Clongowes deny Fintan's
Clongowes 31 St Fintan's HS 29
Matthew Martin's late converted try ensured that Clongowes avoided a major upset and denied St Fintan's a famous victory in what was their first ever Senior Cup game.
It was a thrilling encounter from beginning to end when 14-man Fintan's had the chance to snatch the win but Frankie O'Dea's penalty fell agonisingly short. That was the last kick of a pulsating contest that had seen the underdogs race into a 17-3 half-time lead.
Darragh Kelly got Fintan's off to an ideal start with a try after 12 minutes but his afternoon was spoiled when he was shown a second yellow card late on with his side 29-24 in front.
Ben O'Shea's penalty cut the lead but two further first-half tries from Conor Mahon and Simon Feeney, one of which was converted by O'Dea, left the school from Sutton 14 points to the good at the break.
Jack Gilheany's try reignited Clongowes' challenge two minutes after the restart. O'Shea added the extras but Fintan's hit back when the outstanding Jack Aungier blocked down a kick before showing great footballing skills to score. Remember the name.
That left Fintan's 22-10 in front but Kelly was then shown a yellow card for tackling a player in the air. Clongowes made their numerical advantage count when skipper Sean McCohan powered over for a converted try.
Thomas Monaghan's 55th-minute try that O'Shea again converted put the Kildare school in front for the first time but Fintan's refused to lie down. James McCourt, who was impressive throughout, unlocked the Clongowes defence with his quick feet and when O'Dea added the extras, they were 10 minutes away from a historic victory.
But Kelly was shown a second yellow card, this time for an offside infringement, and Clongowes again punished the indiscipline when Martin crossed and O'Shea converted.
It looked like there may have been a knock-on in the build-up to Martin's try but the drama wasn't finished there as O'Dea's last-gasp penalty fell just short and left Fintan's wondering what might have been.
Clongowes Wood College - J Gilheany; R Lemess, T O'Brien (J Carroll 62), B O'Shea, J Maher; T Monaghan, C Daly (C Gallen 62); D Slattery (J Timmins 51), D Sheehan, R Hannon; P Celebi, D Beggs; A Ryan, S Ojejinmi (M Martin 10), S McCrohan (capt).
St Fintan's High School - N Henderson (D Callan 5); G Bodor, D Kelly, F O'Dea, D Achimugu (C Moore 36); J McCourt, S Cribbin (capt); A Naser, C Mahon (M Fitzpatrick 40), J Aungier; H Harrison, S Stokes; S Feeney (J Brewer 51-55), C Hynes (J Brewer 59), D Adamson.
Ref - A Cole (Leinster Branch)