Top Oil Connacht Schools Senior Development Final
St Joseph’s Galway (The Bish) 7
Clifden Community School 0
A second half try from Eana O Foighill helped the Bish secure the Top Oil Connacht Schools Senior Development Cup final at the Sportsground on Wednesday after a hard hitting compelling clash with Clifden Community School.
The Galway city school’s openside flanker scampered over from close range after a sustained spell of pressure on the Clifden line ten minutes into the second half for a try just to the right of the posts and Peadar O’Beirne slotted the extras for a lead that proved to be as valuable as it seemed.
The worst of Wednesday’s weather was reserved for the day’s third final and considering the difficulties in retaining possession and executing lineouts, the effort and application from both sides was hugely commendable.
From a very early stage, it had all the makings of a game where neither side would get out of the single digits in the scoring department but throughout the contest, the various one on one battles were compelling and this was especially the case in the second half as the contest was in the melting pot.
The start to the second half won it for the Bish, they had waited out on the field at the interval, Clifden had chosen the dressing room for some respite from the cold and it was the forwards who set the tone, it was a day for big ball carriers.
The key men in this regard were James Brogan and Abdulhag Abayomi who both caused a lot of problems for the Clifden defence, their work led to O Foighill’s try and when the flanker saw yellow late on the brilliant tackling from the likes of Cian Kerrigan, Antione Hubert and Shane Casserly among others proved key.
Clifden finished strongly, Matthew Gavin Aaron O’Donoghue, Paul Lee and Dylan Keaney carried with purpose and Tommy Mullen and Henry O’Toole tried to get width on the game but the conditions weren’t conducive to allowing them to unleash the obvious peed they had out wide.
It was never going to be a classic in the conditions but it was a hard fought and hard earned cup win for the Bish. Their last senior title came in 1994, as a school with just the five year cycle, there are limits to what can be achieved but on Wednesday one of the traditional powerhouses in Connacht Schools rugby and the team second on the all time Senior Cup winners list, had a red letter day.
St Joseph’s Galway: Michael O’Reilly; Joe Tinney, Antione Hubert, Cian Kerrigan; Callum Heapes; Peadar O’Beirne, John O’Connell; Craig Fox, Tiernan Surlis, James Brogan; Abdulhag Abayomi, Shane Casserly; Ronan Joyce, Eana O Foighill, Karl Burke.
Replacements: Feargal Dooley for Burke; Ronan Corless for Fox.
Clifden Community School: Emmet Moran; Coli Pryce, Henry O’Toole, Brendan Regan, Jack Gavin; Tommy Mullen, Enda Conneely; Dylan Keaney, Rory Ward, Eric Diamond, Jack O’Halloran, Aaron Needham; Thomas Mannion, Paul Lee, Aaron O’Donoghue.
Replacemets: Mathew Gavin for Keaney; Nicholas Joyce for Pryce; Peter Lee for Needham; Colm Coneys for Regan.