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Secondary school students battle it out to deliver 'The Speech'

Three secondary school students hope their versions of famous speeches including Al Pacino’s in Any Given Sunday will land them the grand prize at the Matheson Junior Debating National Mace.

THREE SECONDARY SCHOOL students are battling it out for the grand prize of best speech as part of a competition being run by the prestigious Matheson Junior Debating National Mace.

The Matheson Junior Debating National Mace – in which over 500 students took part this year – is a competition open to all junior cert students in Irish schools which seeks to identify the country’s very best young debaters.

This year organisers are also running ‘The Speech’ a competition designed to increase students’ understanding of communication and oratory.

Students from first to transition year were invited to submit a film of them giving their favourite speech – be it from history or television and the movies – and from these three grand finalists have emerged.

The winner will be determined by a panel of experts in oratory, members of the media, and sponsors at the grand final of the main debating competition on 9 March at the Padraig Pearse Museum in Rathfarnham in Dublin.

For the winner there is a perpetual trophy and a netbook to be had.

But who gets your vote? Watch all three of the speeches here and vote below:

Speech A: Ross Merriman, St. Mary’s College Rathmines

Ross has been involved in debating for the past number of years and was ranked second in the country last year. His speech is Al Pacino’s from Any Given Sunday

Speech B: Katie Sullivan Smyth, Colaiste na hInse, Bettystown

Katie, a Transition Year student, has never been involved in debating or public speaking before this. Her speech is Reese Witherspoon’s from Legally Blonde 2

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Speech C: Dennis Gifford,Colaiste na hInse, Bettystown

Dennis, a TY student, is also a first time speech maker and his chosen oratory is Success, a speech by motivational speaker Eric Thomas.

Poll: Which speech is your favorite?

Poll Results:

Speech C - Success (194)
Speech B - Legally Blonde 2 (190)
Speech A - Any Given Sunday (84)

Read our ‘Favourite Speeches’ series including Michael D Higgins, Martin McGuinness and Enda Kenny

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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