The teams have been named for the first of this year’s Top Oil Connacht Schools Senior Cup semi-finals tomorrow (Thursday, March 2) as holders Coláiste Iognáid (The Jes) host Sligo Grammar in Hazel Park, Newcastle, at 1pm.
Coláiste Iognáid celebrate winning last year's Top Oil Connacht Schools Senior Cup.
This game was originally fixed for Corinthian Park at the earlier time of 12.30pm but has been switched due to an unplayable pitch.
The second semi-final also takes place tomorrow as Summerhill College host Garbally College at 2pm with their starting line-ups to be announced later today.
Coláiste Iognáid have named nine players in the first XV that played a part in last year’s 16-15 Top Oil Schools Senior Cup final win over Garbally College.
Diarmuid Codyre, whose brother Morgan kicked the winning penalty in last year’s final, captains the team from out-half after picking up a Senior Cup medal as a full-back last year.
Other starting players aiming to capture their second title include David Molloy, a try-scorer in last year’s decider, fellow winger Cillian McCabe, front row trio Adam Corbett, Conall Fallon and Gary Keane, and Aaron Mannion, Jake Gallagher and Cathal McGuinness.
Sligo Grammar will provide a stern test after running rivals Summerhill College close for top spot in pool two.
Promising out-half Niall Gray captains the side with tighthead prop Kuba Wojtkowicz and centre Graham Kerr among the ones to watch for the Sligo school. A knee injury sees another promising youngster, Christian Nielson, miss out.
2014 was the last year that Sligo Grammar captured the Senior Cup — after a 10-9 replay win over Garbally College — and an 8-6 win over Marist College proved crucial for Sligo Grammar in their pool opener. A 33-18 victory over The Bish set up a winner-takes-all clash against Summerhill with top spot at stake. A superb first half from Summerhill proved the Grammar’s undoing and although they mounted a strong comeback, led by two-try Wojtkowicz with Gray also crossing and kicking two conversions, they were beaten 32-19.
Home advantage belongs to Coláiste Iognáid tomorrow after the Galway school topped pool one thanks to three wins from three – a 22-8 win over Garbally College, a 31-14 win away to Roscommon College, and a 24-0 victory against St Gerald’s Castlebar.
The Connacht schools competitions have expanded further this season and there are now six trophies to play for. Along with the Senior and Junior Cup, there are now separate competitions for emerging and developing schools at both junior and senior level.
Coláiste Iognáid (The Jes): Adam Cunningham; Cillian McCabe, Thomas Forde, Eamon Kelly, David Molloy; Diarmuid Codyre (C), Eavan Kenny; Adam Corbett, Conall Fallon, Gary Keane; Diorai O’Connor, Aaron Mannion; Jake Gallagher, Cathal McGuiness, Hugh Keaveney.
Replacements: Sean Monaghan, Cian Parsons, Thomas Power, Michael Higgins, Ciaran Anthony, Ruadhan Durkin, Conor Briscoe, Gareth Kenny.
Sligo Grammar: Philip Carter; Cian Whiteside, Graham Kerr, Sam Donaghy, Eoin McCormack; Niall Gray (C), Oisín Rouxel; Billy Dolan-Geary, Oisín Staunton, Kuba Wojtkowicz; Peadair Fraser-Murphy, Alex Walker; Michael Kilcoyne, Brian West, Jason Lawson-Kearns.
Replacements: Jude Perry, Lukas Del Valle, Ben Armstrong, Michael Archer, Josh Conway, James McDonough, Seamus Blackwell, Eoghan Donoghue.
Top Oil Connacht Schools Senior Cup Semi-Finals
Tomorrow (Thursday, March 2)
Coláiste Iognáid (The Jes) v Sligo Grammar, Hazel Park, Newcastle, 1pm;
Summerhill College v Garbally College, Summerhill College, 2pm;