Castlebar youth rugby heavyweights St Gerald’s won the Connacht Under14 Schools Trophy on Wednesday in Ballyhaunis, three points clear of nearest rivals St Joseph’s (The Bish’) of Galway.

Gerald’s, strong in league play throughout the regular season, dropped no game en route through the tournament, but were denied a clean sweep chance unable to face fellow Castlebar college Davitt who suffered through injuries and were unable to field their final game.

There was little doubting however St Gerald’s hegemony having swept aside The Bish and third-placed CBS Roscommon four tries to nil and three nil respectively in their tournament fixtures.

Ballina’s Muiredach’s were the best of the rest one point adrift of the Christian Brothers’ College but well clear of Sligo Grammar, Ferbane’s Gallen and Davitt. It was a 15-a-side tournament played in rapid-fire 10-minute matches and brought the immensely-successful Connacht Schools rugby winter to a close.

St Gerald’s scored 17tries (albeit a game short); Muiredach’s and The Bish’ the next most-prolific on 10-apiece.

Tournament co-ordinator Jim Herring of Conacht Branch said the Under14 tournament, while in an abbreviated match format, proved a useful guide to the junior schools standings in coming seasons and was delighted with the standard on show.

“Throughout the day, they played in the spirit of the game, and it was a breath of fresh air to see such a high standard played by those so young.

“To a man they acquitted themselves with top marks, and it all bodes well for secondary schools rugby over the next three or four years,” Herring said.

The seven-team competition allowed for a round-robin set-up where every team was drawn to play all others.


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