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Club Notes

NAAS RFC held a tag rugby Blitz attended by 114 budding young rugby players.

The attendees were representing their Primary schools. Mainly 5th and 6th class students, from Kill, Jonathan Swift Dunlavin, Twomilehouse, Blessington No1, Scoil Bhride Naas and Salins National Schools.

The tournament was broken up into two groups. Group 1 contained Kill, Jonathan Swift and Twomilehouse. Group 2 was Blessington No1, Scoil Bhride Naas and Sallins.

Each team played one another in their group picking up points along the way to qualify for the semi-finals and eventual final. It was a mixed tournament, with five boys and five girls per team.

There were some fantastic individual displays of running rugby by all of the teams and also some flowing passing moves and great team play.

The final was a thrilling rematch of the Group 2 encounter between Sallins and Scoil Bhride Naas. So tightly contested was the final that the sides were even right up to the last play before Sallins took revenge for their group stage defeat edging out Scoil Bhride by 1 score to take home the first annual Naas RFC Schools Tag Rugby Perpetual Cup which was kindly sponsored by Naas RFC.

The day would not have gone ahead without the firm and fair refereeing by Naas RFC 1st Team players Conor Finan and Sam Sutton. Huge thanks to Naas RFC for hosting and sponsoring the event.

- Donal Droney (C.C.R.O., Naas RFC)

p The finals of the All Ireland Under-17 and Under-19 Club Championships take place at Naas RFC this coming Saturday. It promises to be a big day for the four clubs involved.

The All-Ireland Under-17 final, which kicks off at 12.30pm is a Leinster-Munster affair as Navan face Bruff.

The action in the All-Ireland Under-19 final gets under way in Naas at 2.30pm, and features clubs from Munster and Ulster.

Meanwhile, the Michael Dunne Cup (Provincial J4) Final between Naas and Balbriggan will be played in North Kildare RFC (by kind permission) on Saturday, 28th April at 6pm and will undoubtedly be a most competitive game. Please come out and show your support for our J4 team, captained by Shane Roe.

ST PETER APOSTLE, NEILSTOWN

St Peter Apostle, Neilstown were presented with their 6 week 'Play Rugby' programme certificates by CRO SDCC Quintin Byrne. The school has really improved in their skill level from were they started of at the beginning of the 6 week schedule.

The school has continued the programme as part of their P.E. curricular and are hoping to get more classes involved next programme. A Tag blitz is due to be held in April involving the other school in the area; St Bernadette`s Quarryvale.

The school were also presented with their 6 week school programme certificate.

ST CONLETH'S

Last Friday, St Conleth's 1st and 2nd year Students went on a rugby tour to Scotland. Fifty-one students set out at 5.30am on Friday morning. They played two games just outside Glasgow against Hamilton college where they won one and lost one.

The rest of the trip for the students consisted of: Bowling, Tall Ship & River Museum, Science Museum and planetarium show, Sledding, Sky-park, Edinburgh Castle and City Tour, and The Edinburgh Dungeons. The trip capped off a fine season for the two teams.

Back in September the 1st years won the inaugural Aviva Stadium Cup and since then have had many wins, while the 2nd years were an integral part of the JCT who made it to the quarter finals of the Duff Cup and they were deserving winners of the Special Merit Schools at the Leinster Rugby Awards Ball.

BECTIVE

The dawn chorus hadn't even cleared its throat when Bective Rangers Under-13s rolled out of 'D4-tress' and decamped to the hotbed of Cork rugby in Musgrave Park for a two-game tour against Dolphin and Sunday's Well.

The rugby was hard and fair with Bective losing narrowly to Dolphin but coming out on the right side of a result over Sunday's Well. But the real winner was the friendship and camaraderie that was forged between all 3 clubs.

The rivalry between Dolphin and Sunday's Well was as intense as you would expect from the ground-sharing teams -- but this was nothing compared to their efforts to see who would gain the bragging rights for the hospitality afforded to the visiting side. In fairness, we would have to go 'upstairs' for that call -- the welcome was fantastic from start to finish. From a base in the Silver Springs Hotel, the Bective lads certainly plaid homage to the cliché: "what goes on tour stays on tour', staying up late until the adults pleaded for an early night. We understand that Bective coaches Paul Lynch and Johnny Vaughan are still having to partake of early nights!

If the experiences of this tour are anything to go by, the spirit of Irish club rugby is alive and well.

Portlaoise RFC

The Girls' Under-16 emerged as champions of the Leinster League at Naas RFC on Sunday afternoon. They were drawn in their first round group against Naas and Gorey.

This was a tightly contested round robin with the three teams gaining three points and Portlaoise topping the group by virtue of their superior four tries tally. This set the stage for the championship round against Cill Dara, Kilkenny and Tullow. Portlaoise were undefeated and became champions with an unassailable points tally of seven.

This was a much improved performance from last season and Leinster organisers hinted that it caught the established girls' teams by surprise.

Scorers for Portlaoise on the day were Eimear Corri (3 tries), Anna O'Neill (try and 3 conversions), Liddy Nolan (try) and Faye Nolan(try).

NAVAN RFC

The inaugural 'Ciaran Conlon Cup' -- the Under-15 Leinster Rugby Premier League Final -- was held last weekend in NUI Maynooth and Navan emerged the winners with a 19-5 victory over Kilkenny.

Navan met Kilkenny in the final this year in the neutral venue. If ever a team were motivated, this was the day! Navan 15s had been working towards this Final all season and were determined to bring the inaugural Ciaran Conlon Cup back to Navan as a fitting accolade and tribute to their dedicated coach and mentor who sadly passed away last May.

The league has been in existence for some years but a new Trophy was commissioned as a memorial to Ciaran Conlon, former Coach and Mentor to the team. Following his passing, his wife Josephine, and his three children, decided that a memorial trophy for the U15s was a perfect tribute to his memory.

Navan took on Kilkenny with nervous gusto on the day. They were determined to win the trophy on its first presentation. The emotional determination of the youngsters gave them the edge.

Ciaran's wife Josephine and son Sean presented medals to the Kilkenny and Navan squads culminating in the presentation of the Ciaran Conlon Cup to Navan's number 13, Briain Conlon. Scorers for Navan: Shane Walshe - Try; Ben McEnteggart - Try; Conor Hand - Try; Christian Byrne - Conversions (2)

Navan Under-15s go on now to play against Enniscorthy in the final of the McAuley Cup in Donnybrook on Monday, 7th May at 12noon.

Guinness RFC

The club have ended their season on a high after winning the Winters Cup for the first time since 1998 last Saturday afternoon in Donnybrook.

Following on from the club's first team success in winning Leinster League Division 3, the second team were hungry for some silverware of their own. Having finished mid-table in the league the players were looking forward to a decent cup run in the J4 Winters Cup.

The club faced the tough task of playing last year's winners NUIM Barnhall in the final. Right from the kick-off we knew this was going to be a great game. In a knife-edge clash, and after battling long and hard against a well-drilled defensive line, Guinness made it to the Barnhall line with Tunde (TJ) Okikiolu eventually barging over to score the winning try in the dying seconds to make the final score 10-11.

This game has concluded one of the best seasons in the club's history with both senior teams collecting trophies, a feat that is going to be hard to beat, but everyone is relishing the challenge.

SEAN STRATTON FESTIVAL

The Sean Stratton Festival, which will take place this Saturday in Kirwan Park, the home of De la Salle Palmerston, was designed to encourage those players who have been involved in junior cup rugby for their schools to return to their clubs, after St Patrick's Day, in a competitive Under-16s festival.

In all, 21 teams from Under-16 level have taken part over two days of qualification pools on March 31st and April 21st. The competition is now down to 12 teams, eight of whom will take part in the Sean Stratton Cup quarter-finals, and the remaining four will await the four quarter-final losers in the plate quarter-finals. The draws are as follows:

Galway Corinthians v Portarlington; Old Wesley v Clontarf; Boyne v Mullingarl; Instonians v Wicklow.

Plate Q/Finalist: DLSP, Terenure, Greystones and Skerries.


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