Dundalk Grammar completed a sensational season by adding the Leinster Schools Duff Cup to the Development Cup with an impressive win over battling Scoil Chonglais at Donnybrook on Wednesday.

There was no settling in period as Scoil Chonglais came like a train from the maul, wide out and through the middle as centre Tadgh O’Toole powered forward only for prop Jonathan Johnson to rip the ball away in the tackle. 

It didn’t end there as fly-half Dillon O’Toole and centre O’Toole worked a nice loop move, full-back Jordan Dens countered with authority from Flyn Kiernan’s clearance and centre Pauric McMahon refused to go to ground.

It appeared to be a case of Dundalk weathering the early storm blowing up in front of them.

Leinster Schools Duff Cup Final

It didn’t work out that way as The Grammar raided down the left and moved the ball right into the hands of Kiernan, whose power was too much for the defence.

The full-back was calm enough to convert from the right for a 7-0 lead in the 12th minute.  

The aggression of O’Toole on the ball and the energy of Deans from the back were sources of encouragement for the boys from Baltinglass.

The footwork of Kiernan and a deft kick with the outside of his right foot forced an attacking lineout.

Leinster Schools Duff Cup Final

Flanker Harry O’Neill came hard off the tail. There was space to the right. Dundalk could not get there quick enough. They went back left where fly-half Jack Connolly almost cracked the code to SC’s defence.

Chonglias centre McMahon looked to have defused the danger when he intercepted near his line. The attempted clearance was blocked and grounded by number eight Andrew Cox for 12-0 in the 17th minute.  

Scoil looked at their best when they got direct through flankers Senan Molloy and Alan Doyle for O’Toole to cut back inside and go close to a significant response.

They couldn’t quite manage it before the half-time whistle, but they came out renewed with purpose from prop Diamantino Marcu’s surge to go through ten phases of punchy rugby for wing Alan Barrett to nail three points in the 34th minute.

Leinster Schools Duff Cup Final

The resilient Marcu came again right from the restart before the ball was nudged forward for a scrum.

This was ruthlessly exploited when Dundalk shifted the ball left for centre Max McGloin to hare away from the cover for a try to make it 17-3 in the 36th minute.         

A late tackle on left wing Barrett handed Scoil an attacking lineout. It was taken in by lock Sean Doody, flanker Doyle denied a drive to glory by a forward pass. 

The Wicklow boys kept applying the pressure for the reward of a five-metre scrum. The chance slipped from their grasp, however, Kiernan eventually alleviating the pressure with a fine dispatch to touch.

Leinster Schools Duff Cup Final

Once again, Scoil forced a position they had to turn into points. Cox tore up the script by pinching a lineout and David Murdock took play up to halfway.

From there, Kiernan spotted the value in poking the ball forward into the wind and intermittent rain.

When the never-say-die O’Toole did what he could to take Scoil forward, O’Neill and Cox were there to pick his pocket.

They went for the lineout, instead of the points, and Cox was the main beneficiary for a try in the 54th minute.

True to form, SC never wavered in their commitment, despite losing captain O’Toole.

They took the game to Dundalk without the necessary tools to break them down.

Leinster Schools Duff Cup Final

At Donnybrook – Dundalk Grammar 22 (A Cox 2 tries; F Kiernan try, con; M McGloin try); Scoil Chonglais 3 (A Barrett pen).

Dundalk: Flyn Kiernan; Thomas Clarke, David Murdock, Max McGloin, Dillon Dunne; Jack Connolly (capt), Gerald Boylan; Tobi Akinseloyin, Eugene McEntaggart, Jonathan Johnson, David Nwambu, Jake Moran, Luke McSherry, Harry O’Neill, Andrew Cox.
Replacements: Cathal Quinn for O’Neill 54 mins; Charlie Murdock for McSherry, Darragh McCoy for Clarke both 56 mins.

Scoil Chonglais: Jordan Deans; Aaron Byrne, Pauric McMahon, Tadgh O’Toole (capt), Alan Barrett; Dillon O’Toole, Johnny Keogh; Jason Steed, Jason Sinnott, Diamantino Marcu,  William Rogers, Sean Doody, Senan Molloy, Alan Doyle, Michael Clynch. 

Replacements: Adam O’Brien for Steed, Jack Hanlon for Deans both 54 mins; Kyle Byrne for O’Toole 55 mins; Tadgh McCarthy-Griffin for Molloy 57 mins.

Referee: Susan Carty, Leinster Branch.