St Paul’s Oughterard 0-10 St Joseph’s Foxford
Report courtesy of Russell O’Brien
On a week where we had more rain in than days than in the entire previous month, the availability of a pitch for Tuesday’s Top Oil Connacht Schools Emerging Cup semi-final was always in doubt.
However, through the good graces of St Enda’s College in Salthill, this fixture went ahead after they agreed to accommodate the fixture.
Foxford started with the wind at their backs and out-half Ryan Casey used the boot to test the back three of St Paul’s allowing the rushing defence to force the knock-on, only for it to be reversed in favour of the home team.
The Foxford pack exerted their power and turned over the ball to launch a relentless attack with the enigmatic outside centre Cody Landy breaking through the defence to find powerful full-back Conor Bowes who destroyed the defence only to be penalised for holding on.
After that the game ebbed and flowed as the Foxford midfield tackled ferociously to force the home team to knock-on in the collision regularly.
This gave Foxford a platform to launch captain Liam Keane Murphy to attack from the base of the scrum.
After a series of penalties conceded by St Paul’s, they lost a player to the sin bin for a team infringement, this allowed Jack Duffy to find Bowes who powered over from short range with Ethan Naylor landing the conversion to leave the score 7-0 to the Mayo side at the break.
As the second half resumed, the conditions were telling on both teams as the hallowed paddock cut up very easily.
Both teams were guilty of infringements due to the worsening conditions and it seemed to knock the wind out of the sails but the visitors stood firm with Nathan Herbert and Lachlan Maloney carrying hard at every opportunity.
As the game was drawing to a close, the home team conceded yet another penalty and Naylor stepped up to land three points with the powerful right boot to make it a two score game with a minute left on the clock.
Although the Galway team rallied and launched another attack, the ever-vigilant back line kept them contained and held out for a very famous victory.
Foxford now await the winners of the encounter between Enniscrone and St Tiernan’s in the Connacht Schools Emerging Cup final later this month.
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.