Coláiste Iognáid secure 14th Connacht Senior Schools Cup title
The Jes have too much nouse for plucky Summerhill College at the Sportgsround
Prop Gary Keane scored Coláiste Iognáid’s first try in their Connacht Schools Cup final win over Summerhill College. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Coláiste Iognáid 13 Summerhill College 7
Holders Colaiste Iognaid retained the Top Oil Connacht Senior Cups School with a dominant display over newcomers Summerhill College at the Sportsground on Wednesday.
In a novel pairing, the Jes claimed their third title this decade against their Sligo opponents who only made the breakthrough for the first time two seasons ago.
On that occasion they lost to Garbally College, but their progress in the competition has been one of the more noteworthy developments in Connacht schools rugby, recently producing Ireland youngsters such as Cillian Gallagher, Conan O’Donnell and Stephen Kerins.
But on Wednesday it was step too far against a confident Jes outfit, whose superior execution and experience ensured they claimed their 14th title. Influential No 8 Hugh Keaveney, a frequent provider from the base of ruck, ensured his outside players, and in particular centres Tomas Ford Cillian McCabe, were on the front foot, producing several clean line-breaks.
Summerhill, however, were not there to make up the numbers, and although they lacked the clinical finishing prowess, they can take heart from restricting the favourites to single try, and scoring a late effort through second row Caoileann Carty.
In a dominant opening quarter, captain and last year’s outhalf Diarmuid Codyre sent two penalties wide before striking his third through the uprights to put the Galway school in front by 3-0 after 28 minutes.
It was a deserved lead for their domination and there were early signs their pace and firepower could cause Summerhull problems, with Codyre scything through the field before an attempted offload broke down.
Summerhill’s concession of a host of penalties did not help their cause, nor the sinbinning of centre Ross Hickey, and eventually Jes prop Gary Keane spotted a gap 20 metres out, sidestepped the cover, and cantered through the porous cover to touch down out wide, with Codyre adding the conversion for a 10-0 lead at the break.
Not helped by several poor kicks from hand, Summerhill did well to stymie the Jes for long periods. Codyre added a 58th minute penalty to give his side a 13-0 lead, and it was not until the last play that Summerhill were rewarded for their efforts which outhalf Brian Cox converted.
Yellow Cards: Summerhill, R Hickey (28).
Coláiste Iognáid: A Cunningham; C Briscoe, T Forde, C McCabe, D Molloy; D Codyre (C), E Kenny; A Corbett, C Fallon, G Keane; D O’Connor, A Mannion; J Gallagher, C McGuinness, H Keaveney. Replacements: C Parsons for Mannion, S Monaghan for Keane and G Kenny for McCabe (both 51), C Anthony for McGuinness (57), T Power for O’Connor and R Durkin for Kenny (both 61), M Higgins for Gallagher and R O’Flynn for Briscoe (63m).
Summerhill College: H Kisby; C Murray, K Connell, R Hickey, R Solano; B Cox, B Cunningham; M Keegan, V Reynolds, C McGovern; C Carty, G Golden; F Doherty, S Wynne, A Cummins (C). Replacements: Y Shalabi for Doherty (43m), T O’Hehir for Murray (42m).
Referee: Jason Cairns.