It’s not often that rugby clubs west of the Shannon would have a particular interest in the happenings of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup Final but the rugby denizens of Ballinasloe will have a keen interest in the outcome of this year’s game to be played on St.
Patrick’s Day between Cistercian College, Roscrea and Clongowes Wood College SJ. Captaining the Roscrea side will be local boy Conor Finn from the centre position. He has come up through the ranks of the club, from his mini days through the age grade structure. His father, Padge, played for many seasons at No.8 for Ballinasloe, Galweigans and Connacht and is one of the club’s representatives on the Connacht Branch. Conor is also a member of the Irish schoolboys squad. Standing shoulder to shoulder with Conor will be another local boy, Aidan McGrath. Both are members of the club’s U19 squad but their involvement with the school has limited their input this season.
Aidan’s first cousin,Peter Mooney is also in the squad. A further link between the school and club is by way of of another player, Cormac Brennan, whose father, Padraig, had former attachments to the Ballinasloe club and won a Connacht  Schools Senior medal with Garbally.
On the opposing side will be three Byrne brothers. A trawl through the record books would  indicate that this is the first time that three brothers will be involved together, as players, with a team in the schools decider so a little bit of history is in the msking. In such circumstances it is not surprising that two of the boys are twins and play together in the front row at hooker and tight head. The Byrne brothers are nephews of club member Mary Egan.
We wish all involved the very best of luck and may they each contribute handsomely to a cracker of a match on the national holiday.
Elsewhere, Ballinasloe received a walk over from Gort in the Junior Plate at the week-end. They will now face Carrick in the next round at home on Sunday with kick off due at 3 o’clock . The U17s lost out to Ballinrobe away on Sunday in the Plate. Though understrength, they put in a fighting performance before going down by 25pts to 19.
LIAM COURTNEY

PRO BALLINASLOE RFC

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