Athlone IT became All Ireland 7-a-side champions at Barnhall RFC last week.

Athlone IT become 7’s Champs 

ATHLONE I.T. COLLEGE became All Ireland Colleges 7 a side Rugby Champions at Barnhall RFC last week with a superb display of sevens rugby. Having finished top of the Connacht Sevens programme earlier in the season when they narrowly defeated GMIT VII in the final, AIT were first on the pitch against a fancied IT Tallaght side and were given a timely shock when struggling to beat them 22-21 with Declan Fanning the St Mary’s winger in stunning form. Next up was the Garda College with Buccaneers Captain and former AIT winner Adrian Hanlley the main player for them. AIT had already lost twice in the league this year to the Garda XV but a strong display saw them defeat the Garda Seven 38 – 0  

The Semi final was our old adversary GMIT but AIT was now playing irrepressible rugby and worked hard for a 29-10 Win. Brendan McManus and Paul Galvin with great off loads were proving that 7s is not just for the speedsters. 

Sallynoggin College with 3 Leinster Academy players were hot favourites to win the final but the AIT defence had been unyielding all day and a crunching try saving tackle by Paul Heavin missed the AIT effort Paul Harte: Trevor Phelan and Gavin Kelly were to the forefront as individuals as AIT ran out eventual Champions to the tune of 26 – 5.  

This was AIT ‘Sixth’ “7 A Side” victory and Connacht Development Officer Charlie Couper who coached all six sides felt that his squad had performed admirably throughout the tournament. 

AIT sports officer Gordon Brett congratulated his squad who he said had trained hard all year. 

“The team’s performance and win is to be greatly admired with resounding performances under the guidance and expertise of Coach Couper; Charlie has been with the development program for 12 years and has a great aptitude for developing quality players and teams, his experience in the Midlands of Ireland cannot be underestimated” – commented Martin Gallagher – Provincial Domestic Games Manager for Connacht Rugby

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