Saints celebrate Cowley link-up

St Helens mayor Tom Hargreaves (left) with Saints chairman Eamonn McManus and Ray French (right)
St Helens mayor Tom Hargreaves (left) with Saints chairman Eamonn McManus and Ray French (right)

A PLAQUE has been unveiled to mark Saints’ blossoming partnership with Cowley International College.

Saints chairman Eamonn McManus joined Cowley headteacher Cameron Sheeran, veteran broadcaster Ray French and Mayor of St Helens Tom Hargreaves in unveiling a special plaque in the Hard Lane school’s hall.

Saints relocated their training to Cowley on New Year’s Day last year and have since helped the school to launch its own “Off The Bench” healthy-living promotion programme.

Headteacher Cameron Sheeran said: “This partnership came about via a conversation we had with Eamonn McManus seven years ago. Originally it was about the educational side of things for the academy players – but it has snowballed from there.

“This building became available just as Saints needed to move from Ruskin Drive. It worked out perfectly for both sides. It’s a win-win situation.

“There’s currently four ex-Cowley boys in the Saints team – and that is only going to go up.”

Mr Sheeran added: “Working with Saints definitely gives the school kudos. It’s a unique partnership and, to be honest, the club has brought more to the school than we ever anticipated.

“For example, the Saints players were looking at some alternative training and wanted to play basketball. So we brought some of Year 9 boys in to play with them.

“Imagine how exciting it must have been for our youngsters to play sport with their heroes.”

Saints captain Paul Wellens led a media tour of the club’s state-of-the-art training facilities - including a brand new 3G pitch.

He even revealed that the likes of Paul Clough and Shaun Magennis enjoy post-training ice baths so much that they immerse themselves up to their necks!

Saints’ acting head coach Mike Rush added: “It’s beneficial for the club but also the school. Nineteen of the top 28 current Saints players were all born and bred locally and they’re not just good rugby players, they’re good people. I’m immensely proud of that.”