10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Wicklow's first team finished off their hugely successful season with a thoroughly deserved victory over their Division One opposition. This was club's first ever victory in the Plate final, having tasted defeat to Boyne in the final four years ago.
In perfect conditions for running rugby, Wicklow were behind after just two minutes when Boyne out-half Niall Kerbey slotted over a difficult penalty kick.
Wicklow hit back well, with Stephen Duffy kicking cleverly. Allied to midfield breaks from Ciaran Naughton and Paddy O'Flaherty, they began to get a foothold in the match.
Wicklow scored the first of their three tries in the twelfth-minute. A great lineout win by Des Alvey, who was prominent throughout the match, saw quick ball released off the top of the lineout to Richard Wood. His long pass found Shaun McCarthy, whose quick feed released Robbie Morrison, who, despite being halted just metres from the line, managed to offload for the supporting McCarthy to score.
Duffy's conversion was cancelled out by a second Kerbey penalty but just past the midway point of the half, McCarthy strolled over for another try, after a great link play with Wood.
McCarthy grabbed his and Wicklow's third try, ten minutes before the break, when Wood got the Wicklow backs moving once again. He found Ciaran Naughton who made the initial incision and O'Flaherty and Morrison then combined to put McCarthy darting over under the posts.
19-6 in front, Wicklow were forced to weather a storm before the half-time whistle and they kept Boyne out, despite losing Niall Smullen to the sin bin.
Using their numerical advantage, Boyne got themselves back in contention, seven minutes into the second half, when number eight Eoin Collins pounced off the back of a five-metre scrum to dive over.
Wicklow wobbled slightly when just after Smullen's return, Paddy Jameson saw yellow for dragging down a maul. Exerting huge pressure in the scrum, Boyne managed to get over for their second try, but once again the conversion was missed, which proved costly in the end.
The fresh legs of John McElhinney and Brian Quinn helped Wicklow see out the win, which saw Noel Greene collect the trophy afterwards, much to the joy of the club's sizeable travelling support.
Wicklow, who are managed by Michael Clarke and coached by Shaun McCarthy, are already making preparations for the 2007/08 which will see them play in Division One of the Leinster Junior League. Anyone interested in playing rugby for the club at any level, please contract Brian Coffey (tel: 0868611056) or Shaun McCarthy (tel: 0879141479) for further information.
BLACKROCK TAKE WOMEN'S CUP TITLE: Blackrock's Women's side gained revenge on Highfield for their recent league semi-final defeat by beating the Cork women 20-12 in Saturday's All-Ireland Cup final, played at Malahide.
Helped by their smattering of Irish internationals, 'Rock grabbed tries through Orla Brennan, Liz Comerford and Shannon Houston, with Grace Davitt landing a conversion and a penalty.
Helen Jones and Emma Stanley both touched down for Highfield, with Norita Duggan tacking on a single conversion. Highfield, 10-0 winners over 'Rock in their league semi-final clash, face UL Bohemians in next Sunday's All-Ireland League final at Portlaoise (kick-off 3pm).
In the earlier matches at Malahide's excellent Estuary Road ground, Newbridge were squeezed out 5-0 by Waterpark in the Nowl final, with Ger Kinnane notching the only try.
Tries from Caroline Pryce, Tandy Johnson and Nuala Ni Chadhain saw the Plate go west as Galwegians beat Old Belvedere 17-12 in the final. Shannon Reid and Nora Stapleton crossed the whitewash for 'Belvo.
Meanwhile, Trinity were comprehensive 53-0 winners over Cill Dara in the Shield final. Julia Sarda (4), Ailis Egan (2), Tracey Farrelly, Maeve McCutcheon and Marie Therese Bolger shared out the Dublin team's tries, with Bolger kicking four conversions.
BARNHALL UNDER-18S THROUGH TO METRO FINAL: The Barnhall Under-18s won through to the Metropolitan Cup final last Saturday, as they got the better of hosts Garda in a hard-fought semi-final.
In what was a classic semi-final encounter, played at the Iveagh Fields, Barnhall emerged as 18-16 victors to progress through to the May 2 final against Clontarf. The young Bulls had to come back from a 13-3 deficit to qualify for the decider.
Their comeback started with a Leo Quinn penalty, 17 minutes from time. Five minutes later, a well-worked drive off a lineout saw flanker Sean O'Mara power through to nab a much-needed try, with out-half Quinn converting.
Guinness edged back in front at 16-13 with another penalty, but in a character-building finish, Barnhall struck for a decisive late try as replacement John Taylor dotted down after some excellent work from the Kildare side's pack.
Captained by lock Brian Kenny, Barnhall U-18s have another big day out next Saturday when they face Naas in the Leinster Cup final at North Kildare (kick-off 2pm).
COOLMINE TO BOOST FACILITIES WITH GRANT: Coolmine RFC were recently awarded a €250,000 grant towards development of an all weather playing and training facility at their Ashbrook grounds.
The grant, provided by the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism, will go towards the conversion of an 8000 sq. metres training area into an all-weather training & playing surface, suitable for rugby, soccer and other field activities.
The total proposed investment will cost in the region of €500,000 and will consist of laying a synthetic playing surfacing, fencing and additional floodlighting. The project is planned for completion by the end of 2007.
"We're delighted and grateful to the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism for providing a €250,000 grant," said Coolmine RFC President Shane Delaney.
"We believe that our plan will be a welcome addition to the sporting infrastructure of west Dublin - it will greatly improve our existing facilities."
NAAS UNDER-10S ON THE BOIL KETTLE CUP: The Naas Under-10 squad were in celebratory mood last week as they lifted the Kettle Cup, what is effectively the Leinster championship for U-10 teams in the province.
Naas won the title for only the second time, beating all-comers at the finals at Mullingar RFC. They were deserved winners, defeating six different teams on the day.
The Kildare youngsters saw off Ashbourne (3-0), Old Belvedere (2-1) and Kilkenny (1-0) in the pool stages, and got the better of Wexford, 3-0, in the quarter-final.
They downed the hosts Mullingar in the semis, imposing themselves in a 4-0 victory, while an entertaining final - an all-Kildare affair - saw Cill Dara lose out 2-0 to all-conquering Naas.
It was a memorable day for all involved and the combination of teamwork, commitment, and no little skill, yielded up a noteworthy and fully deserved success for this magnificent Naas squad, in which all members contributed equally.
Naas Squad: Brian Ashe, Robert Brazil, Ruairi Cleary, Donal Delahunt, Thomas Dore, Mike Doyle, Conor Johnson, Kevin McLoughlin, Cillian Murphy, Gavin Murphy, Rowan Osborne, Jimmy O'Brien, Niall O'Neill, Hugh Ronaldson.