The Sportsground hosted the Schools Senior Cup finals yesterday Tuesday 15th March. The wind and rain did not hold back the support yesterday with huge excitement for all 6 clubs.

Well done to all teams and congratulations to those who took home the trophy.

Schools Senior C Cup Final 

Pres Headford vs Sancta Maria

Winners: Pres Headford

Schools Senior B Cup Final 

St. Paul’s Oughterard vs Colaiste Einde

Winners: Colaiste Einde

Schools Senior A Cup Final 

Colaiste Iognaid vs Sligo Grammar

Winners Sligo Grammar 

Check out some of the fantastic photos taken at yesterdays event below.

Schools Senior C Cup

 

Schools Senior B Cup

Schools Senior A Cup

Connacht Schools Senior Cup Final

Sligo Grammar School                                 15

(Jonjo Devine, Matthew Ryan tries, Earl Norris one pen, one con)

Coláiste Iognáid                                             10                         

(Ben O’Malley try, Patrick Nash one pen, one con)

Kevin Egan at the Sportsground.

Sligo Grammar School are back on top of the heap in Connacht Schools rugby for the first time in eight years after a late try from replacement Matthew Ryan rounded off a 50-minute long comeback against Coláiste Iognáid (the Jes) at the Sportsground this afternoon.

It was a remarkable afternoon that saw the Galway side make by far the better start, disrupting Sligo Grammar in the set piece and crashing over for the game’s first try through full back Ben O’Malley after just ten minutes. After winning the pool game between the two sides quite comfortably, Coláiste Iognáid went into this game with the mantle of favourites resting ever so gently on their shoulders, and the confident, assured rugby they played, particularly when the ball was moved out to the three quarter line, was hugely impressive.

Jes outhalf Patrick Nash made light of the difficult conditions to slot over a very tough conversion and as conditions deteriorated, nightmarish handling conditions made it difficult for either side to gain any real momentum. The lead was pushed out to ten points when Ambrose Bamber tried to carry the ball out of his own 22 and was whistled for holding on when he was swarmed by Jes tacklers, but after forcing a turnover from the restart, Sligo earned a scrum and made it count.

A quick eight-nine exchange led to Gareth McGinty dinking a low kick past the tryline where Jonjo Devine was on hand to touch down for a momentum-shifting score.

An Earl Norris penalty before half-time reduced the gap further and as the second half continued, handling errors prevented Sligo Grammar from taking the lead for long stretches, even though they were enjoying most of the possession and playing the game in the Jes half of the field.

The Galway school made one huge goal-line stand to eventually win a penalty and clear their lines from just three metres out from their own posts, but by now back row forwards Adam Hunter and Ambrose Bamber were the dominant influences on the field, crossing the gain line with the vast majority of their carries. Defensively they were completely on top, turning over Coláiste Iognáid time and again, and playing the game on their own terms.

Yet getting the better of the opposition was just half the battle, making it count on the scoreboard was another matter. It took a moment of real magic to make that happen, and it came from a combination of Hunter, who was really playing a captain’s part, and winger Seán Gilvarry.

With just three minutes to play, Hunter’s flat pass gave Gilvarry the opening the winger needed to beat two tackles and sprint down the left wing, only getting brought down five metres short of the line. A quick recycle back to the Sligo Grammar captain took three more tacklers out of the game and with the Jes stretched, Matthew Ryan was able to charge through the gap between the pillars and touch down for the game’s deciding score.

Earl Norris curved an immaculate conversion through the uprights to ensure that only a try would deny the school their eleventh Senior Cup victory, but that extra cushion wasn’t needed as the Grammar lads kept Coláiste Iognáid penned back in their own half and easily saw out the win.

 

Sligo Grammar School: Alex Harte; Jonjo Devine, Gerard Murtagh, Conor Creaven, Seán Gilvarry; Earl Norris, Gareth McGinty; Arann Platt, Max Hunter, Tynan Maxwell; Alistair Hill, Paddy Wright; Orlando Ven der Grijn, Adam Hunter, Ambrose Bamber.

Replacements: Ross Clarke for Hunter (17), Jack Dennison for Harte (half-time), Matthew Ryan for Wright (half-time), Oisín Lawley for Maxwell (48)

Coláiste Iognáid: Ben O’Malley; Hugh Kelly, Adam Madden, Robert McHugh, Conor Toner; Patrick Nash, Andrew Sherlock; Paddy Fahy, Charlie Leonard, Liam Cloherty; Rory Lally, David Kelly; Ryan Kavanagh, Shay McGovern, Jack Quinn.  

Replacements: Bobby Power for Kavanagh (51), Jamie Cunningham for Toner (54), Conal Ó Floinn for Lally (61).

Referee: Andrew Fogarty

Connacht Schools Senior “B” Cup Final

Coláiste Einde                                 23                         

(Ben Magee, Alexandre Burduli tries; Evan Jennings two pens, two cons, Bryan Casburn pen)

St. Paul’s Oughterard     20

(Eoghan Fahey, Brian McHugo tries; Ryan Roche two pens, two cons)

Kevin Egan at the Sportsground.

The magical ecstasy of victory and the heartbreaking pain of a last-minute defeat was etched onto the faces of the players of Coláiste Einde and St. Pauls of Oughterard this afternoon in the Sportsground, when Bryan Casburn’s penalty with the last play of the game settled a thrilling Connacht Schools Senior “B” Cup final in favour of the city side.

Coláiste Einde’s technical strengths, their superior handling and passing, and the devastating running of Bryan Walsh at the base of the scrum were their trump cards as they got the better of the small west Galway school in the first half, but the sheer athleticism and direct running of the St. Paul’s players set up a thrilling finish, and when a try from captain Brian McHugo was followed up by a fantastic conversion from Ryan Roche, his fourth kick from four attempts, that left the sides all squared up going into the last couple of minutes.

It looked like extra time was not just a possibility, but a likelihood, and given the quality of the fare that preceded the score, no-one would have minded one bit if there were 20 more minutes to be played.

If there was a winner, the smart money was on St. Paul’s, who now had all the momentum. Instead it fell to Bryan Walsh to crown a man of the match performance with one more decisive intervention as he rose up to claim a St. Paul’s lineout and put Coláiste Einde on the front foot. With the ball moving across the line some 15 or 20 metres out from the St. Paul’s line, the defending side gambled on trying to intercept a pass but were instead penalised for offside.

Substitute Casburn stood over his first kick of the day but he made it look like he was knocking them over throughout the 70 minutes, as he bisected the posts to give his side the win.

The early exchanges also belonged to Coláiste Einde, in no small part because of how Riccardo Romboli dictated the play from outhalf, kicking with precision and bringing his three quarter line into the game when the situation dictated. A first attack was repelled thanks to a wonderful tackle from Christopher McDonagh, but the second gave Evan Jennings the chance to strike at goal from 25 metres, and the full back made no mistake.

Right from the restart Romboli chased down his own kick and put Coláiste Einde on the offensive straight away, and after traversing the field twice while going through the phases, they stretched St. Paul’s to the point that Ben Magee had a simple touchdown in the corner, which again was followed by a sublime kick from Jennings.

A penalty after 21 minutes from Ryan Roche and another early in the second half cut the gap right back down to 10-6, and even though Jennings stretched the gap again nine minutes into the second half, by now St. Paul’s were punching holes in the Coláiste Einde back line, thanks in the main to some superb runs from James Lowry, Shane Finnerty and Eoghan Fahey in broken play.

A magnificent crossfield kick from Roche found Fahey for what turned out to be the equalising score once the extra points were added, but that man Walsh again came up trumps with a game changing run, and quick hands between Romboli and Niall O’Neill put the hooker over the line.

The pressure was squarely on the shoulders of St. Paul’s, who needed converted try to draw level, and they stepped up to the mark in fine style. Shane Finnerty’s run broke open the defense and set play up inside the 22, Donal Henderson brought play up to the goal line, and it fell to McHugo to crash over the line.

The conversion was a difficult one, but Roche nailed it, leading to rapturous celebrations among the St. Paul’s players and hands on heads from Coláiste Einde.

As both sets of players were about to learn, emotions can turn around very quickly in schools cup rugby.

Coláiste Einde: Evan Jennings; Bright Brodericks, Ciarán Park, Eoghan Harlowe, Ellis Muir; Riccardo Romboli, Hernando Calleja Besada; Colm Curran, Niall O’Neill, Nathan Duggan; Ben Magee, Alexandre Burduli; Shay Phillips, Kian Higgins, Bryan Walsh.

Replacements: Bryan Casburn for Romboli (63), Patrick Maughan for Muir (63), Romboli for Park (67).

St. Paul’s: James Lowry; Donal Henderson, Shane Finnerty, Cody Farrell, Eoghan Fahey; Ryan Roche, Cathal O’Hare; Darragh O’Toole, Noel Lydon, Daniel Walsh; Christopher McDonagh, Jack McHugh; Iarla O’Malley, Kai Heanue, Brian McHugo.

Replacements: Peter O’Malley for Farrell (12), Keegan Gilmore for Heanue (23), Farrell for O’Malley (26).

Referee: Gerry Geraghty.  

Connacht Schools Senior C Cup semi-final

Presentation Headford                 19                         

(Ryan Smith, Ross Gibbons, John McCarthy tries; Ben Donnelly two cons)

Sancta Maria Louisburgh             0

Kevin Egan at the Sportsground.

 

Presentation Headford, winners of the Connacht Schools Senior Development Cup four years ago, are back on the winners podium after they produced a strong all-round performance to overcome Sancta Maria of Louisburgh in the first of three Senior Cup finals played at the Sportsground this afternoon, the ‘C’ Cup final.

They wasted no time in getting into this afternoon’s contest either, stealing an early march when Ben Donnelly pounced on an overshot Sancta Maria lineout and set up a good attacking platform inside the opposition 22.

After going through three phases, it looked like the West Mayo school had repelled the danger, in small part through a powerful stand-up tackle from Finlay Gibbons, but their reprieve was short lived as Presentation captain Ryan Smith was able to dart through a gap and touch down for the game’s first try, with Donnelly adding the extra points from the conversion.

The pressure kept coming throughout the first quarter, with huge questions asked of Sancta Maria as they tried to hold out in the face of continuous ownership of the ball from the Galway side.

On three separate occasions Sancta Maria’s superb goal-line defence earned relieving penalties to clear their lines, but they struggled to retain possession once they put boot to ball, save for a brilliant breakaway run from Gibbons on the left hand touchline, which might have led to a try had he got his pass away to Alex Diamond Keane. Instead an incredible last gasp tackle from Iarlaith Kelly saved the situation and secured the turnover by forcing Gibbons out over the line.

When the second try came just before the 25 minute mark, it was slightly self-inflicted from a Louisburgh point of view, as their attempt to run the ball out of their own 22 led to Danny Hedley getting isolated and conceding a holding-on penalty.

Turning down the option of easy points, Headford kicked for the corner, won their throw and set about working the ball through the hands. Once Emmanuel Oifoh took out extra defenders by straightening up and running hard at the Sancta Maria line, there were extra numbers out wide. A deft sidestep from Ross Gibbons was enough to give the centre a simple run in, with Donnelly again on target from the conversion.

That trend of Headford controlling the play continued up until half-time, when Sancta Maria launched a rare attack but couldn’t break through, instead getting pinged for an offence in a ruck in the last action of the half.

If anything, that brief foray forward served as a warning to Presentation Headford, who picked up where they left off early in the second half by dictating the play and controlling where on the field the contest was played. Patrick Derrig was a strong presence in the breakdown and in the lineout, Oifoh and Smith continued to carry the ball effectively in the loose, but they also got a huge impact from the bench in the shape of Nathan Reilly, whose first touch after coming on was to rob a Sancta Maria lineout and set up another key Headford possession inside the 22. Oifoh again put the defence on the backfoot with a strong run and it fell to Reilly to play a gorgeous flat pass that skipped two players and left John McCarthy with a simple finish.

To Sancta Maria’s immense credit their effort levels never dropped, inspired by a totemic showing from Hogan. The centre was the key man in attack and defence as well as the main kicker, and he came desperately close to crossing the whitewash with one pick and go penalty late in the game, only for Headford to again come up trumps when their defence was tested. Flanker Jack Reynolds came up with the big turnover to ensure the their clean sheet was preserved, and they would be able to savour the last few minutes before lifting the trophy.

Presentation Headford: Iarlaith Kelly; Conor McGaugh, Ross Gibbons, Adam Newell, Shane Reilly; John McCarthy, Ben Donnelly; Thomas Heneghan, Ryan Smith, Liam Hyland; Emmanuel Oifoh, Dara McDonagh; Jack Reynolds, Patrick Derrig, Morgan Lee.

Replacements: Thomas Smith for McDonagh (46), Joshue O’Neill for Reilly (58), Paddy Butler for Heneghan (70), Dara McNally for McGaugh (70).

Sancta Maria Louisburgh: Danny Hedley; Adam Diamond Keane, Matthew Hogan, Darren Scanlon, Cormac Lyons; Ben Cooper Ruane, Darragh Heneghan; Keelan Foy, Richard Mannion, Jack Munnelly; Kevin McCann, Noah Menton; Matt Forde, Leon Hadden, Finlay Gibbons.

Replacements: Nathan Reilly for Forde (59), Cillian White for Diamond Keane (59), Matt Forde for Hadden (66), Morahan O’Toole for Forde (69).

Referee: Mike Goode 

Schools Senior A Cup Final – 4pm

Colaiste Iognad Sligo Grammar
1 Paddy Fahy 1 Arann Platt
2 Charlie Leonard 2 Max Hunter
3 Liam Cloherty 3 Tynan Maxwell
4 Rory Lally 4 Alastair Hill
5 David Kelly 5 Paddy Wright
6 Ryan Kavanagh (Vice Captain) 6 Orlando Van Der Grijn
7 Shay McGovern 7 Adam Hunter(captain)
8 Jack Quinn 8 Ambrose Bamber
9 Andrew Sherlock 9 Gareth McGinty
10 Patrick Nash 10 Earl Norris
11 Conor Toner 11 Sean Gilvarry
12 Robert McHugh 12 Conor Creaven
13 Adam Madden (Captain) 13 Gerard Murtagh
14 Hugh Kelly 14 Jonjo Devine
15 Ben o Malley 15 Alex Harte
Subs Subs
16 AJ Solan 16 Ross Clarke
17 Dara McAodha 17 Francis Ellison
18 Fergus Hanney 18 Oisin Lawley
19 Charlie Bogue 19 Dylan McCloat
20 Bobby Power 20 Matthew Ryan
21 Jamie Cunningham 21 Jacob Kilcoyne
22 Johnny Kelly Grealy 22 Aaron McCloat
23 Conal OFloinn 23 Jack Dennison
Extended Extended
24 Charlie Gleeson 24 Jack Deegan
25 Conor McHugh 25 Ben Graham
26 Fergal Blanchard 26 Liam Lee
27 Cillian Daly 27 Ethan Slane
28 Ben Hayden
29 Milo Holmes
30 Oisin Hennessy
31 George Barlow

Sligo Grammar Team Management:

Team Manager: Jimmy Staunton

Coach: James Gavin

Strength & Conditioning Coach: Sean Taylor

Colaiste Iognad

Injured

  1. Hugh Gavin

Management:

Senior Coach

James Heaslip

Assistant Coach

Barry Gavin

Manager

Sinead Armstrong Anthony

 

Schools Senior B Cup Final – 2pm

St. Pauls Oughterard Colaiste Einda
1 Darragh O’Toole 1 Colm Curran
2 Noel Lydon 2 Niall O’Neill
3 Daniel Walsh 3 Nathan Duggan
4 Christopher McDonagh 4 Ben Magee
5 Jack McHugh 5 Alexandre Burduli
6 Iarla O’Malley 6 Shay Philips
7 Kai Heanue 7 Kian Higgins
8 Brian McHugo (Captain) 8 Bryan Walsh
9 Cathal O’Hare 9 Hernando Calleja Besada
10 Ryan Roche 10 Riccardo Romboli
11 Eoghan Fahey 11 Ellis Muir
12 Cody Farrell 12 Eoghan Harlowe
13 Shane Finnerty 13 Juneha Ciaran Park
14 Donal Henderson 14 Bright Brodericks
15 James Lowry 15 Evan Jennings
Subs Subs
16 Cillian Fogerty 16 Adam Togher
17 Kenneth Carter 17 Paul O’ Connor
18 Matthew Angland 18 Matthew Oliver
19 Michael Finnerty 19 Luke Dahler-Molloy
20 Keegan Gilmore 20 Eoin McGuire
21 Peter O’Malley 21 Patrick Maughan
22 Bryan Casburn
23 Mark Dempsey

Colaiste Einde Team Management:

Training members:
  • Sean Faherty
  • Brady Kondjo
  • Sean Walsh
  • Karl Bona
  • Conor Madden
  • Mark Halliday
Management:
  • Brian Casburn (coach)
  • Seán Feeney (Teacher)

Unavailable players:

  • Luke O’Reilly
  • Alex O’Reilly
  • Simon O’Reilly

St. Pauls Oughterard
Coaches/Management

Ray O’Neill
Matt Henderson
Seamus Lowry
Edwin Murray

 

Schools Senior C Cup Final – 12pm

 

Pres Headford Sancta Maria
1 Thomas Heneghan 1 Keelan Foy
2 Ryan Smith (Captain) 2 Richard Mannion
3 Liam Hyland 3 Jack Munnelly
4 Emmanuel Oifoh 4 Kevin McCann
5 Dara McDonagh 5 Noah Mention
6 Jack Reynolds 6 Matt Forde
7 Patrick Derrig 7 Leon Hadden
8 Morgan Lee 8 Finley Gibbons
9 Ben Donnelly 9 Darragh Heneghan
10 John McCarthy 10 Ben Cooper Ruane
11 Shane Reilly 11 Matthew Hogan
12 Adam Newll 12 Darren Scanlon
13 Ross Gibbons 13 Cormac Lyons
14 Conor McGaugh 14 Adam Diamon Keane
15 Iarlaith Kelly 15 Danny Hedley

 

Subs Subs
16 Joshua O’Neill 16 Nathan Reily
17 Paddy Butler 17 Martin McDonnell
18 Thomas Smith 18 Joey Martin
19 Dara McNally 19 Cillian White
20 Alan Morrin 20 Patrick Coyle
21 Matthew Lynch
22 Evan Gibbons
23 Padraic Quinn
Replacements Replacements
24 Alex O’Dea 24 Morahan O Toole
25 Kian Philips Wynne 25 Cillian White
26 Gavin Walsh

Pres Headford Management:
Cathal Roddy
Mike Lee
Liam Quirke

 

The Connacht Rugby Team were back training at The Sportsground yesterday ahead of their match away against Scarlets Rugby, this Saturday 19th February at 19.35.

Check out the gallery below:

Connacht Girls School Provincial X7’s Qualifiers

Connacht Rugby are running Schools X7’s Qualifiers on March 9th and 23rd 2022, where the top 2 teams at both Junior and Senior level progress to the IRFU’s National X7’s competition in Dublin on April 6th.

Once schools register, the format of the qualifiers will be confirmed and communicated to all schools.Venues for the qualifiers are TBC, and all schools must be available to play on those dates if they decide to register for this competition. Refix dates are March 30th if previous dates are affected by weather.

Dates of eligibility are as follows:
Junior: 01/07/2006-31/12/2008
Senior: 01/01/2003-31/06/2006
Squad size: 14 players

Deadline to register: Feb. 11th 2022

*The DOE’s from the IRFU X7’s programme differ to the Connacht schools 10’s league.

All schools looking to take part are to register no later than Feb. 11th COB.

To register, please click Here

The Connacht Rugby team were out training on the grounds today ahead of their away game to Stade Francais in Paris at 1pm in the Heineken Champions Cup.

Check out the gallery below: