Glorious Garbally finally see off 'the Jes' in thriller
Garbally College are Connacht Schools Senior Cup champions for the 46th time after claiming their first title since 2015 when out-gunning Coláiste Iognáid 45-26 in the Sportsground.
The game began at a blistering pace with three tries scored in the first 10 minutes. Garbally moved into a commanding early lead with two tries in as many minutes before 'the Jes' had time to settle into the game.
The first came after great work up the right wing from Stephen Mannion, who kicked, chased and showed pace and control to keep the ball in play. His captain Oisin McCormack was in support to dive on the ball to open the scoring.
The Athlone boys were over again moments later as scrum-half Colm Reilly burned away from 'the Jes' defenders to score under the sticks to make it 12-0.
Coláiste Iognáid badly needed to find their feet and out-half Cathal Forde was on hand to steady his team.
He cut away from would-be Garbally tacklers to dive over, converting his own try to trim the gap to five.
Garbally would hit straight back, however, with their third try on the 15-minute mark.
They were awarded a try outside 'the Jes' 22 from which Tracey slipped through Shane Jennings and the full-back pinned back his ears to cross beneath the posts.
They were in for a fourth try on 23 minutes when a lineout 10 metres out was claimed in the air by the No 8 Joseph Devine and his packed mauled him across the line to leave it 24-7.
Iognáid trimmed the gap back with a second try from Forde on the half-hour mark, adding his own conversion for good measure.
However, just as 'the Jes' looked to be gaining a foothold, Garbally struck for a fifth try of the half.
Again it came from the set-piece, as a scrum in midfield set the platform for Mannion to go over in the right corner, making it 31-14 to Garbally at the break.
'The Jes' needed a strong start to the second half and they began accordingly, driving deep into Garbally territory.
A series of penalties and scrums eventually paid off as Gary Keane went over with Niall Hanahoe on his shoulder.
Just as they had in the first period though, Garbally were able to respond to the concession of a try at one end with the scoring of one at the other; Mannion going over for his second try after fast ball off the scrum to make it 38-21.
'The Jes' continued to fight and Julius Byrne was in for their fourth try on 50 minutes. But again Garbally hit back with substitute Cathal Dolan bundling over after a terrific steal at the lineout from the Garbally pack for what proved the last score of the game.
GARBALLY - S Jennings; S Mannion, S O'Carroll, C O'Brien, S Horkan; C Tracey, C Reilly; J Curley, O Dooley, S Egan; M Comerford, S Grenham; P Grehan, O McCormack, J Devine Reps: C Dolan (for Dooley 46), N Horan (for Horkan 55), P Galvin (for Comerford 71), B Codyre (for Tracey 75), K O'Connor (for Grehan 75), J Coughlan (for Jennings 76).
COLÁISTE IOGNÁID - A Cunningham; C Briscoe, J Byrne, J Power, J Grealish; C Forde, E Kenny; P Smyth, T de Paor, G Keane; A Mannion, R O'Connor; J Gallagher, D Leneghan, N Hanahoe. Reps: T Gillanders (for de Paor 53), R O'Flynn (for Briscoe 64), J Madden (for Smyth 64), L Solan (for Byrne 67), R Solan (for Mannion 69).
REF - J Craughwell.