Coláiste Iognáid 13
Summerhill College 7
David Finn at the Sportsground
Coláiste Iognáid remain top dogs in Connacht Senior schools’ rugby having overcome a spirited if limited Summerhill College, Sligo 13-7 in the Top Oil Senior Cup Final at the Sportsground.
In contrast to 2016 where they sneaked home as underdogs against Garbally College by a point, the Jes went into this year’s final as heavy favourites.
Fielding seven of last years’ successful team, including the entire front row as well as captain and out-half Diarmuid Codyre, the Jes always were in control of a game played out in front of a raucous and predominantly Jes partisan, if mainly good-natured, crowd.
In truth, though, this is not a game that will live long in the memory as the Jes rarely had to move out of second gear to get the better of their spirited, if limited, opponents. Indeed, they will feel that the final score was a not a true reflection of the course of the 70 minutes as a combination of some poor final passes and some excellent scrambling defence kept the Jes out, while Summerhill only really threatened the Iognáid try-line with the last play of the game.
After an opening 10 minutes played mainly in the middle of the pitch as the two teams sized each other up, the game sparked into life when the Jes managed to take a scrum against the head on halfway and quick hands put full back Adam Cunningham through a gap in midfield, but he was hauled down 5m from the line before the ball was cleared. The Jes scented blood, and upped the intensity level such that they forced Summerhill into giving away penalties in kickable areas.
Twice, however – firstly after the Sligo men were penalised for not rolling away and then following a high tackle – Codyre forced his effort, and both times the ball went outside the posts.
The third time Summerhill infringed would be a pivotal moment. Summerhill inside-centre, Ross Hickey, kicked the ball out of the hands of scrum-half Eavan Kenny, earning himself a yellow card and a third shot at goal that Codyre took full advantage of to give his side the lead.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.