PREVIEW: Top Oil Connacht Schools Cup Finals 2019

12 March 2019

PREVIEW: Top Oil Connacht Schools Cup Finals 2019
It's the biggest day in the Connacht schools rugby calendar tomorrow when six teams from five schools compete in a triple-header of Top Oil Schools Cup finals at The Sportsground.
The Senior A, Junior A and Senior Development Cups will all be decided tomorrow with a huge crowd expected at the home of Connacht Rugby for the games.
Here's a look ahead to the three fixtures with all you need to know about the ties.

Never before has a Senior A Cup final pitted together two sides on such polar opposites of the schools rugby spectrum. On one side you've got a Garbally College gunning for an incredible 47th Schools Cup title since they won the very first final in 1913. They won't be short of motivation however, since they're aiming to win back-to-back Cups for the first time since the last 1990s when they won four-in-a-row. The Ballinasloe side have been as impressive as ever during the 2019 campaign - defeating the Jes and Summerhill in the group stage before a 26 point victory over Sligo Grammar to book their place in the final.

Their opponents meanwhile have already made rugby history, but they don't intend stopping there. Two weeks ago among joyous scenes at Creggs RFC, CBS Roscommon booked a first ever place in the Senior A Cup final with a 16-8 victory over The Jes. The win was the culmination of many years work at the school, especially considering they only joined the Senior ranks a number of years ago. CBS are the first ever school from Roscommon to reach a Senior Cup final, with their semi-final win coming after group stage wins over Marist and Sligo Grammar.

Will it be the kingpins from Ballinasloe who'll add another title to their collection, or will there be a new name to add to the Senior Schools history books? We'll find out from 4pm tomorrow.


At Garbally it's not just the seniors who are still looking to be the team to beat. Their Juniors are on four wins from four in this year's Junior Cup campaign, overcoming St Muiredachs, CBS Roscommon and The Bish in the round robin before gaining some bit of revenge on Marist College by beating them in the semi-finals, 12 months after Marist got the better of them in the Junior Cup final.

This year's decider is a meeting of two old rivals on the Schools Cup scene with The Jes standing in their way. Like their opponents, The Jes are also unbeaten in 2019 with three wins in the group stages before a 27-7 victory over Muiredachs in the last four.

Games between these two schools are always hotly anticipated affairs whatever the level, and more of the same is expected tomorrow from 2pm.

Tomorrow's action gets underway with a unique pairing in the Senior Development Cup final, as SCC Carraroe from the heart of Connemara take on a Gallen side travelling from Ferbane in Offaly.

11 schools competed in this year's Senior Development tournament, and like the later games it features two teams who navigated the group stages with 100% records, while they both had extremely tight semi-final encounters. Gallen beat the Presentations from Headford and Athenry before they qualified for the final after a tight and tense repeat clash with Headford.

Meanwhile it's been a long journey for SCC who have navigated through three group games as well as an additional quarter-final before their hugely impressive semi-final win over St. Muiredachs. If it's anything like their previous knock-out games en route to today's decider, it promises to be a cracking game to kick off the day.
Tickets for the games are €10 for adult and €5 for teenagers while U12s go free. Please note this is a cash only event. There is no parking available at the ground and we ask all attendees to please respect local residents if parking in the vicinity.
The Junior Development, Senior Emerging and Junior Emerging Cup finals will also be held at The Sportsground with the games underway at 4pm, 2pm an 12pm respectively on Wednesday March 27th.