…Healy Honoured by Clontarf…Boyne And Wicklow Meet In Plate Final…Tullow End 31-Year Wait…Jackman To Coach Coolmine…Malahide RFC Women’s Finals…
HEALY HONOURED BY CLONTARF: Ireland Under-20 prop Cian Healy has been presented with a special trophy by Clontarf RFC President Paul McLaughlin in honour of his contribution in the Irish U-20s’ 2007 Six Nations title and Grand Slam double.
The 19-year-old Healy, a former pupil of Belvedere College, has been a regular in the ‘Tarf first team this season and is hoping to complete his season with an AIB League Division One winners’ medal in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, last Sunday saw the Clontarf Under-11s win the Leinster Metropolitan Cup final, beating Navan by three tries to one in a tightly contested game at Coolmine RFC.
James Doyle, Mark White and Sean McCullagh ran in the ‘Tarf tries. Captained by Keith Boucher, the ‘Tarf squad, in full, is: Keith Boucher, Hugh O’Connor, Mathew Butler, Luke Trench, Stephen Cole, David Condon Aidan O’Brien, Patrick Foley, Sean McCullagh, James McGauran, Kevin Mullins, James Doyle, Conor McGinn, Jordan Mulvanney, Oisin Hoy, Mark White, James O’Siorain, Sam Maher.
BOYNE AND WICKLOW MEET IN PLATE FINAL: The 45th Provincial Towns Plate final takes place at Naas RFC on Sunday, with Boyne and Wicklow duelling it out for honours. The game has a 1.30pm kick-off and is part of a double header with the Provincial Towns Cup semi-final (Portlaoise v Skerries).
Boyne beat Rathdrum in their semi-final, 57-21, and will be attempting to win the Towns Plate for a second time, having defeated Wicklow in the 2004 showdown. Boyne were formed by the merger of Drogheda and Delvin in 1997. Drogheda won the Towns Plate on three occasions – in 1972, 1983 and 1986. Boyne finished fifth in this season’s Division One of the Leinster League with seven wins from 12 league games.
In the 2007 Towns Cup, they got the better of Mullingar in the first round, but lost out to Ashbourne 19-14 in the second round.
Newly promoted to the Leinster League’s top flight, Wicklow will be attempting to win their first ever Towns Plate. They gained a revenge of sorts on Tullamore, the team they lost to in last season’s Towns Cup, in the semi-finals, beating the Offaly men 43-23.
Their Plate final record is a poor one though, having been runners-up in both 1982 and 2004. Wicklow had an excellent league campaign this season in Division Two of the Leinster League. They won eight of their ten league games to finish second to table-toppers Ashbourne and gain promotion.
They bowed out of the 2007 Towns Cup at the first hurdle, losing to eventual finalists Navan 30-8.
TULLOW END 31-YEAR WAIT: Tullow’s 17-9 win over Cill Dara in Portlaoise in last Sunday’s Provincial Towns Seconds Cup semi-final sent the County Carlow club into their first seconds final in 31 years.
Two penalties from out-half Willie ‘Cass’ O’Brien saw Tullow lead 6-3 by the half hour mark, with the Kildare side’s points coming from the boot of right winger Colm Duffy.
Cill Dara levelled again through Duffy but a third O’Brien penalty and an opportunist try from winger Shane O’Reilly, who darted forward to gather a huge kick from O’Brien and shrug off two tacklers to touch down, handed Tullow a 14-6 buffer at the break.
O’Brien smacked over his fourth penalty of the afternoon, six minutes into the second half, to nudge Tullow further in front and despite some late forward charges at the Barrowsiders’ try line, Cill Dara could not get that elusive try.
After Duffy had kicked another penalty, Cill Dara did have penalty chance in front of the posts but they refused the shot and the Carlow club’s defence came up with the goods to keep their line intact. Portlaoise will be their opponents in the final.
JACKMAN TO COACH COOLMINE: Irish international hooker Bernard Jackman held his first meeting with the Coolmine players on Tuesday, having been officially confirmed as the Dublin club’s coach for the 2007/08 season.
The current Leinster player, aged 30, recently coached Newbridge RFC to success in Division Three of the Leinster League and in the Lalor Cup.
Jackman is a native of Carlow and took up rugby with Newbridge College. He then played on the club scene for both Lansdowne and Clontarf, before making his mark in the professional game with Leinster, Sale and Connacht. He won two caps on Ireland’s summer tour to Japan in 2005 and also represented his country at Colleges and ‘A’ levels.
MALAHIDE RFC HOST WOMEN’S FINALS: The Women’s All-Ireland Cup, Bowl, Plate and Shield finals will be held at Malahide RFC in Dublin on Saturday afternoon.
Estuary Road will be the place to be as the cream of Irish women’s rugby serves up what are sure to be four cracking matches. Malahide are no strangers to hosting women’s rugby events as the capital club staged the IWRFU Under-19 Interprovincial championship a few years ago.
Fixtures – Saturday, April 21 – Shield Final: Trinity v Cill Dara, Pitch 2, 12pm; Bowl Final: Newbridge v Waterpark, Main Pitch, 1pm; Plate Final: Old Belvedere v Galwegians, Pitch 2, 2pm; Cup Final: Blackrock v Highfield, Main Pitch, 3pm