Junior Semi 980

CBS Roscommon V St Joseph’s College, Galway (The Bish)

Creggs RFC played host to an intriguing semi – final of the Top Oil Schools Junior Cup on Tuesday 10th March. CBS & Bish played out a cracking game in the League decider before Christmas. CBS came out on top on that occasion but both sides knew previous form was no guarantee at semi – final stage.

Bish opened brightly with some strong running & deft handling from their three quarter line releasing Sean Kilmartin down the right wing. Kilmartin showed incredible pace to gain 40 metres before being dragged down inside the CBS 22 by a superb tackle from full back, Tim Lambe. Jordan Fogarty then took on the ball only to be pushed into touch by some solid CBS defence. Bish camped in the CBS 22 for a further 5 minutes but could not get the all important score their pressure arguably merited.

It was then CBS’s turn to gain a foothold in Bish territory following some good line kicking from out half Shane Purcell. A full on forward assault of the Bish line ensued for over 5 minutes but to no avail as a determined away defence held out. CBS were not to be denied, however, as further pressure in the form of a 5m scrum & a series of pick & goes resulted in flanker Dara Byrne crashing over. Shane Purcell struck a sweet conversion to leave the score at 7-0 midway through the 1st half.

CBS were now the dominant force & their forward power was beginning to tell. They mounted raid after raid on the Bish line and though their defence was last ditch at times, ultimately Bish held on for half time and a welcome respite.

Junior Semi 500The home team must have been a little worried that they hadn’t taken their chances in the 1st half as Bish began the second half with real purpose, almost unleashing their dangerous backline on a couple of occasions. However, CBS soon grabbed control again & roared up the field, putting together numerous phases between backs & forwards. Their endeavour resulted in an attacking scrum 10 metres from the Bish line. Despite their scrum being under severe pressure, No. 8 James Brandon managed to pick off the base and pop perfectly to centre, Jason Hoare, on a hard direct line which took him over for CBS’s second try of the game. Shane Purcell was narrowly wide with the conversion to leave CBS in control at 12 – 0.

Bish were not going to give in easily however and their backline made inroads into the CBS 22’ forcing them into some desperate defence. Following some determined forward drives & a number of defensive infringements a yellow card was issued to CBS. Unfortunately for the Bish, another series of forward droves didn’t yield the try their pressure deserved and CBS were able to clear their lines following some impressive defensive work.

Not long after, a turnover in midfield allowed CBS to counter attack down the left through Eoin Coyle, Shane Purcell & Niall Cunniffe. Under severe pressure, Bish conceded a penalty at the breakdown which Shane Purcell slotted between the posts to give CBS a 15 – 0 lead heading into the final 10 minutes.

Bish showed admirable character & battled bravely to get the score which might have got them back into the game. Unfortunately for them, the CBS defence was equally determined & held out to allow them reach their second final in 2 years. There they’ll hope to add the Top Oil Schools Junior Cup to their League win and with it become the first Roscommon school to win the Connacht Schools Junior Cup.

 

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