The Connacht Schools Senior Cup is back and it’s as exciting as ever, with all three of this week’s games finishing with a converted try, or less, between the teams.

Summerhill College and St. Muredach’s College got proceedings underway on Wednesday, with Summerhill getting the better of a tight game, coming out 13-8 victors.

Full-back Clyde Regan touched down for the Sligo school in the opening half, with St. Muredach’s hooker, Conor Brown, helping his side bounce back after the break with a well-worked try.

However, it was Summerhill No. 8 Kealan Schön who scored the decisive try, taking advantage of some lapses in defense after a quick tap and go.

Summerhill’s next tie is against the pool’s other winner, Colaiste Iognaid (The Jes). They overcame Garbally College in an enthralling encounter in Creggs RFC.

Garbally started the game well but they were unable to make the most of their early possession. As the game went on, The Jes grew into the game.

Calum Elwood made the most of this, with the flyhalf breaking through Garbally’s defence at the 20-minute mark to get the game’s opening score.

He was unable to add the extras, but The Jes did go into the break holding a 5-0 lead.

However, an early yellow card in the second half saw a momentum swing. Ronan Kelly helped the Ballinasloe school make the most of the extra men, crossing the whitewash for a try which was converted.

The Jes showed resilience to bounce back, with an Elwood penalty helping his side regain the lead, before Bobby Power scored the try of the game after a scintillating break from the halfway line.

Garbally responded with a late try, but they will have to settle for the losing bonus point.

The other pool saw defending champions Sligo Grammar get their campaign off to a winning start with a 12-5 victory over CBS Roscommon.

Diarmuid O’Connell starred, with the flanker showing his attacking prowess to cross the line twice in the first half of the Sligo side.

Cormac Dolan did get CBS Roscommon back into the game with a second-half try, but they were unable to build on that score despite their possession.

Garbally College 31
CBS Roscommon 6

Garbally College justified their strong favourites tag with a powerful display to seal an incredible 47th Top Oil Connacht Schools Senior A Cup title for the college.
The Ballinasloe side have appeared in over 50 Senior Cup finals, but never before in a decider had they faced CBS Roscommon who made history earlier in the month by reaching their first ever Senior Cup final after a memorable win over The Jes at Creggs RFC.

In front of a raucous travelling support from Roscommon, CBS certainly weren’t overawed by the occasion as they competed brilliant in defence and at the breakdown in the opening stages. Garbally had the majority of possession but it took them 27 minutes to finally make the breakthrough, with some quick hands from the backs releasing Sean Horkan who showed some incredible pace to break down the wing and score underneath the posts.
A further try was to follow just before the break as Shea Hennessy touched down in the corner while Stephen Mannion nailed a brilliant conversion to make it a 14 point game at the break.
CBS knew they had to start the second half all guns blazing, and that’s exactly what they did as two incredible penalties from Mark Purcell on the half-way line brought the gap down to 8 points, and suddenly a major shock was on the cards. However from then on Garbally were able to find an extra gear, as further tries from Stephen Mannion and Oisin McCormack helped the Ballinasloe side pull away for a deserved victory.

Garbally College 22
The Jes 15

The Juniors of Garbally College ensured they went one better than the agony of 2018 as they clinched the Top Oil Connacht Schools Junior A Cup with an impressed victory over Coláiste Iognáid (The Jes).
It was Marist College that got the better of Garbally in last year’s decider by just 3 points so those involved with the Ballinasloe side again this year were looking to make sure they didn’t fall at the final hurdle again. Despite a gallant effort from The Jes, a 22-15 victory gave Garbally the first of a brilliant double at Junior and Senior level.

The opening quarter was mostly played on Garbally’s terms as they dominated territory and possession but were being held back by a strong Jes defence. The pressure eventually told on the 16 minute mark as a converted try gave them a 7-0 lead, but the Jes struck straight back with their first dangerous attack of the game when James Harrison touched down out wide to bring it back to 7-5. However Garbally finished the 1st half strongly with 10 unanswered points from a Daithi Blackweir try and Adam O’Carroll penalty to make it 17-5 at the break.
The second half ebbed and flowed before The Jes started to narrow the deficit thanks to a try from Adam Madden and a Charlie Power penalty. Like the Senior Development Cup before it we were down to a one score game entering the closing minutes, but again it was the leading side that secured a late try to seal the deal. Samuel Almeida was the man to touch down in the corner for Garbally and the final whistle blew soon after.

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.

Reigning champions Garbally College booked their place in the final of the Top Oil Connacht Schools Senior A final yesterday with another impressive win.
They overcame Sligo Grammar 36-10 to move on to the decider which will be held at The Sportsground on Wednesday 13th March against either Roscommon CBS or Colaiste Iognaid.
Check out some of the best pics from a sunny Ballinasloe.

There was a double success for Garbally College yesterday as they overcame Marist College in the Senior and Junior School League finals in Tuam.
Here’s the reaction of head coaches Kevin Tierney and Ronan Flanagan ?

The fixture details have been confirmed for the 2018/19 Connacht Senior & Junior Schools League finals.
Both ties will feature Garbally College going up against Marist College, so the deciders will be played back-to-back in a double header at Tuam RFC on Tuesday 8th January. First up is the Junior Final at 11.15am, and that will be followed by the Senior Final at 12.45pm.
Best of luck to the two schools and four teams.


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