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Navan Are Crowned All-Ireland Under-19 Champions

Navan Are Crowned All-Ireland Under-19 Champions

Well done to all involved in Navan’s All-Ireland Under-19 Cup final win in Naas last Saturday, as the Meath club’s young guns followed up on their All-Ireland Under-17 success of two years ago.

Underage rugby is consistently strong at Navan RFC, with the club’s young teams regularly competing for trophies at both provincial and national level.

It was a tremendous achievement for Navan’s Under-19s to win the All-Ireland title – and the fact that many of the squad were part of 2012’s All-Ireland U-17 triumph made it even more special.

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In fact Navan followed exactly the same route to All-Ireland glory as they did two years ago. Back then, they beat Banbridge at the semi-final stage and followed up with a win over Bruff in final.

This year’s Navan U-19s also got the better of Banbridge in their semi-final clash – winning 34-16 when the sides met last month – and on Saturday they emerged as 5-0 winners over Bruff in a tightly-contested final.

The County Meath youngsters were on the front foot for much of the game at Naas RFC, with their pack particularly effective on at set piece time and in the loose.

But they had to rely on some gritty defence in the end as Bruff came back strongly at them in the closing stages, exerting all the late pressure in a gripping encounter.

Navan’s all-important try came just before half-time. Prop Shane Faulkner took a pass from scrum half Cillian Farrell to cross the whitewash.

The five points were well merited given Navan’s control of proceedings up to that point, despite the best efforts of Bruff’s resolute defence.

The conversion attempt was missed by Navan out-half Graham Garland, while his opposite number Paul Downes was off target from a close-in penalty in the second half.

In a tense conclusion, it took a backs to the wall effort to clinch the victory with Faulkner’s fellow prop Ciaran Stafford coming up with a crucial intervention as Bruff went close to scoring an elusive levelling try.

Commiserations to Munster champions Bruff who fell just short on the day. They have some fine players and are well-coached. Their impressive full-back Brian Fanning – a try-scoring winger against Italy in February – will play for the Ireland Under-18 Clubs team in a Paris tournament next week.

Navan, whose captains Sean Healy and Harry Hester received the cup afterwards, know what it is like to lose an All-Ireland U-19 final themselves. They were beaten by Bandon at this stage twelve months ago.

But this season they have shown an enviable ability to win tight games. Prior to claiming All-Ireland silverware, a late Garland penalty guided them to a 9-6 win over Ardee/Dundalk in last month’s Leinster Premier League final.

Related Links –

Navan RFC

Bruff RFC