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Wing wizard proves hero for Newbridge in League final

Roscrea had to endure heartbreak-upon-heartbreak by losing out in the Leinster Schools Senior League final at Donnybrook last Friday night, 24 hours after suffering the same fate in the Junior edition.

The Junior final was decided by an eight-point rush by Castleknock to leave Roscrea beaten 8-5 in injury-time.

It was left to their seniors to provide redemption. They just couldn't do it against a motivated Newbridge.

Roscrea came with the ace cards of Ireland Schools duo Tim Foley and Tim Carroll in their backline, fly-half Foley to control and full-back Carroll to counter.

As so often happens on these occasions, the hero came from an unexpected source Colm Stapleton.


The left wing wizard served notice of the danger he posed by stepping up to intercept a try-scoring pass and having enough gas in the tank to go the length of the pitch to make it 13-5 in the 62nd minute.

Up to that point, The 'Bridge had forced the pace with number eight breaching Roscrea from an inside ball by centre Tim Murphy in the 18th minute for the only score of the first-half.

Roscrea didn't waste any time getting back on terms. Carroll carried through contact for the gain on vital yards.

Half-backs Keith Kavanagh and Foley created the space for centre Joe Murphy to send Alan Tynan speeding to the line in the 38th minute.

It was back in the melting pot. Colm Doyle recovered the edge for Newbridge with a penalty just when the tide was turning against them.

And just when Roscrea were moving into top gear on the front-foot, cranking up their carrying game, Stapleton took the wind from their sails to make it a two-score game just past the hour.

As it turned out, it was still a long way from over.

Roscrea were held up twice over the line as their number eight Dan Trayers began to dominate physically. Eventually, second row Fineen Wycherley pounded out a try for Foley to convert, leaving one point in it with one minute of normal time left to play.

Newbridge could have stalled mentally, even gone into reverse gear.

Instead, they competed hard at the restart to recover the ball.

Scrum-half Colm Doyle and Jimmy O'Brien kept cool heads and they stayed true to their values, moving the ball when it would have been easier to shut up shop.

They wanted something to happen and they had a plan that worked a treat.

It was then Stapleton stormed back against the grain, going in where it hurt for his second try right beneath the sticks for Doyle to revive the eight-point gap.

Back came Roscrea, yet again, to work an overlap on the right for wing Daniel Keane to show a clean pair of hells to all-comers for a fine try in the 74th minute.

Foley landed the conversion from near the touchline.

Would there be more time? All eyes turned to referee Niall Behan.

He blew the final whistle.

Scorers - Newbridge College: (C Stapleton 2 tries;PRyan try; C Doyle pen, con); Cistercian College, Roscrea: A Tynan, D Keane, D Murphy try each; T Foley 2 cons.

Newbridge: R Cleary; D Murphy, J Howlett, T Murphy, C Stapleton; J O'Brien, C Doyle; J Duggan, C Johnson, D Breen, B Larkin, M Joyce, T O'Neill, R Buckley, P Ryan. Replacements: M Delaney for Cleary 34 mins; D Walker for Ryan 55 mins; R Culliton for O'Neill 59 mins; P Morrin for Breen 65 mins; D Culliton for Stapleton 69 mins.

Roscrea: T Carroll; R Wharton, A Tynan, J Murphy, D Keane; T Foley (capt), K Kavanagh; A Ferragut, E Maher, D Murphy, F Wycherley, S Meagher, P Gavin, M Keane, D Trayers. Replacements: M Jordan for Ferragut 53 mins; B Diffily for Gavin 49 mins; A Browne for Meagher 65 mins.

Referee: N Behan, Leinster Branch.