In contrasting conditions to the same time last week, St Mel’s, Longford (coached by Longford RFC CCRO Steve Coy Junior), and Patrician Secondary School, Newbridge, took to the Donnybrook pitch for the Anne McInerney Cup final shortly after a thrilling Senior Development Shield final had just finished with DLS Bagenalstown pipping another Longford school, Moyne CS, 30-24.
Patricians had the early territory only to be turned over as they pushed hard for the opening score. A period of St Mel’s pressure led to the first try after a great break by the man of the match, Paddy Duggan. Liam Harte spotted a gap and reached for the line to give Mel’s a 5-0 lead.
The game ebbed and flowed with some good rugby from both sides matched by some great defence with Patricians captain Kevin Commane leading by example.
St Mel’s had their second when David Connolly did brilliantly to block Oisin Sherlock’s clearance. The ball ended up in the grateful hands of scrum-half Jack Mahon for another unconverted try, giving Mel’s a 10-0 half-time lead.
The half-time introduction of Patricians’ replacement number 8 Killian O’Brien (hungry for work after a lengthy injury lay off) seemed to lift the squad and it wasn’t long until they had their first score. Some nice hands from tighthead prop Cameron English put wing Michael Somers in for his first try on 40 mins, with Sherlock converting. Game on at 10-7.
However, the St Mel’s pack, in particular the influential Ronan McCormack, got their side straight back into Patricians territory. A lovely pass from Duggan to the speedy and evasive Gerard Flynn led to a kick chase with Flynn showing great pace down the wing to touch down for his side’s third unconverted try of the game.
It wasn’t long until Flynn was celebrating his second try of the game when a loose Patricians offload near halfway lead to the ball popping up nicely for him to run clear of the defence and touch down for his side’s fourth.
Patricians never gave up and battled hard right until the end of the game. Some nice interplay led to Somers getting in for his second try of the match on 66 minutes but despite their best efforts, the St Mel’s defence held firm until the end.
The trophy was presented by Anne McInerney’s daughter Leah and two grandchildren to cap off a great schools finals day at Donnybrook.
At Donnybrook – St Mel’s, Longford 22 (G Flynn two tries, L Harte, J Mahon try each) Patrician Secondary School, Newbridge 12 (M Somers two tries; O Sherlock one con)