300Roscommon shrug off Jes to reach Final

CBS Roscommon 16-0 Colaiste Iognaid

Creggs RFC was the venue for the first of the Elvery’s Connacht Schools Junior Cup semi-finals. Both teams had won their respective pools, with this set up to be an intriguing clash of the proven rugby school against the progressive pretenders. 

It was a perfect day for rugby, with no rain and warm temperatures on the fantastic pitch in Creggs RFC. Both teams started nervously, with the majority of the play in the first ten minutes confined to the middle third of the field. In fact, Colaiste Iognaid probably shaded the opening minutes, but couldn’t find any field position due to some great pressure from the Roscommon forwards who blocked down a number of kicks.

Almost against the run of play, CBS forced a turnover on the half way line, and moving the ball quickly were able to take advantage of an overlap for openside flanker James Brandon to sprint to the line, going over in the corner. Fullback Michael Farrell was wide with the conversion. CBS seemed to grow in confidence after that score, and the next try wasn’t long in following. A quick move brought CBS into Jes territory, before the ball was moved wide to the impressive Brandon to go over again in the corner, which was also not converted, 10-0 after 12 minutes.

Colaiste Iognaid seemed shellshocked, and it nearly got worse for them as moments later Brandon was sniffing his hat-trick try, only for the pass to him deemed to have been forward. Roscommon’s backrow was formidable in the loose, with Brandon and no. 8 Brian Diffley carrying hard at the Jes defence, while blindside flanker Daire Byrne was busying himself, making tackle after tackle, and contributing to numerous turnovers from mauls and at the breakdown. CBS seemed to be getting closer and closer to a third try that could have killed the game off, but some great tackling from Gareth Kenny and James Hill at different stages stopped what seemed certain tries. This seemed to lift the Galway school, and after Shane Purcell kicked Roscommon’s first successful penalty attempt, they would end the half strongly.

A very impressive rolling maul from the Jes brought them to within 5 metres of the Roscommon line, and after repeated infringements from the CBS defence, Jes rejected the shot at goal to go for the corner in an attempt to get them a try. Another brilliant maul from Jes brought them a metre short, but some fast line speed from the defence stopped the Colaiste Iognaid defence in it’s tracks and forced a turnover. Quickly realising the numerical advantage his team had, outhalf Shane Purcell opted to run it out for Roscommon, shifting the ball wide and seemingly in for a try even though there was 90 metres to run. But for some fantastic cover tackling from Jes’s James Hill, the game may have been over before half time. As it was, that was the last play of the half, CBS going into the break 13-0 in the lead.

CBS Roscommon opted to play a more territoral based game in the second half in an attempt to ensure their lead, and it was this tactic that forced them a kickable penalty in the first few minutes after the restart, with Purcell again successful, extending the lead to 16 points.

Colaiste Iognaid had their best spell of the game after this, and finally had a period of pressure in the Roscommon 22. Roscommon defended fiercely however, and a combination of handling errors and great work from Daire Byrne meant that Colaiste Iognaid could not capitalise on the opportunity. Diarmuid Codyre was keeping Jes in the game, directing his team well, but eventually Roscommon were able to rid their lines. 

Roscommon nearly took advantage of a mistake from Jes, after a mix up in communication between scrumhalf Cillian McCabe and Codyre lead to McCabe’s pass going over Codyre’s head. The alert Roscommon defence were able to hack the ball on, but fortunately for Jes, the ball was kicked dead. Roscommon finished the stronger of the teams from this point on, having the ball held up over the line no fewer than three times, but unable to add to their score. Colaiste Iognaid never gave up, but the pressure of the Roscommon defence meant that they couldn’t get out of their half for the rest of the game. 

Ultimately, Colaiste Iognaid ran out of steam. CBS Roscommon are rewarded for their progressiveness in the last number of years with a date at the Sportsground on the 19th of March where they will face the winners of the 2nd semi final; St. Gerald’s and Garbally.

CBS Roscommon:

1. Dan Butt, 2. Sean Dorley, 3. John Murray, 4. James Fetherstone, 5. Michael Feeley, 6. Daire Byrne, 7. James Brandon, 8. Brian Diffley; 9. Eoghan Coyle, 10. Shane Purcell, 11. Niall Cunniffe, 12. Conor Shanagher, 13. Jason Hoare, 14. Cian Gately, 15. Michael Farrell;


16. Melvin Conteh, 17. Ian Conlon, 18. Liam Lapina, 19. James McNally, 20. Aaron Langan, 21. Conor McNeill, 22. Theo McGuinness.

Colaiste Iognaid: 

1. Gary Keane, 2. Conall Fallon (captain), 3. Adam Corbett, 4. Cian Parsons, 5. Daragh Coen, 6. Sabre Gallagher, 7. Fionn Dubrin, 8. Daniel Cleary; 9. Cillian McCabe, 10. Diarmuid Codyre, 11. Conor Briscoe, 12. James Hill, 13. Eamon Welly, 14. Jaes Costelloe, 15. Gareth Kenny;


16. Sean Monaghan, 17. Aaron Mannion, 18. Hugh Keaveney, 19. Diarai O’Connor, 20. Cathal McGuinness, 21. Calum Carpey, 22. Julius Byrne, 23. Michael Higgins.



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