The Sportsground hosted the Schools Senior Cup finals yesterday Tuesday 15th March. The wind and rain did not hold back the support yesterday with huge excitement for all 6 clubs.

Well done to all teams and congratulations to those who took home the trophy.

Schools Senior C Cup Final 

Pres Headford vs Sancta Maria

Winners: Pres Headford

Schools Senior B Cup Final 

St. Paul’s Oughterard vs Colaiste Einde

Winners: Colaiste Einde

Schools Senior A Cup Final 

Colaiste Iognaid vs Sligo Grammar

Winners Sligo Grammar 

Check out some of the fantastic photos taken at yesterdays event below.

Schools Senior C Cup

 

Schools Senior B Cup

Schools Senior A Cup

Connacht Schools Senior Cup Final

Sligo Grammar School                                 15

(Jonjo Devine, Matthew Ryan tries, Earl Norris one pen, one con)

Coláiste Iognáid                                             10                         

(Ben O’Malley try, Patrick Nash one pen, one con)

Kevin Egan at the Sportsground.

Sligo Grammar School are back on top of the heap in Connacht Schools rugby for the first time in eight years after a late try from replacement Matthew Ryan rounded off a 50-minute long comeback against Coláiste Iognáid (the Jes) at the Sportsground this afternoon.

It was a remarkable afternoon that saw the Galway side make by far the better start, disrupting Sligo Grammar in the set piece and crashing over for the game’s first try through full back Ben O’Malley after just ten minutes. After winning the pool game between the two sides quite comfortably, Coláiste Iognáid went into this game with the mantle of favourites resting ever so gently on their shoulders, and the confident, assured rugby they played, particularly when the ball was moved out to the three quarter line, was hugely impressive.

Jes outhalf Patrick Nash made light of the difficult conditions to slot over a very tough conversion and as conditions deteriorated, nightmarish handling conditions made it difficult for either side to gain any real momentum. The lead was pushed out to ten points when Ambrose Bamber tried to carry the ball out of his own 22 and was whistled for holding on when he was swarmed by Jes tacklers, but after forcing a turnover from the restart, Sligo earned a scrum and made it count.

A quick eight-nine exchange led to Gareth McGinty dinking a low kick past the tryline where Jonjo Devine was on hand to touch down for a momentum-shifting score.

An Earl Norris penalty before half-time reduced the gap further and as the second half continued, handling errors prevented Sligo Grammar from taking the lead for long stretches, even though they were enjoying most of the possession and playing the game in the Jes half of the field.

The Galway school made one huge goal-line stand to eventually win a penalty and clear their lines from just three metres out from their own posts, but by now back row forwards Adam Hunter and Ambrose Bamber were the dominant influences on the field, crossing the gain line with the vast majority of their carries. Defensively they were completely on top, turning over Coláiste Iognáid time and again, and playing the game on their own terms.

Yet getting the better of the opposition was just half the battle, making it count on the scoreboard was another matter. It took a moment of real magic to make that happen, and it came from a combination of Hunter, who was really playing a captain’s part, and winger Seán Gilvarry.

With just three minutes to play, Hunter’s flat pass gave Gilvarry the opening the winger needed to beat two tackles and sprint down the left wing, only getting brought down five metres short of the line. A quick recycle back to the Sligo Grammar captain took three more tacklers out of the game and with the Jes stretched, Matthew Ryan was able to charge through the gap between the pillars and touch down for the game’s deciding score.

Earl Norris curved an immaculate conversion through the uprights to ensure that only a try would deny the school their eleventh Senior Cup victory, but that extra cushion wasn’t needed as the Grammar lads kept Coláiste Iognáid penned back in their own half and easily saw out the win.

 

Sligo Grammar School: Alex Harte; Jonjo Devine, Gerard Murtagh, Conor Creaven, Seán Gilvarry; Earl Norris, Gareth McGinty; Arann Platt, Max Hunter, Tynan Maxwell; Alistair Hill, Paddy Wright; Orlando Ven der Grijn, Adam Hunter, Ambrose Bamber.

Replacements: Ross Clarke for Hunter (17), Jack Dennison for Harte (half-time), Matthew Ryan for Wright (half-time), Oisín Lawley for Maxwell (48)

Coláiste Iognáid: Ben O’Malley; Hugh Kelly, Adam Madden, Robert McHugh, Conor Toner; Patrick Nash, Andrew Sherlock; Paddy Fahy, Charlie Leonard, Liam Cloherty; Rory Lally, David Kelly; Ryan Kavanagh, Shay McGovern, Jack Quinn.  

Replacements: Bobby Power for Kavanagh (51), Jamie Cunningham for Toner (54), Conal Ó Floinn for Lally (61).

Referee: Andrew Fogarty

Connacht Schools Senior “B” Cup Final

Coláiste Einde                                 23                         

(Ben Magee, Alexandre Burduli tries; Evan Jennings two pens, two cons, Bryan Casburn pen)

St. Paul’s Oughterard     20

(Eoghan Fahey, Brian McHugo tries; Ryan Roche two pens, two cons)

Kevin Egan at the Sportsground.

The magical ecstasy of victory and the heartbreaking pain of a last-minute defeat was etched onto the faces of the players of Coláiste Einde and St. Pauls of Oughterard this afternoon in the Sportsground, when Bryan Casburn’s penalty with the last play of the game settled a thrilling Connacht Schools Senior “B” Cup final in favour of the city side.

Coláiste Einde’s technical strengths, their superior handling and passing, and the devastating running of Bryan Walsh at the base of the scrum were their trump cards as they got the better of the small west Galway school in the first half, but the sheer athleticism and direct running of the St. Paul’s players set up a thrilling finish, and when a try from captain Brian McHugo was followed up by a fantastic conversion from Ryan Roche, his fourth kick from four attempts, that left the sides all squared up going into the last couple of minutes.

It looked like extra time was not just a possibility, but a likelihood, and given the quality of the fare that preceded the score, no-one would have minded one bit if there were 20 more minutes to be played.

If there was a winner, the smart money was on St. Paul’s, who now had all the momentum. Instead it fell to Bryan Walsh to crown a man of the match performance with one more decisive intervention as he rose up to claim a St. Paul’s lineout and put Coláiste Einde on the front foot. With the ball moving across the line some 15 or 20 metres out from the St. Paul’s line, the defending side gambled on trying to intercept a pass but were instead penalised for offside.

Substitute Casburn stood over his first kick of the day but he made it look like he was knocking them over throughout the 70 minutes, as he bisected the posts to give his side the win.

The early exchanges also belonged to Coláiste Einde, in no small part because of how Riccardo Romboli dictated the play from outhalf, kicking with precision and bringing his three quarter line into the game when the situation dictated. A first attack was repelled thanks to a wonderful tackle from Christopher McDonagh, but the second gave Evan Jennings the chance to strike at goal from 25 metres, and the full back made no mistake.

Right from the restart Romboli chased down his own kick and put Coláiste Einde on the offensive straight away, and after traversing the field twice while going through the phases, they stretched St. Paul’s to the point that Ben Magee had a simple touchdown in the corner, which again was followed by a sublime kick from Jennings.

A penalty after 21 minutes from Ryan Roche and another early in the second half cut the gap right back down to 10-6, and even though Jennings stretched the gap again nine minutes into the second half, by now St. Paul’s were punching holes in the Coláiste Einde back line, thanks in the main to some superb runs from James Lowry, Shane Finnerty and Eoghan Fahey in broken play.

A magnificent crossfield kick from Roche found Fahey for what turned out to be the equalising score once the extra points were added, but that man Walsh again came up trumps with a game changing run, and quick hands between Romboli and Niall O’Neill put the hooker over the line.

The pressure was squarely on the shoulders of St. Paul’s, who needed converted try to draw level, and they stepped up to the mark in fine style. Shane Finnerty’s run broke open the defense and set play up inside the 22, Donal Henderson brought play up to the goal line, and it fell to McHugo to crash over the line.

The conversion was a difficult one, but Roche nailed it, leading to rapturous celebrations among the St. Paul’s players and hands on heads from Coláiste Einde.

As both sets of players were about to learn, emotions can turn around very quickly in schools cup rugby.

Coláiste Einde: Evan Jennings; Bright Brodericks, Ciarán Park, Eoghan Harlowe, Ellis Muir; Riccardo Romboli, Hernando Calleja Besada; Colm Curran, Niall O’Neill, Nathan Duggan; Ben Magee, Alexandre Burduli; Shay Phillips, Kian Higgins, Bryan Walsh.

Replacements: Bryan Casburn for Romboli (63), Patrick Maughan for Muir (63), Romboli for Park (67).

St. Paul’s: James Lowry; Donal Henderson, Shane Finnerty, Cody Farrell, Eoghan Fahey; Ryan Roche, Cathal O’Hare; Darragh O’Toole, Noel Lydon, Daniel Walsh; Christopher McDonagh, Jack McHugh; Iarla O’Malley, Kai Heanue, Brian McHugo.

Replacements: Peter O’Malley for Farrell (12), Keegan Gilmore for Heanue (23), Farrell for O’Malley (26).

Referee: Gerry Geraghty.  

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