Rev. Fr. Michael Lavelle
Priest / Coach
Michael Lavelle was born at Liscarney, Westport, Co. Mayo on August 5th 1925.
He began his schooling at National level prior to attendance as a secondary student at St Jarlath’s College, Tuam from 1939 – 1944. His Profession occurred during 1945 in Kilshane. Michael Lavelle studied Classics at UCD where he received 1st Class Honours in his BA he followed on with an MA.
At The International Theologate at Freirburg, Germany Lavelle studied for his vocation, he was ordained during 1955. During the following year he took the STL ‘Summa cum Laude.’ Fr. Lavelle was appointed to St Mary’s College in Rathmines there he qualified for the H.Dip. Ed. During 1957 he joined the Rockwell community to give dedicated service for twenty – five years. He was an energetic, successful, excellent teacher with the ancient Classics being his main sphere. His students secured such high marks that a Department Inspector remarked that the golden age of Classics had returned.
At Rockwell College Fr. Lavelle became a legend for his devotion to excellence in athletics among the students. He specialised in training students for the polevault, shot and discus, also the Junior Rugby Cup team. Between 1958 and 1982 Rockwell’s success in these fields; especially athletics was unique, winning the College of Science Cup three times in a row on two occasions; plus the Munster All Round Cup for athletics without a break from 1958 to 1968, and many times thereafter. It was not Rockwell alone that profited from his expertise and enthusiasm: he was at the forefront of the development of Irish athletics for more than twenty years, being in fact one of the best coaches this country had known at schools’ level. His versatility extended to all the disciplines, – sprints, middle distance running, jumps and hurdles. He held the position of National Events coach from 1971 to 1980. He was possessed with endless energy and an insatiable zest for work.
Fr. Lavelle’s demise at the early age of fifty – six on January 18th 1982 was a shock to all who had known him. He is interred at Rockwell RCA.
It was reported of Fr. Lavelle that ‘One was immediately conscious of his warm personality, his utter straight-forwardness; his quick temper was always balanced by a warm dimension of human feeling. Yet his one great cross was his inability to face a public congregation. He had a natural charm, candour; he remained unimpressed by his own achievements. One was conscious of his continual pursuit of the highest standards at all levels, and as if he had a presentment that his life was to be shorter than average, he worked at fullthrottle, never wanting to waste time.
Also that ‘during his years in Kimmage he was continually busy with his scythe trimming the grounds and responding to the remarks of passers – by with a quip and a hearty laugh.’
The International Theologate in Freirburg was part of Dr. Murphy’s new deal for the Irish province, bringing some of the future teachers etc. into contact with European thought and the representatives of the other provinces of the Congregation. There were in fact representatives from Poland, the USA, Switzerland, and France as well as the Irish; it was advantageous for young Irish students to study there for their Licentiate plus Doctorate.