Thursday 14 December 2017

The Jes set sights on schools cup double

Coláiste Iognáid lifting last year’s Senior Schools Cup Picture: Sportsfile
Coláiste Iognáid lifting last year’s Senior Schools Cup Picture: Sportsfile

There will be a triple-header of Top Oil Connacht Schools finals at the Sportsground next Wednesday.

Coláiste Iognáid (The Jes) are chasing a double as they face Garbally College in the Junior Cup final at 2.00 and Summerhill College in the Senior Cup final at 4.00.

The Schools Senior Development Cup final will take place at 6.0 with Pres Headford taking on either St Muiredach's or Gortnor Abbey at the home of Connacht Rugby. Pres Headford defeated Rice College 19-12 in their semi-final on Tuesday.

Both Junior Cup last-four games were played on Tuesday afternoon with Garbally recording a 31-5 win over Marist College in Garbally as The Jes edged out CBS Roscommon 17-14 in a thrilling encounter.

A strong Garbally team, who recorded six bonus-point wins in their six Schools League fixtures, came out on top thanks to a five-try victory over Marist, who fought gamely.

Two-try Tom Fitzpatrick, Oisín McCormack, Padraig Flanagan and Niall Collins touched down for Garbally with Cian Treacy kicking three conversions.

The other tie could have gone either way and went right down to the wire. A try in the opening minutes for Coláiste Iognáid by Luke Hurson put The Jes 5-0 to the good and the Galway school were 12 points up when Dara Hanrahan crossed with Hanrahan himself converting.

CBS were in no mood to lie down, though, and lock Jack Tucker crossed in the right corner with Mark Purcell landing a superb touchline conversion against the wind to make it 12-7.

The Roscommon school made the better start to the second half and completed the comeback when centre Richard Walsh latched onto his own kick to cross for the levelling try as Purcell's second conversion gave CBS Roscommon the lead for the first time.

Superb

Now trailing, The Jes scored a superb third try that started with a quick tap-and-go in their own 22 and after a number of phases, MacDara Ó Griofa crossed to make it 17-14.

Purcell had a tough chance to level matters with a late penalty for CBS Roscommon but the young goal-kicker couldn't repeat his earlier heroics and The Jes progress to next Wednesday's final at the Sportsground.

Both Senior Cup semi-finals were played last week with holders The Jes overcoming Sligo Grammar in the Newcastle rain to secure their place in the final against Summerhill College.

The Jes led 17-0 at half-time thanks to tries from replacement Conor Briscoe, Tomás Forde and Jake Gallagher, with impressive captain Diarmuid Codyre kicking a conversion.

Summerhill were much improved after the break but Coláiste Iognáid proved too strong with Briscoe and Forde adding further tries. A late intercept try for Grammar captain Niall Gray, converted himself, was just rewards for their efforts but the Sligo school bowed out at the semi-final stage.

A Ross Hickey try, converted by out-half Brian Cox, proved the difference as Summerhill edged past Garbally in Sligo last Thursday to claim their place in the decider.

Two Colm Reilly penalties to one by Cox meant visiting Garbally led 6-3 at the break in difficult conditions.

In a low-scoring affair, the first try was always going to be crucial and it was Summerhill star centre Hickey who touched down his fifth try in four Senior Cup games with the Cox conversion making it 10-6 to the hosts.

A third Reilly penalty narrowed the gap to a single point but Summerhill held on to claim their place in the Senior Cup final at the Sportsground next Wednesday.

Fixtures

Top Oil Schools Junior Cup final: Garbally College v Coláiste Iognáid (The Jes), Sportsground, 2.00

Top Oil Schools Senior Cup final: Coláiste Iognáid (The Jes) v Summerhill College, Sportsground, 4.00

Top Oil Schools Senior Development final: Pres Headford v St Muiredach's/Gortnor Abbey, Sportsground, 6.00

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