Our Lady’s Boys Club denied a valiant Loughrea Cawley Cup spoils on Sunday afternoon in Glenina, Eamonn Dowling’s try and Dave Dooley’s sideline conversion pipping a Darragh Mooney penalty and dropped goal in the finish 7 points to 6.Caw613

Played in clear, still conditions at Galwegians (while youth and womens finals raged on the Sportsground), the game could have swung either way and remained anyone’s until the final whistle.

Loughrea opened as the savvier of the two plugging for position ahead of possession in the opening stages, forcing OLBC to hunker down on defence early on. Loughrea did the same in the closing stages as well and but for Boy’s Club centre Dave Prior’s face Loughrea nearly sealed the deal the same way they secured Sunday’s berth – with a dropgoal. The unsuccessful attempt slammed into Prior’s cheek shortly after leaving Michael Martyn’s foot, and Boys Club denied the Div 1B hopefuls a fairytale finish.

Caw606For Boys Club, fullback Dooley stepped into the breach at outhalf after Donncha Carey left the field with a knee injury 25 minutes in. Dooley, who last played in the 10 jersey prior to secondary school, marshalled the white backline well on defence and looked comfortable enough in possession. Winger Pete Cosgrove shifted to the back and seconds captain Killian O’Brien took up the vacant wing.

For Loughrea, Archie Sitars carried well and proved a headache for several OLBC tacklers. Sitars has rarely shirked the tight stuff all winter, despite playing in the loose forwards, and is one of two or three go-to ball carriers sought by scrumhalf Greg Glynn.

Josh Hillas, another star since September, has made number-eight play a forte of his. Loughrea’s jerseys 10 through six: Darragh Mooney, Glynn, Hillas, Willie Cullinane and Sitars are among the best in junior rugby circles, and can shoulder much of the responsibility for Loughrea contesting two finals in the last month.

Boys Club tighthead Paul McCreanor, whose Connacht pedigree lists performances in Ballina, Galwegians and Corinthians jerseys, was immense for the Bohermore troupe.

As he has done throughout this season, he stood out at prop forward in the tight exchanges – necessary in the face of the strong and bulky Loughrea pack.Caw655

While Boys Club present a towering prospect for those opposite (six stand clear of six feet tall), they conceded a weight advantage to Loughrea throughout the panel. That said, Eamonn Dowling was the final’s only tryscorer (his third in three weeks), and little can be said for size in Sunday’s final given his frame was one of the smallest on show.

Coach Ambrose Conboy was typically-reserved after the victory but wore a smile regardless.

In his second year in charge, he has helped elevate OLBC to the All-Ireland Junior Cup later this year and now has high-profile Cawley Cup silverware on his CV. Conboy, with Kiwi-born Cory Brown, will guide the Connacht Junior campaign this winter, and hopes to retain the interprovincial title won last year.

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