Clongowes Wood strike late to sink valiant St Fintan’s

Frankie O’Dea misses penalty at the death as underdogs cruelly edged out at Donnybrook

St Fintan’s Simon Feeney after his side’s agonising defeat to Clongowes Wood. Photograph: Inpho/Donall Farmer

St Fintan’s Simon Feeney after his side’s agonising defeat to Clongowes Wood. Photograph: Inpho/Donall Farmer

 

Clongowes Wood College 31 St Fintan’s, Sutton 29

You would need to house a heart of stone not to feel a great deal of sympathy for St Fintan’s as they fell to a heart-breaking defeat by Clongowes Wood in the Leinster Senior Cup first round at Donnybrook on Tuesday.

The new kids on the block played the better rugby for long periods, won the try-count 5-4 and were ultimately denied by centre Frankie O’Dea’s last play penalty which dropped a metre short of a glorious goal.

The Sutton school moved impressively into a 17-3 lead at the interval.

They got there by the grace of productive rugby, led by their outstanding prospect Jack Aungier, surely a certainty for the Leinster Academy, and Ireland schools centre Darragh Kelly.

Indeed, Kelly, hooker Conor Mahon and flanker Simon Feeney took three of many chances to forge an advantage against a single penalty from Clongwes centre Ben O’Shea.

The Clane school looked out of tune and out of their depth, if anything, as they played without their trademark intensity and organisation.

That soon changed when loose-head Dan Sheehan led a revival, full-back Jack Gilheany going over and O’Shea converting.

This prompted a series of repostes, Aungier’s block down, pace and control of a bobbling ball simply astounding for their fourth try.

They quickly lost centre Kelly to the bin and Clongowes captain Sean McCrohan surged to the posts for O’Shea to make it a five-point game.

Clongowes fly-half Thomas Monaghan appeared to have swung the pendulum with his scything try, converted by O’Shea to take the lead for the first time in the 55th minute.

St Fintan’s fly-half McCourt’s countered with fine balance and speed for O’Dea’s extras to make it 29-24 in the 56th minute.

Then, replacement Matthew Martin, held up over the line, came again to plunge over at the posts for O’Shea to snatch a two-

point lead preserved when O’Dea’s gallant strike didn’t have the legs to make its’ target.

Scorers: Clongowes - M Martin, T Monaghan, S McCrohan, J Gilheany try each; B O’Shea pen, 4 cons; St Fintan’s - S Feeney, D Kelly, C Mahon, J Aungier, J McCourt try each; F O’Dea 2 cons

St Fintan’s: N Henderson; G Bodor, D Kelly, F O’Dea, D Achimugu; J McCourt, S Cribbin (capt); A Naser, C Mahon, J Aungier, H Harrison, C Stokes, S Feeney, C Hynes, D Adamson. Replacements: D Callan for Henderson 6 mins; C Moore for Achimugu 36 mins; M Fitzpatrick for Mahon 40 mins; J Brewer for Feeney 50 mins - temp; Brewer for Hynes 60 mins.

Clongowes: J Gilheany; R Lemess, T O’Brien, B O’Shea, J Maher; T Monaghan, C Daly; D Slattery, D Sheehan, R Hannon, P Celebi, D Beggs, A Ryan, S Ojejinmi, S McCrohan. Replacements: M Martin for Ojejinmi 10 mins; J Timmins for Slattery 50 mins; C Gallen for Daly, J Carroll for O’Brien both 61 mins.

Referee: A Cole, Leinster Branch.

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