Last weekend saw a very promising Barnhall side secure the Under-19 Leinster Schools/Youth Cup title for the third time in four years by defeating Clontarf 24-17.
Runners-up in 2009 with a narrow defeat to De La Salle Palmerston, and winners in 2007 and 2008, being crowned champions once more this year was great news for the Kildare club with big plans for their future.
Next season brings a progressive move for the club as it formalises its relationship with the National University of Ireland Maynooth to become NUIM Barnhall RFC.
Tight games in the quarter-final against DLSP and a tense close semi-final against Guinness prepared the Barnhall Under-19s for the massive task of overcoming Clontarf in the final.
Things did not look promising when the north Dublin side went 17-3 up after 25 minutes. But Barnhall dug deep and were determined in their task.
A try before half-time from captain Darren Smith and two superb individual tries from influential number 8 Daire Heneghan put Barnhall in the driving seat and once they were in the lead, their defence was both ferocious and resolute until the final whistle.
Barnhall have now lifted this trophy a staggering eight times in 20 years. Congratulations to all involved in the club’s latest trophy win.
In particularly good form for Barnhall were scrum half Niall Kernan and centre Peter Carr, but it was the graft and guile of the pack that won the day with an outstanding performance from try-scoring back rower Heneghan.
Speaking afterwards, Barnhall coach John Taylor said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to coach some good sides over the years in Barnhall and we’ve won a few cups, but this was without doubt the hardest fought victory we’ve had – a true cup final, with all the drama!”
BARNHALL Under-19 Squad: Mick Wade, Tom McGuirk, Darren Smith (capt), Barry Doran, Joey Hynes, Conor Cribben, Stephen Carroll, Colin O’Reilly, Daire Heneghan, Dewi Harrison, Emmett Quinn, Conor O’Melia, Niall Kernan, Colm Finegan, Peter Carr, Luke Bray, Neal Harrison, Sean O’Sullivan, Andy Birchall, Conor O’Sullivan, Joe Taylor, Stephen Dwyer, Sean Guiney.
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