Butler puts boot into Garbally
Champions Colaiste Iognaid -- bidding this year to complete a three-in-a-row for the first time -- advanced to the semi-finals of the Connacht Schools Senior Cup thanks to three penalties from out-half Robert Butler.
The Galway city school, winners of the competition four times in the past five years, held off a stern challenge from the most successful school in Connacht to take another step towards retaining their title.
But they did not have it all their own way in a hard-fought encounter at Ballinasloe yesterday and the outcome could have been different had Garbally managed to convert their chances in the opening half.
The Jes held a 3-0 lead at the break thanks to Butler's first penalty following sustained pressure from the Ballinasloe school.
Garbally were then forced to endure a period of pressure early in the second half as Irish U-19 international Rory Cunningham twice breached the try-line only for last-gasp tackles from replacement Conal Gormley to deny the No 8 on both occasions.
Thirteen minutes into the second half, Butler converted another penalty to give the Jes a 6-0 advantage and he extended the lead with his third penalty.
But Garbally hit back and a fine penalty from the left by Ross Keller kept Garbally within a converted try, but the defending champions held on for victory.
Colaiste Iognaid -- N Murphy; J Dooley, F Bourne, B Dixon, C Divilly; R Butler, D O'Meara; B Madden, R Murray, C Qualter; J Healy, J O'Donnell; C Murphy, A Conneely, R Cunningham.
Garbally College -- R Keller; C Loughrey, D Burke (C Gormley 24), J Claffey, C Kelly (E Kelly 46); C Johnston, D Murray; T Murphy, D Freeman, A Loughrey; J Brooks, M Coughlan; K O'Neill, P Hickie, D Tierney.
Ref -- Emmett Dormer.
- Connacht coach Michael Bradley has been boosted by the availability of scrum-half Frank Murphy for Sunday's Magners League clash against the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium. The experienced scrum-half was doubtful with a calf injury but looks set to play. There are three scrum-halves in the 25-man squad but there are doubts surrounding Kieran Campbell (shoulder injury).