New Year Honour for former pupil Gareth McAuley

Former pupil and current Rangers and Northern Ireland football star, Gareth McAuley, has been awarded an MBE for services to football in Northern Ireland.

Gareth's heroics in the green shirt of Northern Ireland include scoring the opening goal in Northern Ireland's 2-0 win over Ukraine at the Euro 2016 finals in France. It could, however, have been very different for him as a schoolboy.

As a Year 9 pupil Gareth was already displaying considerable talent in school. Indeed, on his report that year his PE teacher, Mr Snoddy, commented that “Gareth continues to show considerable all-round potential. He has a very bright future.”

History teacher Harry McKay coached McAuley in rugby from Years 8 to 11, when he captained the Medallion XV. “He would have scored most of our points. Gareth was always really passionate but always very calm and in control. He was a really good all-round athlete,” Mr McKay said.

It was in Year 12, however, that Gareth decided to focus on his football career rather than rugby. “I tried to encourage him to play rugby – much to his annoyance – because I saw his all-round potential, but did not think he had the pace to make it in football,” Mr Snoddy said.

Gareth will forever go down in folklore as the scorer in Northern Ireland's opening goal against Ukraine at Euro 2016. His award of an MBE, however, shows the dedication and commitment he has shown to football throughout his whole career. We pass on our warmest congratulations to him on this award.

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