Monday 20 November 2017

Fintan's vow to come again after Cup drama

Sean Cribbin captain of St Fintan's High School after the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup Round 1 match between Clongowes Wood College and St Fintan's High School at Donnybrook Stadium. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Sean Cribbin captain of St Fintan's High School after the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup Round 1 match between Clongowes Wood College and St Fintan's High School at Donnybrook Stadium. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

It's a day that will live long in the memory of everyone involved with St Fintan's High School, and for anyone who watched their enthralling late defeat to Clongowes on Tuesday, the dramatic contest won't be forgotten in a hurry.

Making their first appearance in the Senior Cup, seven years after claiming the Development Cup, Fintan's were well able to mix it with a school that has claimed eight titles in their long history.

It ultimately ended in heartbreak as a last-gasp penalty to win the game fell short, as Clongowes won 31-29, but there is a feeling that this is only the beginning for the Sutton school.

The likes of tighthead prop Jack Aungier and out-half James McCourt look to have bright futures ahead of them, and their head coach Robert Forbes praised the effort of his side on a historic day for the school.

"It was good schools rugby, it was intense stuff," a disappointed Forbes said. "We probably could have done without conceding as many as we did. It was an exciting game, I guess.

"This is our tenth Senior Cup team - seven since we won the Development Cup. They've done an amazing job.

"It's a public sporting school. We've got amazing basketball teams, Gaelic teams and soccer teams. They're all here. We are all part of it together."

Asked if he felt that Fintan's could come back again next year, Forbes responded: "Well I hope so. Like I said, there are a lot of other sports in the school so we're going to have to look at our structures to try and maintain a consistency. It's hard to do it ongoing.

"These schools (Clongowes) are primarily set up towards rugby. We have a multitude. But the talent is there, there is no question."

Clongowes just about avoided becoming victims of one of the biggest upsets in schools cup history. Their coach Brett Igoe was gracious in victory and admitted that his side didn't deserve to advance to the quarter-final after a sloppy performance.

Fantastic

"I feel sorry for Fintan's," Itgoe said. "I thought the better team lost the game. I thought they were fantastic the way they played - they scored five tries. They probably did deserve it.

"They've got some really good players and we struggled to deal with their big ball carriers. They were excellent, really good. They are very well coached. We struggled to live with them really.

"I'm delighted we came back into it, but we shouldn't have been in that position in the first place."

For a school that only started playing rugby in 2001, St Fintan's certainly made a mark on the competition and in doing so, will have provided the inspiration for other schools to bridge the gap.

Irish Independent

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