300St. Gerald’s 22-9 Sligo Grammar

In a thoroughly entertaining game at Breaffy House Resort in Castlebar; St. Gerald’s took a massive step towards qualifying for the Elvery’s Connacht Schools Junior Cup semi finals.

Both teams had a number of impressive prospects on their sides, and it was St. Gerald’s that took the initiative early on forcing a scrum in good field position. From the first phase, Mark Balaski came into the line well stepping several defenders before offloading to the winger to score in the corner. Barry Walsh was unable to kick the conversion.

Grammar responded very well, with their impressive outhalf Niall Gray managing the game very well. Gerald’s were dominating the tight exchanges lead in a large part due to props Ultan McDyre and Sean Tonra, and their backs were creating a lot of pressure on Sligo, but Gray kept them in the game with a very nice display of territorial kicking. In fact, it was he who got Grammar off the mark with a well taken penalty to bring the scores to 5-3.

Grammar were coming under all sorts of pressure at scrumtime; thanks to an impressive performance in the tight from Ultan McDyre, but their fiery scrumhalf Oisin Rouxel did well behind a retreating pack, and Grammar could always rely on Martin to keep them in touch. Walsh and Gray traded penalties before half time, with some slack handling costing Gerald’s a few more tries, with their centres running well and their flanker Thierry Baba putting in some humungous hits in defense.

St. Gerald’s up the pace in the second half, and the sustained pressure told as they were able to go through the phases and score in the right corner with winger James Hughes going over. Walsh struck a lovely conversion to give Gerald’s a cushion of nine points. Grammar weren’t done yet however, and a lovely flighted restart from Martin was regathered. Sligo seemed re-energised and Gerald’s were backpedalling fast. Grammar pushed hard before a penalty allowed Martin to bring them back to within 7 points, making it 15-9.

A great break from the restart from Grammar brought more pressure on Gerald’s. A lineout 20 m from the Gerald’s line lead to an opportunity for winger Rowan Kelleher, but the Gerald’s defense managed to scramble and hold him up over the line. A further push from the Grammar brought them close again, but they couldn’t managed to get over the line with the St. Gerald’s defense holding firm. 

That proved the winning of the game as there wasn’t long left, yet Gerald’s pushed for one more attack. Some good awareness from their outhalf Walsh, lead to several kicks in behind the Grammar’s back three, and eventually Gerald’s were able to create an overlap and go over in the same corner for their third try, with Barry Walsh again making an impressive conversion.

That’s how it finished, and while Grammar were unlucky not to get anything out of the game, Gerald’s were well on top, and probably deserved the victory. This leaves Grammar in a tricky spot, with only one team from each group guaranteed to go through, and they’ve finished their three pool games on 9 points waiting for results to go their way. Their total is a target for teams in Pool B and C, while St. Gerald’s have a refixed game against Summerhill next week to guarantee their spot at the top of the pool.

St. Gerald’s Panel:

1. Sean Tonra, 2. Ronan Curran, 3. Ultan McDyre, 4. Tomas Prendagast, 5. Cormac Walsh, 6. Saran O’ Callaghan, 7. Thierry Baba, 8. Dara King, 9. Ryan Padden, 10. Barry Walsh, 11. James Hughes, 12. Ray Loughran, 13. Mark Benson,  14. Cathal Brohan, 15. Mark Balaski, 16. Sean O’Connell, 17. Keelan Finnan, 18. Mark Durvan, 19. Niall Quinn, 20. Joseph Leddy, 21. Richard Newcombe, 22. James Tonra, 23. Irmantas Katkevicius (P)

Sligo Grammar Panel:


15. Sam Donaghy, 14. Rowan Kelleher, 13. Philip Carter, 12. Brendan Martin, 11. Cian Whiteside, 10. Niall Gray, 9. Oisin Rouxel, 1. Calum McGrath, 2. Jude Perry, 3. Jakub Kojtkowicz, 4. Michael Kilcoyne, 5. Oisin Staunton, 6. Digory Dixon, 7. Graham Kerr, 8. Christian Nielsen,.

Reps: 16. Ben Armstrong, 17. Arjun Chhagan, 18. Brian West, 19. Kenneth  Moore, 20. Edward Honey, 21. Eoin McCormack, 22. Aaron Miller, 23. Jun Sung Jeon         




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