St Colmcilles defeated Salesians College Celbridge to win the South Dublin Cup for the 2nd time in two years…

The 2014 South Dublin Cup finals took place last weekend at St Mary’s College RFC, Templeville road. Early morning rain cleared up and the conditions were dry with a strong wind blowing across the main pitch. The junior section would be contested by Salesians College and local school St Mac Dara’s and the senior section between again Salesians College and Knocklyon’s St Colmcilles.

The junior match proved to be a one sided affair in the end with Mac Dara’s backline proving to have too much pace for Salesians. Centre William Kelly and wing Conor Ryan scored 5 tries between them in a final score line of 36-10 to the Templeogue school. This capped a memorable year for the school who have really grown in rugby terms. The school have enjoyed regular visits from Leinster Rugby staff as well as an amazing Q & A with Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. The school are fielding at junior, senior and girls levels which is a superb achievement for the school’s coaching team headed by Shane Culleton and co. Both squads are young with a lot of second years so it bodes well for future tournaments and the long hours on the training pitch are paying off for both schools. Congratulations to St Mac Dara’s on a fantastic performance and they were full value for their win, also hard luck to Salesians on a brave display with a very young, talented squad.

The senior showcase was a very tight and well contested match with St Colmcilles proving just too strong in the end prevailing 26-19. Colmcilles were in front the entire match but a determined Salesians outfit never gave in and scored some fabulous tries of their own. In a whirlwind start, Colmcilles stole a lineout just inside Salesians half through Darragh Maguire who released fellow backrower David Mahon to finish a well executed score right of the posts. After Colmcilles number 13 Dylan Reddy left the field of play with a suspected ankle injury it was his school who continued to dominate field position but despite this the score remained 5 nil to Colmcilles at the half time break. The captains of both schools (Darragh Gogan, St Colmcilles & Ben Doyle, Salesians College) were surely happy with the level of commitment from their teams with some huge tackles going in during the first period.

The second half was much of the same and an early try through Dylan Muller after a lovely subtle offload by big number 6 David Mahon again brought the score to 10-0 and captain Gogan converting for 12-0. It was one way traffic at this stage and with Colmcilles marching in to the Salesians ’22 it looked ominous. However, a brilliant turnover by scrumhalf Sean O Sullivan brought reprieve for Salesians and together with three fabulous poaches from Salesians number 6 Wilson it eased the pressure. This turned the tide and after a succession of penalties, a crucial try was scored in the 46th minute for Salesians left of the posts. Try converted by Salesians 10 Maylo O Connor – score 12-7.

4 minutes later a sucker punch try was scored by Colmcilles by impressive openside Mark Dolan and converted by Sam Boden 19-7 to Colmcilles. In a busy period of the game Salesians hit back through excellent build up play by outhalf Maylo O Connor and number 8 Tom Ashe culminating in a terrific finish for wing Nathan O Connor and a lovely struck conversion -19-14 to Colmcilles now. No rest for either team as Colmcilles immediately attacked to restore their two score advantage only for Salesians number 13 Neil Aspell to intervene with a sublime try saving tackle.

However the pressure told in the end and on 60 minutes St Colmcilles replacement Thomas O Mahony crashed over from close range and with the conversion bring the score to 26-14. Salesians rallied late on and with a team who are all returning next year (with the exception of 4 6th years) finished strongly with great footwork and finish from number 10 Maylo O Connor. Final score 16-19. It is only fair that we comment on the performance of a fantastic Colmcilles who through the outstanding performance of talismanic number 8 Darragh Maguire (and his back row colleagues) proved a constant threat displayed through his 80 metre break from a scrum in his own ’22.

All in all it was a superb advertisement for the development of rugby within the area and yet another avenue for players who ordinarily may not have experienced rugby. The standard is improving year on year and the ability of some players is scary, especially considering some do not currently play club rugby. This would not be possible without the efforts of all schools and coaches/teachers who put in huge time and effort to provide a rugby opportunity for their pupils. Additionally a big thank you to Leinster Rugby referees and Marie Hammond of St Mary’s College RFC for the hospitality and as usual superb facilities.