Donnybrook was the venue this week for the finals day of the Dublin City Cup in both the Under-15 and Under-17 competition.

With Donnybrook Stadium taking centre stage over the last number of weeks with the Leinster Schools Cup tournaments and the Ireland Under-20 6 Nations match against England, it was time for students of non-rugby playing schools within the DCC region to step on to the newly developed surfaces.
The action kicked off on the main pitch with the final of the U15 competition which saw St. Kevin’s, Ballygall Road take on St. David’s, Artane. St. Kevin’s may have gone into the match as slight underdogs but right from the off they showed great commitment and determination to show their northside counterparts they meant business.

Dominating the exchanges over the opening quarter, their pressure soon turned to points with a penalty to take the lead 3-0. As the first half progressed St. David’s slowly found their rhythm and began to dominate the physical battle but the bravery of the Kevin’s players in the tackle rebuffed everything that was thrown at them and the half finished with the just the one score to show from both teams.

The second half started with Kevin’s putting pressure on the David’s line. Their good work in attack paid off and Kevin’s extended their lead with another successful penalty. Their advantage doubled, Kevin’s now led 6-0.

The game moved into the final quarter with little between the teams. David’s were starting to get a foothold in the Kevin’s 22 and eventually crossed the line for the game’s first try. An unsuccessful conversion attempt left them trailing 6-5 with everything still to play for, however it was now the boys from Artane that were in the driving seat.

With two minutes left on the clock the Kevin’s team were throwing bodies on the line to prevent another David’s score. Absorbing constant pressure they eventually succumbed, conceding a penalty on the 22.

Turning down an opportunity to take the three points, which would have put them ahead, they opted for a quick tap which caught the defence off guard, a brave decision which was duly rewarded by a second St. David’s try.

They now led 10-6 with the final minute now on the clock. St. Kevin’s kicked off and re-gathered possession, launching one final attack, but St. David’s managed to close the game out forcing their opposition into touch.

A game played in great spirit by both sides and one which neither team deserved to lose, but in the end the tries proved the difference and St. David’s were presented with the trophy in the shadow of the Donnybrook stand.
The appetite was certainly whetted after an exhilarating curtain raiser to the U17 final which saw the older St. David’s, Artane team take on St. Vincent’s of Glasnevin, a school only introduced to the game just three years ago.

The Artane boys again went into this match as favourites and certainly showed as much by racing into a 14-point lead in the opening 10 minutes.

One of the two tries saw the St. David’s fullback race the length of the pitch sidestepping and swerving that would have made a certain Leinster and Ireland fifteen take notice.

With David’s powering their way into an early lead, the crowd, which had now swelled with the players and supporters of the first game staying on, could only see one way traffic and feared the worst for a St. Vincent’s team that was appearing in the final for the first time.

The remaining 20 minutes of the first half, though, would see St. Vincent’s work their way back into the game and dominate. They camped in the David’s half and set about their comeback into this final. After consistent pressure, the David’s defence soon started to show signs of crumbling and had the referee warning them about persistent infringements that were yielding penalty after penalty. Turning down numerous opportunities to take a shot at goal, Vincent’s pressure eventually saw the man in the middle reach for his yellow card and St. David’s were down to fourteen.

Another tap penalty and the line was breached, the try converted and there was now just 7 between them as time ran out in the first half.

Vincent’s started where they left off in the first half and worked their way up to the David’s line once again.

They ably absorbed the pressure, however, and scored their third try of the game, taking the wind out of the St. Vincent’s sails. Three more quickfire tries from David’s put the game beyond doubt and they were crowned 41-7 winners come the final whistle.
In presenting the trophy, Billy Phelan, Leinster Rugby Community Rugby Officer, paid tribute to all the teams in action on the day, especially commenting on the skill, determination and commitment from everyone that took to the field on the day along with the teachers and coaches of the teams. He also thanked the involvement of the sports department in Dublin City Council who were represented on the day by Aideen O’Connor and Jason Brady. A special mention also went out to St. Pauls CBS, Brunswick St. who played on the day in only their third ever rugby match against St. Kevin’s in a third/fourth U17 playoff match on the second pitch. All in all the day proved a massive success and a fitting end to a competition which started in early December and was played in fantastic spirit throughout.
If any school within the Dublin City Council region has not played rugby before and wishes to avail of some rugby programmes and/or enter the competition next season they can contact either of the DCC Leinster Rugby CROs, Colm Finnegan (North Side) on 087-7692257 and or Billy Phelan (South Side) on 086-8688314 and