brought up a lot and you can see him slowing down a bit and suffering a bit more with injuries, for example in February of this year he only completed 90 minutes once in all competitions after suffering a groin and hamstring injury so they will need to avoid over relying on him in defence.

Another centre back they signed was 21 year old Malang Sarr from Nice. Malang Sarr is a French under age international who had a break out season in the Ligue 1 for Nice last season. Sarr was signed on a free transfer from Nice, upon arrival he was straight away linked with a loan move out of Chelsea. I think this would be a weird decision to loan him out because I think he could definitely challenge for a spot in the team.

Ben Chilwell was a 45 million pound transfer from Leicester city. The 23 year old had a stand out season with Leicester in the premier league scoring 3 goals and getting 3 assists and being a solid player. He currently has a foot injury but when he returns he will be a big upgrade on Marcos Alonso.

They have also bolstered their midfield with attacking signings of Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz. Hakim Ziyech is an attacking midfielder who can also play on the wing. The Moroccan has been talked highly of since Ajax's Champions League run to the semi final with Ziyech playing a key role. Kai Haverts is a 21 year old attacking midfielder who cost Chelsea 71 million pounds. Havertz will create a lot of chances for Chelsea and also put a few away himself after his 18 goals and 9 assists from last season. These two will be a big upgrade on Ross Barkley and Mason Mount.

Last but not least is Timo Werner. The 24 year old signed from RB Leipzig for 47 million. Werner scored 4 goals and got 2 assists in Leipzig's Champions league run, bringing them to the semi finals where they lost with Werner being absent. Chelsea have been begging out for a clinical goal scorer with many thinking that Tammy Abraham wasn’t good enough to take them as high as they were aiming for. But now they have got their man and they could very well push on and win the league.

Premier League Predictions with David Fitzgerald

The Scrum

1. Man City - We believe Man City will win the league as their squad depth is very good which will spur them on to win it. Their attack is one of the best in the world. They have a very strong defence with the addition of Ruben Dias.

2. Liverpool - We predict that they will finish 2nd. Their attack is world class. They have brought in a few signings which will bolster the squad. This is why we think they will finish 2nd.

3. Man United - We believe Man United will finish where they left off last season. There squad doesn't have the depth to challenge for the title. But the squad should be able to maintain their position in third.

4. Chelsea - We think Chelsea will finish 4th because their new signings will take time to gel and will take time to get used to the Premier League.

5. Arsenal - We think Arsenal will finish 5th as Mikel Arteta has learned from one of the best coaches in the world (Pep Guardiola) and is playing a very good style of soccer. They will push the top 4 all the way but will fall short at 5th.

6. Everton - We think that Everton will scrape 6th. They have invested in their squad. On paper they have one of the best midfields in the league. Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison look like a great pair scoring for fun. We think they will score lots of goals and that will be enough for them to scrape 6th.

Major League Rugby USA

By Lucas Buckley - The Scrum

The USA, the third most populous country in the world. The richest country in the world. It is the land of opportunity for many people. But not for rugby fans. Rugby in the US was almost unheard of by many Americans, never mind being played.

At the end of another humiliating exit at the pool stages of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, where the Eagles had lost all four group games, again. They knew that something had to change if they were to get out their group in the near future, let alone win a World Cup.

In September 2016, talks to try to start a professional league in the United States were ongoing. One person that was interested in starting a professional club in Utah was Dean Howes. Howes was previously an executive at Real Salt Lake in the MLS {Major League Soccer} and Salt Lake Blues in the National Hockey League. By February 2017, there was a total of 9 clubs with interest, but only seven clubs played in the inaugural season of MLR; Glendale Raptors, Seattle Seawolves, New Orleans Gold, Utah Warriors, San Diego Legion, Houston Sabercats and Austin Elite.

On the 18th of August, Major League Rugby began with New Orleans Gold playing Houston Sabercats. The league was a double round robin, with teams playing everyone twice, home and away. After an exciting first professional season in America, The Seawolves played the Raptors in San Diego in the first MLR championship game, in which Seattle prevailed 23-19 at the Torero Stadium, becoming the first MLR champions.

The next season, Rugby United New York (RUNY) and Toronto Arrows, a Canadian team, joined the MLR. Seattle and first-time finalists San Diego made the final in 2019. After a really entertaining and interesting encounter, Seattle won the game in the final minute after Brad Tucker grounded the ball during a maul which pushed the Legion behind their own line. Seattle won their second title in succession.

The MLR was really starting to shape up on the third season. A new conference format was introduced with the western teams in the Western Conference and the eastern teams in the Eastern Conference. You play every team once and you play the other teams in your conference a second time. New teams such as the New England Free Jacks, Old Glory DC and Rugby Atlanta joined the league. Austin Elite changed their name to Austin Gilgronis and Glendale Raptors changed their name to Colorado Raptors. Also, many players had left their clubs to venture in America. The biggest names that came to the MLR include Ma Nonu, a world cup winner for New Zealand (San Diego Legion), Tendai Mttawaira, a South African World Cup winner from 2019 (Old Glory DC), and Mathieu Bastereaud, a French international (RUNY). Sadly, Covid-19 led to the season being called off in March.

In terms of the quality of the men's national team, it has improved significantly. 2018 was perhaps the most successful season in their history. They got to their longest ever winning streak in international games (10) with victories over Scotland, Samoa and Canada. 2019 was a much harder year as they were drawn in the group of death (England, France, Argentina and Tonga) and they again finished last in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

In conclusion, if USA rugby continues to improve at the rate that it has been over the last 18 months, you can expect them to be the surprise package of the 2023 World Cup in France, and maybe even get out their group for the first time ever.

Hero In Green

By Cathal Colgan

The Scrum

The Green Jersey is known as the “World championship of sprinting in cycling”. Many would have thought that Slovak Peter Sagan would be the green jersey winner for the 8th time in 9 years, but that wasn’t going to be the way it was going to be with Irish man Sam Bennett ending Sagan’s dominance of the Green Jersey.

Peter Sagan doesn't normally go through a full Tour de France without a challenger this year it was former team mate Sam Bennett. Sagan would wear the Green Jersey from Stages 4-5 and again from Stages 8-10.

Only two other men wore it: Alexander Kristoff (Stages 1-3) & eventual winner Sam Bennett (Stages 6-7 & 11-21).

At the end of Stage 4 Bennett & Sagan were level on points, Sagan only wearing the jersey as he was ahead of Bennett in the Overall Classification.

Stage 5 came and Bennett took maximum points in the Intermediate Sprint, 7 more than Sagan, and two more at the stage finish.

Bennett takes Green!

Stage 7, Bennett was dropped and Sagan could take the green from Bennett of which he did.

Stage 10, Bennett lost a further 2 points to Sagan in the Intermediate Sprint but that didn’t affect what happened next.

Into the last 2km, Sagan, now with a 9-point gap needed to finish ahead of Bennett to keep the Green and strengthen his lead over the Irish man.

Team Sunweb were leading the Peloton trying to get their main man Cees Bol to the front, but he was nowhere to be seen, they handed the ranges to Michel Morkov, a team mate of Bennett's. with 200 metres left Bennett went, followed by Auzzie Caleb Ewan & Sagan. It was neck and neck between Ewan and Bennett, with Bennett edging Ewan out.

“Bennett is back in Green” said Australian Commentator Robbie McEwen. He was correct, Bennett had taken green from Sagan.

22 points was the gap. Over next 10 days that gap grew to a 55-point gap.

Heading into Paris, Sam Bennett needed to beat Sagan in the Intermediate Sprint and it’s won. He did just that He came 5th 11 more points Sagan 16th 0 points.

Bennett is the Green Jersey champion!

Into the final lap of the Champs-Élysées Circuit. Bennett is third in the Peloton behind two of his team mates. With 350 metres left, Bennett and then World Champion Mads Pedersen flies away from the Peloton and begin the sprint. Sagan tries to catch them but it’s too late Bennett has already crossed the line Pedersen Second, Sagan Third.

Sam Bennett had just become the first Irish man to win on the Champs-Élysées, and the second Irish man to win the Green Jersey.

A Rundown of the NBA Playoffs

The Scrum

By Calum Fitzgerald

The NBA Playoffs is a tournament played at the end of every NBA season to determine who will become the NBA champion. It is comprised of 16 teams, 8 from the west and 8 from the east. How you played in the regular season determines where you sit in the tournament. The best team from the east plays against the worst team from the east, the second-best team plays the second worst team and so on. It is played in best of 7 series.

This year the favorites to win were the Las Angeles Lakers, the Las Angeles Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks

In the first round all but one of the higher seeded teams moved on. The Miami Heat however moved on in an upset victory over the Indiana Pacers.

The second round saw the Milwaukee Bucks led by superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo face surprise contender Miami Heat led by Jimmy Butler. In a shocking upset the Heat took down the Bucks in 5 games.

The LA Lakers had no problem dealing with their opponents. The Clippers however blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets who won in 7 games.

The Eastern Conference Finals is a matchup between underdog team, Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. The Heat took this series in 6 games and advanced to the Finals.

The Western Conference Finals is the LA Lakers vs the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers took over and won the series in 5 games.

The Finals matchup is between the Miami Heat and the LA Lakers. The Lakers took game 1 in convincing fashion. 3 of Miami’s key players in Goran Dragic, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo all went down injured in Game 1 and it is doubtful they will make a return in this series. Because of this I believe the Lakers win this this series in 5 or maybe even 4 games.

Images sourced using Google Images. YouTube used for videos.


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