A fantastic festival of rugby was held in Buccaneers RFC this week in association with Athlone IT, with all five finals of the SSI/IRFU Men’s and Women’s Rugby Competitions taking place.
NUI Galway retained the SSI/IRFU Women’s Rugby Division 1 crown as they with stood a late comeback by University of Limerick to win by 10 points to 7 in a very exciting final.
University of Limerick put in a brilliant defensive display in the opening half denying NUI Galway on several occasions with some brilliant tackling as the Galway outfit were camped inside the twenty-two.
The half time score was 0-0 but NUI Galway finally crossed the whitewash in the second half as scrum half Shannen Lane brilliantly touched down.
Orla Mallon doubled the lead for NUI Galway with a fine second try for her side with fifteen minutes to play. University of Limerick never gave up and in the final ten minutes created several scoring chances and they were eventually rewarded when Syphonia Pua touched down.
The conversion was kicked by Helen McDermott but seconds later the final whistle sounded and NUI Galway celebrated.
Host college Athlone IT celebrated the opening success of finals day by capturing the SSI/IRFU Women’s Rugby Division 2 title with a 17-7 win over University of Limerick B.
With wind advantage in the opening half the home side scored 17 unanswered points, but Athlone IT did have to withstand some immense pressure during the second half from University of Limerick who could only manage seven points in what was an exciting final to get the day under way.
IT Carlow had Aidan McDonald to thank for a late penalty as they got the better of Garda College on a 15-14 scoreline in the final of the Brendan Johnston Cup.
Sean Glynn had scored a try within five minutes of the start of the game for Garda College that was converted by Brendan McSweeney. IT Carlow worked a fine try before half time as a skip pass to the left found Seamus Curran and Carlow FC club man ran from his own 10 metre line to touch down.
Garda College held a 7-5 lead at the interval before IT Carlow took the front for the first time midway through the second half when Ntinga Mpiko picked and went through a gap in the Garda College defence, Aidan McDonald added the conversion to give IT Carlow a 12-7 lead.
It looked like IT Carlow would really kick on from here but Garda College showed great spirit and their fantastic number seven Sean Glynn touched down for a second time beside the posts and the conversion by McSweeney had Garda College in front 14-12 with ten minutes remaining.
IT Carlow were awarded a penalty with seven minutes left after an infringement in the scrum and McDonald split the posts from the tee and ultimately it was enough for IT Carlow to seal a famous win.
An all Limerick clash in the Men’s Rugby Tier Two cup was won by Mary Immaculate as they beat near neighbours University of Limerick on a 17-10 score line.
A dominant display by the forward unit of Mary Immaculate set the platform for the success as the winners moved into a 17-0 lead. University of Limerick did score ten points before the end but Mary I held out to become champions.
Belfast Met played in their first ever SSI/IRFU Rugby final and had a successful outcome on their maiden voyage on finals day as they collected the Men’s Tier 3 title on a 24-3 against a never-say-die University College Cork side.