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SMC Express November Edition 2020

Hello and welcome to the SMC Express. The Express is our school newspaper written and published by the Transition Year Journalism students. Here you will find a plethora of interesting articles covering a wide range of topics to suit all. From sport to current affairs and movies to reviews, we have it all. We hope you enjoy reading the creative articles published by our dedicated squad of young journalists. If you have any queries or you wish to get involved please e-mail Mr. O'Connell at toconnell@stmunchinscollege.ie or alternatively contact our PR officer Sean Keane at 17KeaneS@stmunchinscollege.ie

IN THIS EDITION

  • In the news Rory Butler analyses the vacancy in the United States Supreme Court.
  • Ruairi Walshe Kelly gives us a modest proposal.
  • David Roche looks back on a classic film for its 10th anniversary.
  • Robert Costello talks about one of his favorite singers
  • Philip Roche looks at one of the most popular T.V shows in recent memory
  • Mark McGrath reviews a classic video game.
  • Hamza Saud talks about a recent release.
  • And finally The Scrum is packed with Rugby, Soccer & GAA.

The Ginsburg Debate

By Rory Butler

Everything you need to know about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her legacy, death and the controversy surrounding her replacement."

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933 – 2020) was an American lawyer, legal expert, writer, Supreme Court Justice and national icon. She was born on March 15th 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. She enrolled in Harvard Law School and graduated top of her class in 1959. However, she found it difficult to find employment due to her gender and her Jewish faith. Over many years, Ginsburg became known for taking a number of federal cases against the U.S. government for discrimination against women, many of which she won, making her a key figure in women’s rights during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1993, Bill Clinton appointed Ginsburg as Supreme Court Justice, where she continued fighting for civil, especially women’s, rights, earning her the nickname “The Notorious RBG”. She continued to uphold the constitution and fight for the rights of marginalized groups in America until she died this September after a long battle with cancer. She is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

THE DEBATE

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was famously a liberal and a Democrat. At the time of her death, the Supreme Court (Nine Justices) was split between five liberals (Left Wing) and four conservatives (Right Wing). The liberal majority in the Supreme Court has been a huge advantage to the Democratic Party over the decades, with the five liberals voting, among other things, to strengthen homosexual and transsexual rights, strike down anti – abortion bills, and advocate for the rights of ethnic and religious minorities. Now that Ginsburg is dead, the Supreme Court is evenly split between four liberal's and four conservatives. As Supreme Court Justices serve for life, the nomination of a conservative to the Supreme Court would lead to a conservative majority, swinging the American justice system to the right for many years if not decades.

THE PROBLEM

Almost immediately after Ginsburg's death, the Republican run Senate began the process of appointing a conservative right-wing judge to replace her. This not only goes against Ginsburg’s alleged dying wish that her position should not be replaced until the presidential election has gone ahead in November, it also goes against the Republican’s own philosophy that a Supreme Court Justice should not be replaced by a sitting president in an election year. In 2016, when President Obama attempted to nominate a new Judge to the Supreme Court, Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell blocked him, saying that the new President should be the one to choose who should fill the vacant seat.

WHAT THIS MEANS

Despite Democrats urging Republican Senators to follow their own philosophy and wait until after the November elections to fill Ginsburg’s vacant seat, the Republican controlled Senate has gone ahead with nominating Conservative judge Amy Comey Barret as the newest member of the Supreme Court, and are rushing through the usually long and arduous process of vetting to ensure that Barret will be appointed to the Senate before November third. Barret, a devout Catholic, will likely vote to expand gun rights, restrict reproductive and gay rights, and strike down bills for police reform. A Conservative majority on the Supreme Court could therefore essentially create a right-wing legal system in a predominantly left-wing country for decades to come.

BACKLASH

After realizing that the Republicans would go ahead with nominating Barret to the Supreme Court, many Democrats have threatened that they will simply expand the size of the Supreme Court from nine justices to eleven the next time they control the Senate, and appoint two liberal judges to the bench to fill the vacancies. However, Republicans have hit back saying that, if Democrats do this, they will also expand the Supreme Court after they regain power to regain a conservative majority. If this occurs, it will lead to a system in America that whichever party controls the Senate will also control the Supreme Court. It is unclear whether this will actually happen, though, as Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden has refused to speak on the issue.

Now this is where the issue becomes problematic and quite concerning. When U.S President Donald Trump (Who is a Republican) was asked to justify Senate Republicans going against their philosophy to nominate a new justice, he responded by saying that nine Supreme Court Justices would be needed “In case there is a problem with the rigged election”. President Trump has been saying for a while now that the November Elections would be rigged due to an increase in voting by mail because of Covid restrictions, and has refused to commit to accepting the results and peacefully transferring power to his opponent Joe Biden if he loses. There are now concerns that Trump might declare the election to be unrepresentative of the American people and declare himself he winner no matter what the results actually are, effectively making himself a dictator, and the newly Conservative Supreme court will vote not to oppose him or even vote to support him. This very real possibility would be disastrous for the American people and for democracy as a whole, and some people even believe that it could lead to some form of second civil war in America with battles being fought between armed liberal and conservative militias in US cities.

We shall have to wait and see.

A (mostly) Modest Contemplation

By Ruairí Walshe Kelly

Throughout history there are Moments. Moments in which the fate of nations and the beliefs and values of humanity are as fickle as the tides. The Black Hand Gang in Serbia, the creation of the Pax Mongolia, Edward Jenner and his milkmaid are all events which have led to such Moments. This, the Covid-19 crisis is one such Moment. It’s a Herculean labour that we are currently enduring. A burden enough to break the back of any man who tried to bear it alone. But a burden which unlike what the demagogues and hysteria peddlers will scream at you, rests most heavily upon the innocent shoulders of the nation's TY Students.

I would urge you, gentle and acute readers to pay no heed to the verbose ramblings of the so-called experts, hailing from those peculiar beasts which are NPHET and the Daíl. They will rant and rave about the casualty rate amongst the pensioners, or the unavailability of jobs to the newly qualified. If feeling particularly senile they will perform bellicose orations about the effect of Corona on those sitting the Leaving Cert. Mentally cast this mindless vote chasing into the deep chasm where it so rightly belongs. Now consider the sacrifices that we TY casualties of Covid have had to make.

No more are we, with our valiant St Mary's comrades pushing the boundaries of what is considered music, in our TY musical. While of course we applaud the titanic devotions of this year's musical production crew, the virtual is but a pale imitation of the physical. Neither do we have the honour and pleasure of leading the college through the seconds when boys become men during the Munster Senior Cup. Providing the players that last ounce of energy from the sideline as the collective 16th man. And the fatal final blow that struck us while on our knees with our head bowed, there shall be no foreign tour this (I pause while typing “academic”) year. Missed, shall the TYs of SMC be in the heart of the Arts in Europe. No longer shall we repose amongst the works of Da Vinci, Gothe, Faust and Dalí. The shores of the Sein and the world of high fashion shall be left as destitute as a northern miner under Thatcher, without us. That keening wail you may sometimes hear is the mourning of the great and the good of continental Europe as they contemplate grim life without the illuminating TY tour. Of course, the educated of Europe are not the only ones to suffer from the cancellation of our tour. We TYs too greatly feel this loss, for after all there is a severe lack of French/Spanish citizens in Limerick.

I do hope we have made ourselves clear, for the call to arms goes out to all readers of this humble manifesto. Next time you hear of the suffering of the elderly or the infirm, brush those paltry concerns aside as the Provisional TY Council calls on you, humble reader, to enlighten the world on those who truly suffer.

Inception Review

A look back on a modern classic

By David Roche

Inception is a movie directed by Christopher Nolan which was released in 2010 and this year marks its 10th anniversary. It stars Leonardo Di Caprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe and Michael Caine. The plot revolves around Cobb (Leonardo Di Caprio) is a highly skilled thief. He specialises in extraction (stealing information from people's subconscious while in a dream). He has become a fugitive and is separated from his family because of this. But he's offered a chance at redemption. He has to complete one last job, Inception.

So, let's start off with the positives. The original soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer is superb. It can help elevate the feelings of tension, excitement and shock that I felt while watching the movie. The triumphant horns, the rapid drums and calm piano really helps bring out all different sorts of emotions while watching this film. The acting from all the cast is on point from Leonardo Di Caprio expertly depicts a man trying his hardest to get back to his family to Ellen Page trying to understand what secrets Cobb has buried deep in his subconscious. The practical and digital effects are done really well. The dream sequences when characters are floating and rooms are rotating are done practically and really well and are done believably. When Paris is folded in half and dream worlds are being constructed it is done digitally and believably. The action is choregraphed very nicely which helps the movie move along at a fast pace. The different set-piece action scenes combined with the acting and original soundtrack makes for a very memorable experience. The storyline is a bit confusing though but if you pay attention it all makes sense.

I would highly recommend this movie but if you find it hard to follow confusing stories you probably won’t like Inception as it will leave you scratching your head as to what is going on in the movie. In my opinion though I would give Inception a solid 9/10.

Freddie Mercury Profile

A few words on a rock legend

By Robert Costello

He was a singer/song writer. He was the main singer in one of the biggest bands of all time Queen. He was born in Stone town, Tanzania on the 5th of September 1946. He was born as Farrokh Bulsara but later become known as Freddie Mercury as that was his stage name. He went to an English style boarding school at the age of 8. In 1964 his family fled to England over the Zanzibar Revolution. He made queen in 1970 because he had an interest and studied music for a few years. In Queen there was the lead singer Freddie, the drummer Roger Taylor, guitarist Brian May and later John Deacon joined. They made many popular songs such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, Somebody to Love and We are the champions. He was known for how energetic he was on stage and how much passion he had for music. This led to Queen being invited to live aid in 1985 where they put on an incredible show. Before live aid, Queen separated for a while due to a dispute they had. Freddie became a solo artist and dropped a few songs such as Time, Love kills, In my defense and many more. During this time, he went to a doctor and they figured out he has AIDS. He realized that he wouldn’t have long left so he decided to get Queen back together. Freddie Mercury later passed away on November 24th in 1991. He had a great career and would be knows as a legend for the rest of time along with the rest of Queen.

I love the fact that i can make people happy, in any form. Even if it's just an hour of their lives, if i can make them feel lucky or make them feel good, or bring a smile to a sour face, that to me is worthwhile.

Black Mirror

By Philip Roche
One of the best T.V shows going right now

Black Mirror is a British science fiction anthology series created by Charlie Brooker. Every Black Mirror episode is different from the last and has many stories to tell. It draws you in with the mystery, the suspense, the twist that’s what makes Black Mirror so unique. Every twist is different and the thing is you never know what it is. Sometimes there's a twist after the twist. A problem with the show though is that they seem to have run out of ideas after season 3 cause in season 4 while the stories may be different there are too many noticeable similarities that they use. The gimmicks are too similar. In season 5 things take a turn for the worst with this being in my opinion the worst season out of the 5. There are 3 episodes in the season and only one of those are good. This season makes me feel like the show has lost its wit. Now I do think that when they put time and effort in the episodes this show can be amazing and leave with your jaw dropped afterwards but as the show reaches season 4 it feels lazy but every so often in season 4 and 5 there are some good episodes. The thing Black Mirror does best is tell the viewer to never trust the protagonist. In Black Mirror the protagonist can often do some terrible things that have massive consequences. The best example is “Shut Up and Dance” in season 3. The protagonist does one terrible thing and it has a chain reaction of terrible events. There are plenty more examples of this in the show but this is the best one. There is a Black Mirror interactive episode but it's down as its own movie. The concept in this is brilliant probably the best concept that the show has had in my opinion but the execution is a bit choppy with the many roads. Some of the endings are very weird but there are plenty endings that do make sense and work. Overall, I think that this show is amazing and it can really take your breath away and keep on the edge of your seat for the most part.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Review

by Mark Mc Grath

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game that came out in October 2018, in this review I will take a look back at the game and list some of the things I liked about the game and some of the things I didn’t like. I will cover a broad range of topics such as the gameplay, story, graphics etc.

STORY

Red Dead Redemption 2’s story is very good, the writing is incredible and the character’s feel like real people with their own flaws and all. You follow the main protagonist, infamous outlaw Arthur Morgan, right hand to the even more infamous outlaw Dutch Van Der Linde and the 3rd in command of his gang of outlaws. Everything is going smoothly until a bank heist goes horribly wrong in the town of Blackwater, the gang is forced to retreat into the snowy mountains to escape the aftermath. From there you follow the story from Arthur’s perspective as he embarks on a journey of self-reflection, questioning his past actions and if they were really worth it. Meanwhile outside of Arthur’s world, Dutch is slowly descending into insanity and the gang begins to fall apart at the seams.

GAMEPLAY

Red Dead Redemption 2’s gameplay is simply phenomenal. Everything you do feels extremely smooth, from riding a horse, firing a gun or even simply walking around a town admiring the sights. It feels extremely smooth and responsive, you simply press a button and the game responds with the action you are attempting to carry out. While this may seem like a trivial detail to most, responsive controls are arguably one of the most important parts to any game considering they’re required to play the game in the first place. Rdr2 is also jam packed with dozens of side activities, random encounters, collectables and much more to keep you from becoming bored. These minor activities make the world feel much more alive, I mean sure maybe the ability to watch a magic show in a game about cowboys shooting things is a little unneeded but hey, it makes the world feel less empty.

GRAPHICS

I don’t even know what to say here that hasn’t already been said but I’ll try. Red Dead Redemption 2 has arguably some of the best graphics in any video game. They look simply incredible and sometimes even more realistic than real life. Take a look at some images of the gameplay and you’ll surely understand what I’m talking about.

CONCLUSION

Overall, I’d consider Red Dead Redemption 2 to be one of the best game created in recent memory, possibly in video game history. It shall surely be remembered for years to come as one of the all-time classic video games. It just has so much to offer, I cannot stress enough how much you need to play this absolute gem of a game.

My Opinion on Crash 4

By Hamza Saud

Hitting the shelves in recent weeks

Now that I’ve finished Crash Bandicoot 4 (it’s about time), I can openly voice my unpopular opinion that Crash 4 is a mediocre game at best and it wasn't the type of game I thought it was.

Now that’s not to say that the game is bad in any way, I think that the game looks amazing and plays pretty well. The level design in this game is great, the levels have super cool set pieces and environments that make you feel like you’re playing an entirely different game whenever you switch to a different world. The game’s new art style still holds the same chaotic but funny feel for all the characters. It is every bit the sequel that every Crash fan would want.

I never really found myself having as much fun as I thought playing the game. I'm very accustomed to death and difficulty in games because I’ve played most of the Bandai Namco Souls Series but at least in those games the death mechanic was optional, you could get better at the game and avoid the mechanic entirely, but in Crash 4 the death mechanic has become a main component of the game and level design, which might seem appealing to some as that is an unexplored mechanic but it quickly became boring. The mechanic was used in an interesting way though, you had to die several times to figure out some of the puzzles to progress. which again is cool but not really my style.

I get the feeling that the creators Toys for Bob tried making the game the most challenging with the Crash game yet, but ended up going overboard with it to the point that the game became a chore at some points.

The boxes you collect have become less of a test of skill and now they feel like a test of exploration which is a decent change. The bonus challenges became a lot more challenging and fun to complete.

Overall, the game is okay and I’d give it a 6.5 out of 10. I feel like the developers could’ve polished and improved the game a tiny bit more but overall, this game is a decent way to spend your time

2019 World Cup: Qualification Mess

By Lucas Buckley
cONTROVERSY ON THE FIELD OF PLAY

On the 18th of March 2018, Spain and Belgium played in a rugby Europe championship game. It was the last round of the season. Spain, who were in 2nd place, were at the time 4 points behind Romania, who were in 1st. They had a game in hand against Belgium, who were 5th and last in the group prior to the game. All Spain had to do was win the game and they would be through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. If they lost, Romania would go through and Spain would go into the Repechage (a playoff round for the Rugby World Cup)

The referee for the game was Vlad Iordachescu, a Romanian man. Before the game even started, people guessed that this would be an unfair game. They were right. The referee was extremely biased towards Belgium, and gave some questionable decisions. In the end, Belgium won the game 18-10. This sparked uproar at the end of the game as Iordachescu was walked off the field surrounded by stewards so the players wouldn’t attack him.

In the weeks after, Spain appealed the game and asked for it to be replayed. However, after an investigation, it emerged that Belgium and Spain fielded ineligible players in games. Therefore, those teams were deducted 5 points for every game that they fielded an ineligible player. This means that Romania should have qualified and came first. But no, Romania had also fielded ineligible players, meaning they also had points deducted. Because of these deducted points, Russia and Germany, who were 3rd and 4th, rose to 1st and 2nd respectively. In the end Russia qualified for the World Cup and Germany went to the Repechage.

Jota Jumps to the Front

By Cian Nathan

In recent week's International Break Portugal lined up to play Sweden without star player Cristiano Ronaldo after two stalemates against both France and Spain. Whilst Portugal's defense was solid in the game it was Diogo Jota who was the star player in this match filling the shoes of one the best footballers to ever grace the beautiful game. Jota made deep runs through the Sweden defense creating great chances for his teammates. Jota picks up the ball on the edge of the box after an interception from the Portuguese center-back, Jota runs in on goal and squares it to Man City star Bernardo Silva and he elegantly places it past the Swedish keeper. But this wasn’t the highlight of Jota’s game. A splitting ball from the right back bounces on the edge of the box and Jota controls it with his thigh and hammers it past the keeper straight into the bottom right-hand corner. Next Jota is played in behind past the Swedish right back, as he runs down the line, he cuts inside outpacing the left back, he glides past the center back with ease and slots the ball into the bottom left-hand corner. Portugal still remaining leader of their Nation’s League group. The world class performance of Diogo Jota this game with him contributing to all of Portugal’s goals, he got an assist to Bernardo Silva and two top quality finishes. His contribution helped sustain Portugal’s place as leaders of their League Nations group.

Autumn Nations Cup

By Cathal Colgan

The first ever autumn nations cup will begin on the 13th of November until 6th of December. 8 teams will participate (Ireland, England, Wales, France, Scotland, Italy, Georgia & Fiji).

The tournament will have 2 groups:

Group A: Ireland, Wales, England & Georgia. (Three of the best international teams in Europe are in Group A).

Group B: France, Scotland, Italy & Fiji.

The first game will take place between Ireland & Wales in Dublin on November 13th. This will probably be an entertaining opener to a brand-new tournament, Ireland and Wales are both boasting two of the four strongest squads in the whole tournament (France & England with the others) either team could win this affair and do quite well in the tournament.

Game two of Group A will be Georgia v England. England who have clubs who have just won both Champions cup (Exeter) and Challenge Cup (Bristol) and should be hotly tipped to win their group. Georgia will have a point to prove if they want to compete in the Six Nations ever.

The First game of Group B takes place between Italy and Scotland. Scotland who will be coming off the Six nations hopefully on high, getting somehow into a title fight (No one knows how). Italy will be hoping for some fun as Italy are never a real threat in Six nations and their game against Fiji will be one of the best games of the entire tournament.

The other teams in Group B are Fiji and France. France will be here on a high after their amazing run in the Six nations and their club's performance in the Champions cup & Challenge Cup, making it to the final in both but losing to both English teams. France finally are now a major team in rugby for the first time in about 8 years. And finally, Fiji. They are going to be the most interesting team in a tournament full of European teams.

PREDICTIONS

Group A: 1st England, 2nd Ireland, 3rd Wales, 4th Georgia.

Group B: 1st France, 2nd Scotland, 3rd Fiji, 4th Italy.

WHERE TO WATCH IT?

You can watch it on Amazon Prime, Channel 4, RTÉ & S4C.

All Ireland Hurling Championship Predictions

By Johnathan Moloney

The All Ireland Hurling Championship will restart this weekend with clashes between Laois and Dublin in Leinster and Clare and Limerick in Munster. Today I will be predicting the Munster, Leinster and All Ireland championships.

MUNSTER

The Munster Championship begins this weekend with Clare playing Limerick. These two teams have a harder route to the Munster Final as they need to win 2 matches to get to it. With a heavy heart I predict a narrow victory for Limerick. Clare are missing key players such as Colm Galvin and John Conlon. I also think that Cork will beat Waterford due to their poor performance in the last 2 years. I think that the Limerick and Tipperary match will be close, but I think that Tipperary will edge it. A Cork and Tipperary final would probably be an easy victory for Tipperary.

LEINSTER

Unless there is a major upset it looks certain that Kilkenny will beat the winners of Laois and Dublin and get to the final. The other semi-final will be a face-off between Galway and Wexford. I think that Wexford will win this judging off of their performances last year. The Leinster Final would be a very close match between Kilkenny and Wexford. I predict a narrow victory for Kilkenny. Brian Cody is unlikely to allow a repeat of last year's final.

ALL-IRELAND

This year the 6 teams that I chose not to reach the provincial finals (I said Waterford, Clare, Limerick, Laois Dublin and Galway) will be drawn in qualifiers. 2 of these teams will advance to the quarter final. I predict Clare and Limerick. They will play the losers of the provincial finals (Cork and Wexford). Although I can’t predict the draws, I believe either Clare or Limerick would beat Cork. I think that Wexford would advance to the semi-final. Davy Fitzgearld would hate to lose either Clare or Limerick, and this passion would reflect on his team. The semi-finals would now be Wexford v Tipp and Kilkenny v Clare/Limerick. I think that Wexford will narrowly win against Tipperary. They have an extremely strong team and have been knocking on the door for the last few years. I think that if Limerick ended up playing Kilkenny, they would win. However, I think that Clare would lose to Kilkenny. I think that if Wexford get to a final, whether they are playing Kilkenny or Limerick they will win it. They have not won it since 1996 and I think that this will be their year.

OVERALL WINNER

So my final prediction is that Wexford will win the All Ireland Hurling Championship.

Man City will win the League

By David Fitzgearld

The reason I think Manchester City will win the Premier League is because they will want revenge. Manchester City saw Liverpool lift the trophy with ease and will not want that to happen this year. They have improved their squad a lot during the transfer window signing Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias who are both great players. Manchester City had defensive problems last year and I believe these players will cut those errors out. They also signed Ferran Torres who is a brilliant attacker and will bring goals and assists. Manchester City's fire power is now top class. Sergio Aguero is back fit and will score a lot of City's goals. Their midfield is world class, with players like Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden who will cause problems for every team in the league. The league will be a lot closer this year with the smaller teams being able to beat the big teams, but I still think Manchester City will win the league because Pep Guardiola will be under pressure if he doesn't. Pep Guardiola's squad has enough quality and squad depth to win the league for a third time in 4 years.

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