The dress that stood up and fought
3 MIN READ
‘Stand up and fight’: a tribute to Anthony Foley
‘I go to nearly every Munster Rugby match,’ explains Emily Griffin, a student at Coláíste Nano Nagle on Sexton Street in Limerick.
So, when Emily and her classmates were looking for a theme for their Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture outfit, one very emotional and meaningful event inspired them – the sudden death of former Munster Rugby coach, Anthony Foley, in 2016.
‘In Limerick, it hit us hard’
‘We wanted to use that as our theme,’ reveals Emily, ‘because in Limerick it hit us hard. We wanted to create something dedicated to his memory which might help everyone with the grieving process so that people can enjoy what he achieved at Munster Rugby in a happier way.’
Recycled flags, boots and rugby balls
The outfit isn’t a tribute in name only, it is made out of many Munster Rugby elements.
Emily explains, ‘the skirt is made out of flags that we gathered from Thomand Park, the bodice is made out of recycled plastic bags, the armpieces are made out of old rugby balls and studs and bits of old rugby boots.’
The images of the Munster squad are built in to the design and the shoes bear the dedication ‘Anthony Foley 1973-2016’.
‘I hadn’t any experience of dressmaking’
‘I’d sewed before down on my grandmother’s farm in Kilrush before but apart from that I hadn’t any experience of dressmaking,’ admits Emily.
‘The skirt has all been hand-stitched by myself.
I’ve been doing it since September.
I’ve come in after school and I’ve taken the dress home.
I came in over mid-term to get the dress ready for the Regional Final.’
Making it through to the Regional Final
Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture is a national contest which encourages young designers in second level education to create striking couture designs and impressive works of wearable art from everyday junk.
Guided by teacher Helen Ahern, students at Coláíste Nano Nagle submitted their entries and waited.
The outfit made it through to the Regional Final where model Megan O’Mahoney walked out on stage while the Munster song ‘Stand up and fight!’ blasted out but, sadly, the team did not make it through.
At least, not at first.
Fighting right up to the final bell
‘We were so disappointed,’ says Emily.
‘The crowd were so supportive but we didn’t get through.’
However, that wasn’t the end of the story as the song says ‘stand up and fight until you hear that final bell’.
The team knew that a handful of wild cards for the National Final were still available but would ‘Standup and fight!’ win one of them?
The whole school went online encouraging people to vote for them.
‘We didn’t know…’
When the teachers were told the outfit had won a wild card they kept it secret and did not let students know that Bank of Ireland had told them to be ready for a visit.
‘They told us that it was a school inspection and the school wanted to show off the amount of work that the TY year had done on Junk Kouture,’ explains Emily.
‘We were all standing together in a crowd and they said ‘girls, we need to get you in for a photo and then James (James Patrice, Bank of Ireland Youth Ambassador) came in and said you got the wild card.’
‘We were roaring crying’
‘We were roaring crying because we weren’t expecting it at all.’
In the video of James handing over the wild card, Megan O’Mahoney, who models the outfit, manages to say, between sobs, ‘it means everything’.
While their environmental teacher, Helen Ahern, explains that, ‘the people of Limerick are very proud of this outfit because it means a lot.’
‘It’s easy enough to wear apart from the antlers’
I ask the model, Megan O’Mahoney, how comfortable the spectacular outfit is to wear.
‘It’s easy enough, apart from the antlers on my head,’ she says.
‘We had to screw the antlers into a metal band to make them stay in place.’
Stan’ up an’ fight!
‘We always say to students, be strong, be proud of who you are,’ says Vice Principal, Sinead Moloney.
Find out more
To find out more about what that Bank of Ireland offer second level students, click here.
All efforts were made to ensure that the information in this article was accurate at the time of original publication. The content of this article do not constitute financial advice.
Bank of Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.