Route to final

Congratulations to the Bish U14 rugby team and all those involved, who successfully defended their U14 Connacht title yesterday in Ballyhaunis, defeating CBS Roscommon by 22 – 5. Under the expert guidance of Ambrose Conboy, Derek Murray, Neil Connolly and Stephen Mason the Bish matured as the tournament progressed. Initially, a tightly contested game against the Jes resulted in a narrow victory for the Bish lads, who then flexed their muscles by comprehensively defeating Calasanctius, Garbally, Clifden and St Enda’s. With an amassed total of 186 points the Bish finished top of their group and were drawn in the semi-final against the Jes who ended up being the highest scoring runners up in the competition. Due to the nature of the Jes victories in their ensuing  group matches it is fair to say that the Bish experienced some nervous anticipation leading into the semi-final game which took place in Galwegians Rugby Club, well at least on behalf of the coaching team.


The Bish started strong again in this match and took the lead with excellent handling skills and athleticism being displayed, in particular by Rob Hennessey at 9 and Ewan Heapes at 15 who blitzed the Jes defence in overwhelming fashion. Tries for Ronan Corless and team captain Jordan Fogarty  in the first half left the Bish in a strong position until a slight lapse in defence allowed the Jes in for a try which they converted just before half time. Some nervous handling errors allowed the Jes to pin the Bish back at the start of the second half before Rob Hennessey received a pass from Conor O’Regan at the back of a five meter scrum inside the Jes 22, resulting in Rob breaking the tackle and driving over the line. This was the only progress the Bish made into the opposing half for fifteen minutes of the second half.   Feeling among the Bish coaches was that the next try was vital and as the sun emerged from behind a cloud, it illuminated a glorious cross field kick from Rob Hennessey, which was plucked by the winged footed Sean Kilmartin, who effortlessly tucked it under his arm as he glided in over the line for a try. The Bish pack then began to assert their dominance at the breakdown with some bulldozing carries in particular from Conor O’Regan, Ruari Waldron, Jonny Joyce and team captain Jordan Fogarty in conjunction with Aodhfinn Broderick who showed an aptitude beyond his years. As the whistle blew The Bish came out on top by 27 – 7, positively declaring themselves as Connacht Schools U14 finalists and in the process defending the Frank Berry Cup; FBC is a competition between the Jes and the Bish each year to pay tribute to the late Frank Berry a referee, who was and still is held, in high esteem by both schools.


The week of the 17th of April was approached by The Bish Rugby fraternity with eager anticipation. The elements of the weather that week were mirrored by the spirits of the students as the sun and heat of the days radiated through the students and pulsated through the corridors as talk of the final approached. The fraternal qualities The Bish has become synonymous with throughout its illustrious history became apparent as the older lads including our Connacht and Ireland representatives went out of their way to congratulate and wish luck to their younger counterparts. The decision was made by management early on that it would be only fitting, to accommodate the entire first year group to support their classmates, on hopefully the first of many rugby finals.

On Wednesday the 17th the Bish hoards arrived into the peaceful hamlet of Ballyhaunis in 3 large coaches with the belief that win or lose, we were all in it together. The weather was certainly a concern, but when we arrived we could see that the pitch was in good condition, as promised by the good men of Ballyhaunis RFC. It brightened up long enough for us to kick off and it seemed that we were in Gods good graces as straight away Ewan Heapes went wide on the wing and burned his opposing numbers on the outside to touch down with the whistle barely parted from the referees’ lips. The conditions played a part in the day for both sides with strong winds making it near on impossible for Ewan to convert from wide. Again we asserted ourselves with the forwards building strong foundations for quick ball out to the backs as we had worked on in training. Then suddenly the weather turned foul and with it, handling errors crept in to both teams. The game developed into series of turnovers, undoubtedly a consequence of the heavy rain, yet we managed to eke out another try, this time through Sean Kilmartin whose pace on the wing was causing concern for the Roscommon lads. Conversion missed, we went in at halftime winning 10-0. The talk at halftime was to keep doing what we were doing and be aware of the CBS number 8 who we felt was going to try to attack the blind from the scrums and also that we had to be aware of our positional  play as the wind was against us leaving us vulnerable to a long kicking game. The Bish did just that and passing combinations between our halfbacks and midfield started to click as we started to pick gaps in the CBS line through the middle with Marcus Burke and Max Payton gelling at the right moments and Brian O’Malley and Rob Hennessey playing some breathtaking passes, eventually leading to both Kilmartin and Heapes achieving a brace a piece for the day. Ewan against the elements converted one of the two opportunities. CBS did however get over for a try before our last score which they too were unable to convert. The Bish support lived up to their name up to and beyond the final whistle. Their singing and chants were jovial and the good grace shown to their opponents meant they represented their school with distinction. Jordan Fogarty who captained his team by example all year went up to collect the trophy and say some kind words to our unlucky opponents, who we hail for giving us our toughest game of the campaign and recognised that we will meet them again down the line.


  1. John Joyce
  2. Ruari Waldron

3.       Ronan Corless

4.       Eric Flynn

5.       Jordan Fogarty  (captain)

6.       Aodhfinn Broderick

7.       Liam Melia

8.       Conor O’Regan

9.       Brian O’Malley

10.   Rob Hennessey

11.   Sean Kilmartin   **

12.   Marcus Burke

13.   Max Payton

14.   Daniel Johnson

15.   Ewan Heapes     **”

16.   Dan Clarke

17.   Clyde Dockery

18.   Cathal Murphy

19.   Dara Folan

20.   Darren Dooley

21.   Ben Lavelle

22.   Eoghan Cullen

23.   Darren Caulfield


Derek Murray, Ambrose Conboy, Stephen Mason and Neil Connolly.

* indicates try scored

“ indicates conversion


The Jes reach last four with last minute winner