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It's six-cess for Murray as Clane team defies odds

And so it came to pass that, on the 17th day of March 2010, Clongowes Wood captured their sixth Leinster Schools Senior Cup.

Coach Noel Murray was understandably beaming with satisfaction at a game plan carried out to perfection by a dedicated set of players.

"We knew they had it in them. Everyone wrote us off, wrote about other things, and today was payback," he said, in relation to a sometimes controversial campaign that was, ultimately, gloriously worthwhile.

Murray was also quick to point at the over-emphasis on the strength of the opposite side of the draw. Clongowes were forced to absorb serious physical and mental challenges in the first round and the semi-final.

"You have to remember, we didn't play it up -- we were playing very good teams. Nobody gave King's Hos or St Mary's any credit. They were always talking about the bottom half of the draw. We scraped through, came through the battles".


The attention to detail was everywhere in their game right down to targeting four blockdowns, which they managed to do, firstly creating the opening try through right wing Oscar ó Suilleabháin.

"We put an emphasis on blockdowns. We targeted four of them. The first one led to the first try. They followed the game plan, bar one or two small lapses," said Murray, who was overseeing his third major final success in four attempts.

Of course, for every winner there is a loser and St Michael's coach Greg McWilliams was visibly shaken by the experience.

The concession of two converted tries in the first five minutes to centre Garrett ó Suilleabháin and tight-head prop Ian Prendiville rocked them to the core.

"It is hard to take. It really is. You prepare so well. All of a sudden you concede two easy tries. There is a big lead to deal with and it is hard from there," he said.

In fairness, St Michaels recovered some of the lost ground through their fluent style of attacking rugby. But, they could never get back on level terms.

"We played our rugby in the first half. It was what we asked the guys to do. I am gutted for them. So much goes into what we are trying to do in the school at the moment.

"The early lead was a mountain to climb. What can I say? Life goes on," he concluded.