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Hockey is not in the spotlight as much as some other sports played

at the Dragon; as a sport it can ‘slip under the radar’. However,

for many Dragons, it is a real passion and some have ambitions of

playing at international level. I caught up with Finn Dunleavy, son of

Paul Dunleavy, our Director of ICT. Since leaving the Dragon, Finn has

continued to make great progress in the game and has the desire to

reach the very top in his field. Along with a few other Old Dragons,

such as Barney Wilkinson and Bas Marshall, Finn is about to have the

opportunity to travel the world playing hockey. This is his story so far.

happens over two weekends. The Oxford

JRPC always plays against the Birmingham

and Nottingham JRPCs. From that they

choose a playing squad of 16 players to

compete in either a High Performance Camp

or the Futures Cup teams.

Everyone wants to play in the Futures

Cup tournament because they choose

National Age Group (NAG) teams for the

U16 and U18 age groups from there to

play matches against Scotland, Belgium

and Holland and then in the European

Championships. The Futures Cup is similar

to school games. You live in a hotel during

the tournament and have a coaching team

which encourages you to think, talk and

play hockey all day. It’s a tough, tiring

tournament, but is really rewarding.

Q: How much of your current success

in hockey do you attribute to your time

at the Dragon?

A: That’s a hard one to answer. We didn’t

spend that much time playing hockey when

I was at the Dragon because we only played

in the Easter term. Until I was in B Block I

played football as well. Although I did learn

quite a lot about hockey at the Dragon,

most of the technical improvements to my

game came from outside the School.

What I learnt at the Dragon was how

to approach sport and games in general.

I learned a huge amount from all the

Games Takers about competition and

sportsmanship; how to win and lose

well, how to treat my teammates and the

opposition, how to encourage others around

me and how to lead teams. Everything I

learned at the Dragon has helped me to

progress with what I’ve done so far.

Q: What would you like to achieve

in hockey?

A: If I’m lucky enough, ultimately I would

like to play for the senior England Hockey

team. It has been a dream of mine since I

started playing.

Q: What do the next few years hold in

store for you?

A: When I finish my A Levels I’m going to

New Zealand to work in a school, before

going to university. Whilst I’m in New

Zealand I would love to play in the league

out there and then, on the way home,

would like to spend some time in Australia

playing hockey in Perth. I’ve been told that

the hockey league in Western Australia is

the best in the world and I would like to

see first-hand what they do differently

and learn from it. Hopefully my

experiences up until now will allow

me to hold my own out there.

I’m looking forward to it.

An Interview with

Finn Dunleavy (OD 2011)

By Patrick Foster, Dragon Teaching Staff

Q: What have you been up to since

you left the Dragon?

A: I went to Bloxham after the Dragon and

was fortunate enough to play in the top

teams for all the major sports, although my

main sport is still hockey. I’ve been in the

1st Hockey team since 4th Form and have

enjoyed it hugely. School life is pretty busy

and because I day-board and we only finish

the school day at 9.00pm, there’s not much

time left in the week to play sport outside of

school. Despite this, I’ve managed to keep

playing for Oxford Hawks and also played

all the way through the England Hockey

single-system. I’ve played in the JAC, JPRC,

Tier 1 and Futures Cup hockey sides since

leaving A Block and am currently doing

the AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in

Sporting Excellence) programme through

England Hockey.

This year I was selected to play in

the 2015 Sainsbury’s School Games in

Manchester and was made captain of the

England Reds. That was a really special

week. The Games are run like a full

international tournament which gave me a

real taste of what people at the very top level

have to do in order to succeed.

Q: Can you explain what all those

acronyms mean?

A: The Junior Academy Centres (JAC) is the

new name for the old County teams which

get chosen from the local clubs. I played for

the Oxfordshire JAC which plays in the South

region against Berkshire, Buckinghamshire,

Hampshire, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and

Sussex. Some players from those teams then

get nominated to go to the Junior Regional

Performance Centres (JRPC). The best

players from those centres get selected

to play in the Tier 1 competition, which