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Rising stars Finian's storm into Duff final


They have come a long, long way in a very short space of time. It was only last year that St Finian's College entered a rugby team into the Development Junior Cup for the first team. They were beaten in the first round. However, coach Barry Coade knew he would have almost the entire squad back again this season. And, boy, have they made their experience count.

St Finian's have made it through to the final of that competition and, on Tuesday, took the giant leap into the Duff Junior Cup final where they will meet St Patrick's Classical School.

"What can I say? We only started playing rugby last year. The boys have been very committed and they have got their reward," said Coade.

Centre Evan Meleady has wreaked havoc in the Development and Duff cups with his slashing running coming up trumps again in the semi-final with a hat-trick of tries that would prove decisive against a well-drilled Skerries.

This is far from a one-boy team, however. His centre partner Ronan Wallace and openside Daragh Conway are quality operators. They had to be to hold out a fast-finishing Skerries, who were energised by flanker Ian McCann's 49th-minute try and the leadership of their captain Andrew Reem.

SCORERS - St Finian's Mullingar: E Meleady 3 tries; R Wallace 2 pens, con. Skerries CC: A Wheeler, I McCann try each; B Mulcahy pen, 2 cons.

St Finian's: B O'Reilly; C Fitzgerald, E Meleady, R Wallace, D Temple; B McNamara, S Kennedy; W Moran, D Raleigh, A Leahy, C Humphries, D Allen, E King, D Conway, A Leahy.

Skerries CC: L Jones; K Joyce, C Frawley, D Lowndes, A Wheeler; B Mulcahy, C McMahon; O Dunne, M Gardiner, C McGuinness, T Mulvaney, J Fitzpatrick, B Jenkinson, I McCann, A Reem.

Referee: J Bolger, IRFU.