'Mid-ranking' schools make giant strides
With the Leinster schools draws for 2016 taking place in Dublin last night, I think it appropriate to record the increasing strides being made by some of the so-called mid-ranking schools. Central to qualification for the Senior and Junior competitions is a successful league campaign.
To that end, Newbridge, Kilkenny, St Andrew's, CBC Monkstown, St Gerard's Bray, Gonzaga, King's Hospital and Cistercian College Roscrea have joined the big six - Blackrock, Belvedere, Clongowes, St Mary's, St Michael's and Terenure - in the main event.
Of course on the back of the most amazing year in the school's history, Roscrea enter this campaign as defending champions.
To that add an upcoming Senior League final against another great rugby-playing nursery in Kilkenny College and the teams will clash again in the Leinster Senior Cup.
Winners of the League in 1995 and 2002, Roscrea will be playing in their fourth final in the last five years, while Kilkenny, winners for the first time in 2012, will be looking to put one over on their great boarding rivals ahead of the Senior Cup itself.
Little wonder that former school stars like Robin Copeland, Shane Delahunt, Craig Ronaldson, Tiernan O'Halloran, Rory Moloney and Sean O'Brien are coming to the fore.