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Connacht Schools Titles For Sligo And Oranmore

Connacht Schools Titles For Sligo And Oranmore

Sligo Grammar and Calasanctius College Oranmore reigned supreme at the Sportsground on Wednesday as they claimed the Connacht Tribune Schools Senior and Junior Cup titles respectively.



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Scorers: Sligo Grammar: Tries: Peter Laffey, Scott Oates, David Butler; Con: Pat Hughes; Pens: Pat Hughes 2; Drop: Pat Hughes
Colaiste Iognaid: Try: Conor Murphy; Pens: Robert Butler 2 

Sligo Grammar got over the disappointment of losing four finals since their last title success, in 2003, as they came from behind to beat last year’s winners Colaiste Iognaid in a high-quality clash at the Sportsground.

The two sides went at it hammer and tongs and despite losing three players to the sin-bin over the course of the game, the Sligo youngsters prevailed with a late try from man-of-the-match David Butler putting the seal on their ninth Connacht final victory.

Colaiste Iognaid were aiming for their third title in-a-row and led 11-8 at half-time, thanks to a Conor Murphy try and two penalties from Robert Butler.

The ‘Jes’ went 5-0 down when Sligo’s inside centre Peter Laffey broke through for an eleventh minute try, taking advantage of a skip pass to raid down the left and get over in the corner.

But flanker Murphy replied with a try of his own, dotting down after an Aaron Conneely-claimed lineout, and Butler kicked the Galway side in front, sandwiching a penalty kick at the other end from Sligo out-half Pat Hughes.

Considering Sligo had both winger Shane Creamer and full-back Scott Oates sin-binned in the first half, they had done well to stay in touch and their back row of Aaron Spring, skipper Tom Callaghan and the strong-running Danny Qualter.

The Jes back row trio of Murphy, Conneely and the hard-hitting Rory Cunningham had their moments, and the game was on a knife edge until Oates took his man on the outside and sprinted clear for the right corner to touch down and take Sligo ahead, five minutes into the second half.

It took some excellent defending from Conneely and full-back Nils Murphy to repel the now rampant Grammar side, who edged further ahead courtesy of a penalty and a well-taken 35-metre drop goal from Hughes.

With Sligo’s impressive scrum surviving a yellow card for Spring, the victors ended the Jes’ brave fight when Butler forced a turnover and brilliantly ran from his own 22 to score a fittingly memorable final try, with Hughes adding the conversion.  

SLIGO GRAMMAR SCHOOL: S Oates; S Creamer, D Butler, S Butler, P Laffey; P Hughes, O van der Grijn; T Ferrari, G McConnell, J Gill, J Clarke, E O’Donnell, A Spring, T Callaghan, D Qualter.

Replacement used: J Healy for Creamer, 46 mins.

COLAISTE IOGNAID: N Murphy; J Dooley, F Bourne, B Dixon, C Divilly; R Butler, D O’Meara; B Madden, R Murray, C Qualter, J Healy, J O’Donnell, C Murphy, A Conneely, R Cunningham.

Referee: David Connolly (Connacht)



Calasanctius Oranmore: Tries: Paul O’Donnell 2, Tom Huxford; Con: Darren Hennessy 
Rice College Westport: Try: Ernan Geraghty

First-time finalists Rice College’s hopes were dashed at the Sportsground as Calasanctius College Oranmore secured the Connacht Schools Junior Cup for the second successive year.

Flanker Paul O’Donnell touched down twice to help the Galway school, who lifted the trophy for the first time twelve months ago, to a deserved win.

That experience and the momentum built from 3-0 wins over Sligo Grammar and Summerhill College Sligo helped Oranmore settle quickly and O’Donnell grabbed his first try after just three minutes.

The blindside showed his power by fending off several tacklers on the way to the whitewash. Prop Tom Huxford, who was part of an excellent front row effort, added a second try for Oranmore on the quarter hour, following a well-controlled maul from a close-in lineout.

Rice College – only the second Mayo school to compete in the final after St. Muredach’s, Ballina did so in 1997 – raised their game after those early setbacks.

They closed the gap with an opportunist try from scrum half Ernan Geraghty in the left corner, after he took a quick tap in the Oranmore 22.

However, O’Donnell scored his second try, which Darren Hennessy converted, shortly before half-time and Oranmore were able to control a scoreless second half, despite some eye-catching breaks from Rice College full-back Keelan Deever and winger Ruairi Keating.

CALASANCTIUS COLLEGE: D Hennessy; E Stenson, D Moran, P Burke, P Griffin; K Finneran, J Hamilton; T Huxford, J Lardner, D McArdle, L Keaveney, S O’Brien, P O’Donnell, P Hackett, D O’Brien.

Replacements used: G Burke for Keaveney (45 mins), C Hansbury for Lardner, L Folan for Huxford (both 52).

RICE COLLEGE: K Dever; R Ludden, B Mullen, D Corcoran, R Keating; S Tobin, E Geraghty; T Geraghty, R Feehan, C Groden, M Sammon, M O’Grady, A McAleer, M Brady, C McNally.

Replacements used: A Carroll for Ludden, E Dunning for Sammon (both 42 mins), C Nolan for O’Grady (51).

Referee: Karol Collins (Connacht)