Fr Godfrey Cup Final Preview: Dundalk v Gorey
March 1, 2016 12:00 am client
Dundalk Grammar must find it difficult to keep up with their success this season.
It even drew Ireland rugby legends Stephen Ferris and Alan Quinlan to the school to parade the Six Nations trophy recently in a two-hour visit that included photo opportunities and a Questions & Answers session.
The Grammar started out the year in the Development Cup and were able to pocket that by narrowly beating St Joseph’s from Drogheda 11-10 in the final before Christmas in what was a sign of god things to come.
Since then, they have qualified for the Duff Cup and Fr Godfrey Cup finals as well as playing in the first round of the Junior Cup for the first time ever.
“It has been an unprecedented year in the rugby history of the school,” said Rugby Gamesmaster Alan Norton.
“There is a good batch of players that play for Ardee, Boyne and Dundalk rugby clubs. We played in the Duff Cup in 2007 when we last won the Junior Development Cup.”
That level of achievement has been blown out of the water just off ‘The Wee County’ by Dundalk’s participation in all four Junior Cup competitions, surely a record.
“There has been a great buzz in the school even prior to the Development Cup. Each week as we went through the various rounds of the various competitions, it has built and built,” said Norton.
“There are lots of people looking at coming to the matches. The schools management has been very good to us, affording the opportunity to bring two busloads of supporters to each of the Dublin matches.”
In fact, Dundalk have already qualified for the Duff final which will take place soon against either Scoil Chonglais from Baltinglass or Gorey Community School.
That’s right. The same two schools could well meet in two different finals in what is proof positive of how the gospel of Leinster rugby is spreading well beyond the pale.
For the moment, Dundalk only have eyes for Gorey and they know they will have to be at their best to claim a second trophy.
“We know they have a very good back row at six, seven and eight and use the maul very well,” said Norton.
The Grammar were undone at ruck and maul against CBC Monkstown in their 20-0 defeat in the Junior Cup first round.
“We’ve been looking at working on our mauling and rucking. We were a wee bit untidy in those areas against CBC Monkstown. We were slow to the breakdown and we have been working on that,” he said.
Gorey came much closer to getting their way in the Junior Cup, eventually losing out 25-15 to Newbridge.
Their size and strength was a problem for the Kildare school and they will look to dominate the physical exchanges.
They have been hit with the loss of Michael Kennedy, due to injury, and his centre slot will be filled by either Mark Kehoe or Alex Murphy.
Like Dundalk, Gorey have been rolling this season as they prepare for this final, knowing they have to get over Scoil Chongalis to make another.
Unlike Dundalk, there has been no silverware yet to reward a season that did not get off to the best start.
“We’ve played a loft of matches, but we haven’t won a medal yet,” said Gorey coach Frank Duke.
“It is an evenly balanced team from a small pool of players. They seem to play for each other. It is their team spirit that shines through more than anything else really to get them as far as this.
“Having started in the equivalent of Division Three (Duff Cup), we didn’t expect to make the final of Division Two (Fr Godfrey). It is a massive bonus for the boys.
“We have come a long way from September when we were not able to get enough players on the bus to field a team when we were due to go to Scoil Chonglais for a South East League match.
“We look forward to the challenge Dundalk will present. We know they are very good. It is true we could be playing the same teams in two finals.
“I wouldn’t take it for granted. I’m sure Scoil Chonglais will have something to say about that. It is a possibility which is quite strange.”
Strange but true. And wonderful.
The Bank of Ireland Fr. Godfrey Junior Cup Final will take place at 1pm in Donnybrook 1st March.
Dundalk (Possible): Flyn Kieran; Thomas Clarke, David Murdock, Max McGloin, Dillon Dunne; Jack Connolly (capt), Gerald Boylan; Tobi Akinseloyin, Zac Coan, Peter Kerley, David Nwambu, Jake Moran, Luke McSharry, Andrew Cox, Daniel Molloy.
Gorey (Possible): Cian Kenny; Alvaro Onieva, AN Other, Greg Bolger, Flynn Donnelly; Mark Boyle, Cormac Walsh; Cian Sullivan, Thomas Doyle, Pablo Onieva, Martin O’Loughlin, Nacho Farina, Adam Simpson, Sean Wafer, Jack Ryan.
PATHS TO THE FINAL:
DUNDALK: First round: bt Scoil Chonglais 17-10; Quarter-final: bt Templeogue 27-10; Semi-final: bt King’s Hospital 7-0.
GOREY CS: First round: Bye; Quarter-final: bt CBS Naas 36-0; Semi-final: bt High School 29-13.