Thriller in store as Garbally and 'The Jes' bid for Connacht glory
Published 16/03/2016 | 02:30
For the first time since 2002, two of the traditional giants of the competition will go head-to-head in the Top Oil Connacht Schools Senior Cup final when St Joseph's College Garbally take on Colaiste Iognaid at the Sportsground (2.0).
The Ballinasloe school are the defending champions and have lifted the trophy 45 times, while 'The Jes' have been the most successful since the turn of the Millennium with six wins from the seven finals reached in that time.
'The Jes' booked their place in the final for the first time since 2011 when two second-half penalties from out-half Morgan Codyre gave them victory over Marist Athlone in the first of the semi-finals.
The second semi-final proved a game of two halves, with Garbally hitting the ground running and registering 16 unanswered first half points. Sligo Grammar threw caution to the wind in the second and clawed back the lead to six but the defending champions got through in the end on a 16-10 scoreline.
Having lost out in the Connacht Senior League to Grammar by a single point, revenge was sweet for captain Michael O'Neill, Frank Hopkins and their team-mates.
Based on League placings, the holders will start as favourites, but when Garbally and 'The Jes' clash on the biggest stage the form book tends to go out the window.
Expect today's showdown to be little different, with a hesitant nod in the Ballinasloe direction.
St Joseph's Garbally - B Horkan, E Galvin, C O'Brien, J Devine, B McKenna; F Hopkins, C Reilly; J Alova, E Costello, C Coffey; C Harewood, S Grenham; M Abdallah, C Tumulty, M O'Neill (captain).
Colaiste Iognaid - D Codyre; C McCabe, R Hunt, J Hill, D Molloy; M Codyre (Captain), J Byrne; A Corbett, C Fallon, G Keane; R Gorey, A Mannion; C Parson, F Durkin, J Gallagher.
REFEREE - G Sheridan