Dublin Under 15 Hurling League Division One Play-Off Final: Lucan Sarsfields V Ballyboden St Enda’s – The Tallaght Echo – December 5 2019

Lucan emerge U15 Division One champs

LUCAN SARSFIELDS…………………………..2-12

BALLYBODEN ST ENDA’S……………………..1-10

By Daire Walsh

LUCAN Sarsfields claimed the Under 15 Division One hurling title with a convincing play-off victory against Ballyboden St Enda’s at 12th Lock last Sunday afternoon.

Despite making a shaky start to the contest, Lucan gradually came to terms with the challenge of their formidable opponents.

Joseph Dunne was in sparkling form for the hosts, contributing an impressive personal haul of 0-8 over the course of the hour.

Conor Hylands and Liam Garrigan also bagged goals in each half to set Lucan on their way to a priceless triumph. Keelin Smith and Leon Kennedy flew the flag throughout for ‘Boden, amassing 1-9 of their side’s final total of 1-10 between them.

The two teams most recently met at Cherryfield on August 25 when Lucan recorded a comprehensive 2-15 to 0-11 success. However, at the end of their previous clash at 12th Lock in May, ‘Boden squeezed over the line with a single point to spare (4-10 to 2-15).

‘Boden were initially unfazed for their latest meeting and developed a three-point lead inside the opening five minutes.

Half-forward Scott O’Sullivan-Magne fired over a nice score at an acute angle, before the roving Kennedy converted a long-distance free.

Following a wayward puck out by Lucan netminder Cathal Doody, Smith registered his maiden point.

Having struggled to find their feet during the early exchanges, Sarsfields proceeded to dominate the remainder of the first-quarter. After Dunne settled their nerves, corner-forward David Mulqueen pointed from close-range.

They were beginning to create a familiar rhythm in attack and turned the tables on ‘Boden with an 11th-minute major. Possession was transferred into the path of Hylands, who rifled powerfully beyond the reach of rival custodian Eoin Mac Phaidin.

Momentum was now with Lucan and thanks to a Dunne brace, they were four points clear on 16 minutes. In addition to the increased pressure on their goalmouth, ‘Boden were now clocking up wides at the opposite end.

Yet, Kennedy’s driving run drew a foul from a retreating Lucan defence and Smith did the needful off the resulting free. Kennedy also split the posts from 50 metres to keep ‘Boden in touch.

Lucan’s attacking efficiency stood out in the opening period, though, as they failed to post a single wide on the stats sheet. Their accuracy was further underlined by Mulqueen and Finn Bruton points and while Kennedy responded for ‘Boden, Garrigan propelled Lucan into a 1-7 to 0-6 interval buffer.

Garrigan had been a livewire presence in midfield up to this juncture and he matched Hylands’ first-half strike with a stunning finish five minutes after the restart. Dunne swiftly added a free to give Lucan a potentially insurmountable eight-point advantage.

To their credit, ‘Boden worked their way back into the reckoning with a mini scoring blitz. Supplementing his own free moments earlier, Smith pulled to the net after a powerful Kennedy shot had been turned away.

This understandably kept Lucan on their toes and with Dunne and Kennedy trading points, an exciting final-quarter lay in store. Still, the Ballymakaily outfit had enough of a cushion at their disposal to be confident of seizing the day.

Dunne’s latest two-point salvo included his first from open play and Lucan were edging a step closer to the top-flight crown. The ever-dependable Kennedy kept things interesting moving into three minutes of stoppage-time, but Lucan were not to be denied.

Dunne found his range on the right-wing to place the outcome beyond all doubt.

LUCAN SARSFIELDS: C Doody; K Quinn, E Kilduff, L Farrell; J McSweeney, J Behan, M Cunningham; L Garrigan, R Daly; C Hylands, J Dunne, F Bruton; D Mulqueen, C Sheary, G Kennedy. Subs: J Smith for Quinn (h-t), R Fortune for Sheary (37), A Hickey for McSweeney (41), J Doyle for Farrell (45), C Mulqueen for Kennedy (48).

BALLYBODEN ST ENDA’S: E Mac Phaidin; O Brophy, B McGuire, J Kennedy; M McSharry, D Daly, S O’Shea; J Farrington, R O’Reilly; S O’Sullivan-Magne, S Doyle, O Byrne; D Brooks, K Smith, L Kennedy. Subs: F Keating MacDermott for Doyle (37), S Pullan for J Kennedy (38), J Kennedy for Byrne (53), S Wall for Brooks (55), A O’Reilly for Brophy (57).

Posted in Hurling | Comments Off on Dublin Under 15 Hurling League Division One Play-Off Final: Lucan Sarsfields V Ballyboden St Enda’s – The Tallaght Echo – December 5 2019

Leinster Schools Senior ‘A’ Football Championship Group C: Colaiste Eoin V St Fintan’s HS, Sutton – The Evening Herald – December 5 2019


Eoin earn group top spot

Daire Walsh

COLAISTE Eoin sealed top spot in Group C of the Leinster Schools Senior ‘A’ Football Championship with a 2-8 to 2-7 triumph over Dublin rivals St Fintan’s HS, Sutton last Thursday afternoon.

Following an impressive victory over Good Counsel College on November 12, Eoin already had one foot in the knockout stages of the competition. The Gaelscoil didn’t have it all their own way against the northside outfit and needed goals from Barra Ó Donnchú and Liam Ó Fiachna to keep themselves on level terms.

However, the Booterstown side held their nerve and eventually dug out a result deep into time added on.

Posted in Schools GAA | Comments Off on Leinster Schools Senior ‘A’ Football Championship Group C: Colaiste Eoin V St Fintan’s HS, Sutton – The Evening Herald – December 5 2019

Ireland Men’s Sevens Build-Up To World Series Opener: Terry Kennedy – Irishrugby.ie – December 5 2019

Hard Work Pays Off For Sevens Star Kennedy

By Daire Walsh

It has been a long build up to this moment, but Terry Kennedy and the Ireland Men’s Sevens are raring to go for their debut as a core nation on the HSBC World Rugby Men’s Sevens Series in Dubai today.

Thanks to their superb triumph at the Hong Kong Sevens in April, the Billy Dardis-led outfit were granted full-time status on the international Seven’s stage for this season, joining the Ireland Women’s Sevens at the top table of the sport.

Having come so close to securing qualification at a World Series Repechage in the same venue 12 months earlier, Kennedy acknowledges they displayed remarkable resolve in overcoming a significant mental obstacle to book their golden qualification ticket.

“It’s a really exciting time for us. We’ve obviously been building for quite a while to get there and now that it’s actually upon us, it’s pretty exciting,” Kennedy said.

“We went there, that was our second time [in Hong Kong]. First year we were really confident going, but we just got pipped in the semi-final. To have that resilience to go back and win it then the year after was massive for us.

“There was some good celebrations after that, but it seems so long ago. It seems like since then we’ve kind of been all eyes on Dubai and we’re finally here.”

As impressive as their win in Hong Kong was, it served as the culmination of the hard graft produced by Kennedy and his team-mates since the Sevens programme was relaunched under Anthony Eddy and David Nucifora four years ago.

While some familiar faces have come and gone, including the likes of Adam Byrne and former captain Tom Daly, Kennedy is one of five players to have stayed the course for Ireland’s rise through the ranks.

Harry McNultyMark RocheFoster Horan and Ian Fitzpatrick were also there from the very start — a Rugby Europe Division C tournament victory in Bosnia in June 2015. A subsequent Division B success in Croatia a fortnight later sealed a spot on the following year’s Rugby Europe Repechage and the squad has steadily progressed ever since.

Whereas the preparation for tournaments was quite limited in the early days, Kennedy is quick to outline how their approach has evolved over time.

“We started down in the lower competitions and you could kind of just get away with going out there with not an awful lot of training. We’d have the odd weekend camp based on skill and stuff. Because we’d been playing rugby for so long, you could get away with it.

“Now we’re specified sevens players, the majority of us. We train out here four days a week and the amount of training that goes into it [is massive], which is needed to compete at the top level.”

Ireland get their Dubai Sevens campaign underway with a Pool B encounter against the USA this afternoon (6.12pm local time/2.12pm Irish time). They will also face Australia and Scotland in back-to-back affairs on Friday before embarking on the play-offs and finals in The Sevens Stadium on Saturday.

Though the squad are reluctant to set a specific target for their World Series bow, their past experience as an invitational side — specifically a third-place finish at the 2018 London Sevens — shows what this Irish team are capable of producing on top form.

“We’re just going to try and build tournament-by-tournament. We know what we can do. If we’re on song, we can compete with the best. Like we showed in London when we were an invitational team. Obviously now we’re full-time on the Series, people are going to know what to expect from us. We know that if we play to our best, we can beat anyone.

“We’re not really being thrown in at the deep end because we have played at this level before. Whether it’s in those London and Paris invitationals, whether it’s in the World Cup. We’ve played all the big teams and we know what to expect. That experience will stand to us.”

Now they have achieved their goal of reaching the World Series circuit, Ireland will be desperate to remain there for the foreseeable future. Yet, moving into the new year, Kennedy and his compatriots have another target in mind.

After finishing third at July’s European Qualifier in Colomiers, Ireland earned a place in next summer’s World Rugby Repechage — the winner of which will gain a spot at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Although they will have competed in 10 World Series tournaments by the time that Repechage comes around in June, Kennedy admits it is ultimately their biggest priority for the forthcoming season.

“The Olympics has to be our main focus for the year. Each tournament, we want to get better and better. We want to peak come that Olympic qualifier at the end of June to put us in a really good place to qualify for the tournament. That would be an incredible opportunity.

“It’s funny. Athletes growing up, the Olympics is the pinnacle and that’s all they’re building towards. Whereas we never really thought about it up until now, that Sevens is in the Olympics. Now that the opportunity is there, it would be incredible to actually grasp it.”

In becoming a senior international star, albeit at Sevens level rather than the 15s game, Kennedy has followed in the footsteps of his father, Terry Sr. Affectionately known as ‘the Rat’, the elder Kennedy accumulated 13 caps from 1978 to 1981.

40 years ago this summer, he was part of an Irish squad that made history of their own on a tour of Australia. Against the odds, they claimed a two-series win over the Wallabies, becoming the first home country to triumph on southern hemisphere soil in the process.

During this period, Kennedy Sr was a prominent figure for St Mary’s College on Dublin’s Templeville Road, where his son also honed his skills from the underage grades all the way up to the All-Ireland League.

“My Dad is great. He just encouraged me the whole way. He loves watching me play, loves going out to tournaments and stuff,” he said of the ex-winger.

“It’s great to have him for advice when I do need it. Mainly it’s just encouragement from him the whole time.”

Kennedy Jr will hope for similar luck when he faces Australia on Friday, though their pool showdowns either side of it will also have a major bearing on Ireland’s overall standing in Dubai.

Posted in International Rugby | Comments Off on Ireland Men’s Sevens Build-Up To World Series Opener: Terry Kennedy – Irishrugby.ie – December 5 2019

Ireland Men’s Sevens Build-Up To World Series Opener: Billy Dardis – The Kildare Nationalist (Online) – November 4 2019


NAAS man Billy Dardis will make history in Dubai on Thursday when he leads out the Ireland men’s sevens team for their debut as a core nation on the World Series circuit.

Having previously competed in tournaments as an invitational side – a third-place finish at the 2018 London 7s proving to be the highlight to date – Anthony Eddy’s outfit finally secured full status with an outstanding triumph at the Hong Kong 7s in April.

It has been a long road to get to this point and Dardis (who joined the set-up in 2015) is looking to embrace every moment.

“It has been a long four or five years building up to it. Started about four years ago, the lads started in Bosnia or somewhere like that. There has been so many players who have come through it. A lot of lads who’ve got international caps and are now playing regularly in the PRO14,” Dardis acknowledged.

“A lot of time from IRFU staff and our coaches has gone into it. It’s finally here, which is brilliant. Since April and Hong Kong, we’ve been waiting to get going into Dubai. It’ll be great fun just getting over there, getting stuck into it.”

Ireland’s campaign in Dubai gets underway on with a Pool B encounter against USA (6.12pm local time/2.12pm Irish time). They also face Australia and Scotland on Friday, before they proceed to the play-offs or finals that are taking place at The Dubai Sevens Stadium on Saturday.

While Dardis is reluctant to set a target for this weekend – and their trip to Cape Town in mid-December – the presence of former South African sevens star Kyle Brown in the backroom team is helping to aid their preparation.

“He [Brown] was with them for just over 10 years, he was captain with them for six years. We’re trying to take as much experience from him, and knowledge from him, as possible. He was just saying how Dubai is more about teams using it to feel each other out. Just to see what they’re like and test things out.

“We have high standards and we set high expectations of ourselves. It’s hard to look past our group. If I said to you ‘oh, we want to make a quarter-final’, that’s kind of saying ‘oh, why don’t you want to make a final?’ It’s cliched, but we’re not really looking too far past USA next Thursday evening.”

Dardis was speaking at a media day in the IRFU’s high performance centre at the Sport Ireland Campus in Abbotstown. Previously based on Lansdowne Road, Dardis and his team-mates moved to their new home at the end of June.

With three outdoor pitches, a three-quarter length indoor pitch, medical rooms and state-of-the-art strength and conditioning facilities on site, Dardis and his team-mates have everything they need to compete with the very best on the World Series stage.

“You don’t really get used to it. We have our own jacuzzi and plunge pool right next to our dressing room! They’ve really given us every opportunity and support to do well. They’re quite ambitious the IRFU and they’ve great plans,” Dardis said of their training base.

“This was a great addition to Irish rugby and all the underage squads have had time here as well. They’ve gone into the gym and onto the pitch. The pitches are great outside as well. It’s a real energising environment.”

Though Dardis has left the 15s game on the back burner for the time being, his brother Sam is currently making waves in the All-Ireland League with Terenure College. Having spent two years in the Ireland U20s system himself, Billy feels the younger Dardis sibling is more than capable of stepping up to the international grade.

“Sam is having a good year to be fair to him. He’s only 19, he’s still eligible for U20s. He’s kind of fallen out of favour for a few years. I really hope he can get back into that fold because he is on the radar. It’ll be up to Noel McNamara [Ireland U20s head coach]. Hopefully he can pick him for a few trial games and give him a shot,” Dardis added.

Written by Daire Walsh

Posted in International Rugby | Comments Off on Ireland Men’s Sevens Build-Up To World Series Opener: Billy Dardis – The Kildare Nationalist (Online) – November 4 2019

Ireland Men’s Sevens Build-Up To World Series Opener: Terry Kennedy – The Irish Examiner – December 4 2019

Olympic dream burns bright for Sevens’ star

By Daire Walsh

Ireland men’s sevens star Terry Kennedy insists experience as an invitational side will stand them in good stead for their World Series bow as ‘a core’ nation in Dubai tomorrow.

Despite only claiming full status on the circuit as recently as April, Anthony Eddy’s charges have already competed in four World Series tournaments. Most notably, they achieved third spot at last year’s London Sevens.

“We’ve played all the big teams and we know what to expect. That experience will stand to us,” Kennedy acknowledged ahead of tomorrow’s Pool B tussle with US.

“We’re just going to try and build tournament-by-tournament. We know what we can do. If we’re on song, we can compete with the best.


Obviously now we’re full-time on the Series, people are going to know what to expect from us. If we get our processes right, the end target will look after itself.”

In addition to their showdown against the USA— who are coached by former Wasps scrum half Mike Friday— Ireland will also face Australia and Scotland at on Friday.

Now they have achieved the goal of reaching the World Series stage, Ireland will have their sights set on securing Olympic qualification in 2020. Following a bronze finish at a European qualifier at Colomiers in July, they have progressed to a World Rugby Repechage in June of next year.

Only the winner of this event will seal an elusive ticket on the plane to Tokyo and Kennedy admits this will be their ultimate priority for the season.

“The Olympics has to be our main focus for the year. Each tournament, we want to get better and better. We want to peak come that Olympic qualifier at the end of June to put us in a really good place to qualify for the tournament. That would be an incredible opportunity.”

Posted in International Rugby | Comments Off on Ireland Men’s Sevens Build-Up To World Series Opener: Terry Kennedy – The Irish Examiner – December 4 2019

Leinster Schools Junior League Division 1A Semi-Final: Newbridge College V Presentation College Bray – The Kildare Nationalist – December 3 2019


Newbridge College well beaten by Pres Bray



By Daire Walsh

NEWBRIDGE College’s Leinster Schools Junior League Division 1A campaign came to an end at the hands of an impressive Presentation College, Bray side at Energia Park last Wednesday afternoon.

Despite making an encouraging start to the contest, Dave Brew’s charges ultimately were second best to their north Wicklow counterparts. Sam Bourke, Finn Brien and Senan Rogan all crossed over for Pres Bray, who will now face Dublin’s Gonzaga College in a forthcoming showpiece.

There was no doubting the commitment of Newbridge throughout, however, and winger Adam Larkin-Smithers grabbed a try during an encouraging end to the action.

Excellent approach play earned them a shot at goal in the ninth-minute. From a distance of 30 metres – at an acute angle on the left-hand side – the lively Andrew Carroll made no mistake off his right boot. Newbridge were hoping to use this as the catalyst for a dominant performance.

Instead, it served as a wake-up call for Pres Bray, who convincingly swept aside the challenge of St Andrew’s in the last-eight. They had recorded six straight wins in advance of this fixture and after forging a prolonged maul move just past the first-quarter mark, tighthead prop Bourke powered through for the maiden try of the proceedings.

Fly-half Jack Murphy – son of Ireland kicking and skills coach, Richie – expertly dissected the posts off the ensuing conversion to edge Pres Bray into a four-point lead. Having forced their opponents on the back-foot in the early exchanges, Newbridge increasingly found themselves under the cosh in defence.

They breathed a sigh of relief on 23 minutes as a pass out wide towards Rogan was deemed to have gone forward. Yet, it was only a temporary respite for the Lilywhite outfit.

Another powerful attacking sequence on the left ended with Brien dotting down past the whitewash for Pres Bray’s second converted try of the half. To Newbridge’s credit, they didn’t allow their heads to drop and Larkin-Smithers made a break for the try-line in the closing seconds of the opening period.

However, he was forced into touch in the nick of time – keeping their deficit at 14-3 for the interval. While they weren’t out of contention just yet, their task became more difficult when Pres Bray amassed 10 unanswered points shortly after the resumption.

Supplementing a superb Murphy place-kick on the 10-metre line, Rogan touched down in the right-corner at the end of an intricate attack. Murphy added the bonuses to bring his personal haul up to nine points and, in the process, leave Newbridge with a mountain to scale.

They fought to address this balance in the final-quarter, but the Pres Bray defence became more impenetrable as the minutes developed. That was until a Pres sin-binning created extra space in attack for Newbridge.

Larkin-Smithers took advantage of this temporary numerical deficiency, sprinting over for an unconverted score on 53 minutes. Carroll’s resulting bonus strike drifted past the target and once they were restored to a full compliment, Pres Bray were effective in closing out the game.

NEWBRIDGE COLLEGE: Michael Collins; Adam Larkin-Smithers, John Collins, Tadhg Brophy, Andrew Carroll; Paddy Taylor, Ciaran Mangan; Shane Davitt, John Sheedy, Daniel Walsh; Samuel Watson, Shane Treacy; Ruairi Byrne, Ronan McGroary, Harry Farrell.

Replacements: Rory Kenny, Christopher Jennings, Cian Cosgrave, Patrick Forde, Ruairi Munnelly, Stephen Menton, Hugh Hamilton, Julian Zebedee.

PRESENTATION COLLEGE, BRAY: Darragh O’Sullivan; Senan Rogan, Finn Treacy, Lorcan Smith, Dylan Henry; Jack Murphy, Conor Bourke; Jack McDonald, Finn Brien, Sam Bourke; Zach Kirby, Adam Tighe; Barra Lupton Smith, Cormac McGrath, Ross Mackey.

Replacements: Sam Fitzsimmons, Billy Corrigan, Callum Tully, Max Egleston, James Healy, Cian Eddy, James McDonald, Jack Clarke.

Posted in Schools Rugby | Comments Off on Leinster Schools Junior League Division 1A Semi-Final: Newbridge College V Presentation College Bray – The Kildare Nationalist – December 3 2019

Ireland Men’s Sevens Build-Up To World Series Opener: Billy Dardis – The Irish Examiner – December 3 2019

Sevens: Billy Dardis and Ireland ready for rarified air of Dubai

By Daire Walsh

The Ireland men’s sevens team will make history in Dubai on Thursday when they compete in a World Series tournament for the first time as ‘a core’ nation.

Despite previous experience on this stage as an invitational side — they secured a third-place finish at last year’s London 7s — captain Billy Dardis admits there is now a greater weight of expectancy on their shoulders.

“We’ve had a taste of it, but coming in as an invitational side, nobody knows what you’re about. You can catch teams by surprise. Whereas we beat South Africa in Chester [pre-season tournament] and they kind of know what we’re about. We’ve got a target on our backs. Teams know we’re good. We can compete with the best teams when we’re playing well,” Dardis said.

“If you start on the back-foot you can find it hard to get out of that hole. It’s seeded every week based on the previous week, so you can find yourself in a bad group every week and suddenly you’re playing 15th and 16th play-offs. The aim would be to win all our group games [in Dubai] and that will set the tone for the year.”

First up for Ireland is a Pool B encounter with the USA on Thursday, with Australia and Scotland following on Friday. Results in these games will determine their path for the final day of action on Saturday at The Dubai Sevens Stadium — where a host of play-offs and finals take place.

This will be the third time in his sevens career Dardis has played in a three-day tournament. The Kildare native says it has its pros and cons.

“You get plenty of rest in between games, but at the same time it can drag on. It’s a long weekend and it’s a long time to be feeling the pressure and nervous. We can only look at it positively. If we look at it negatively, it’ll affect you,” the former Leinster academy star said.

“We can just look at it and say ‘oh, well we’re going to be rested going into each game and we’ll be ready to go’.


We have high standards and we set high expectations of ourselves.

“It’s going to be a challenge playing in that heat and under that pressure, but we’re just looking forward to it.”

Posted in International Rugby | Comments Off on Ireland Men’s Sevens Build-Up To World Series Opener: Billy Dardis – The Irish Examiner – December 3 2019

All-Ireland League Division 1A: Terenure College V Garryowen – Irishrugby.ie – November 30 2019

Scorers: Terenure College: Tries: Conor McKeon, Sam Dardis; Cons: Conor McKeon 2
Garryowen: Tries: Liam Coombes 2, Colm Quilligan, Diarmuid Barron; Cons: Jamie Heuston 2; Pen: Jamie Heuston
HT: Terenure College 7 Garryowen 15

Garryowen moved up to third place in the Division 1A standings with a 27-14 bonus-point success against Terenure College at Lakelands Park.

Adding to tries in each half from Munster prospect Liam Coombes, Colm Quilligan and Diarmuid Barron also crossed for the Limerick visitors. Scrum half Conor McKeon accumulated nine points for the hosts, while Sam Dardis – younger brother of Ireland Sevens captain Billy – was once again prominent.

Now coached by former Garryowen senior coach Sean Skehan, Terenure trailed their opponents by a single point for large chunks of the second half. That was until Garryowen pushed into overdrive during the final quarter to claim their fifth win in seven league outings.

The Light Blues bossed the opening exchanges and broke the deadlock in the third minute. Turning down a shot at goal, they went for the corner and it paid dividends as Coombes got on the end of a subsequent grubber kick to touch down and Jamie Heuston clinically converted.

Terenure recovered from their nightmare start with captain Stephen O’Neill carrying powerfully from inside centre. Their pressure became relentless and they deserved got on the board just past the first quarter. After making initial inroads in the 22, McKeon dived over on the left for a snappily-taken try.

The former Connacht half-back converted his own try to draw the hosts level, yet Garryowen hit back before the interval. Off a lineout maul, Quilligan was picked out in space on the right for a five-pointer, before Heuston added a late penalty to make it 15-7 at half-time.

Nine minutes into the second period, it was a single-point game. McKeon went for touch from a close-in penalty and it proved a gamble worth taking as the ever-dangerous Dardis burst through a defensive gap to dot down in style.

Heuston drifted a penalty attempt wide of the posts, six minutes later, and in match of small margins, the next score was always going to be vital. Unfortunately for Terenure, the sin-binning of lock Peter Claffey on 62 minutes left them severely hamstrung.

With their set piece dominance beginning to take hold, Garryowen bagged their third try moments later. Breaking off another lineout drive, hooker Barron crashed over in the right corner.

Although Heuston’s missed conversion left Terenure in with a shout still at 20-14 down, they could not unlock a watertight Garryowen defence despite their lion’s share of possession.

‘Nure were subsequently turned over and following a swift counter attack, tall winger Coombes sealed it for the Limerick men with a superb individual try. Heuston’s outstanding touchline kick brought the curtain down on a fine day at the office for Conan Doyle’s charges.

TERENURE COLLEGE: Jake Swaine; Sam Dardis, Robbie Deegan, Stephen O’Neill (capt), Adam La Grue; James Thornton, Conor McKeon; Saba Meunargia, Adam Clarkin, Liam Hyland, Peter Claffey, Michael Melia, Stephen Caffrey, Niall Lalor, Eoin Joyce.

Replacements: Robbie Smyth, Adam Tuite, Niall O’Sullivan, Mark O’Neill, James O’Donoghue.

GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Colm Quilligan, Bryan Fitzgerald, Jack Delaney, Liam Coombes; Dave McCarthy, Jack Stafford; Corrie Barrett, Diarmuid Barron, Andy Keating, Sean O’Connor, Kevin Seymour (capt), Johnny Keane, Jack Daly, Tim Ferguson.

Replacements: Liam Cronin, Jack Mullany, Sean Rennison, Evan Maher, Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham.

Posted in Senior Club Rugby | Comments Off on All-Ireland League Division 1A: Terenure College V Garryowen – Irishrugby.ie – November 30 2019

Ireland Women’s Sevens Piece Ahead Of World Series Opener: Eve Higgins – Irishrugby.ie – November 30 2019

Rising Star Higgins Enjoying Every Step On The Sevens Journey

By Daire Walsh

As she prepares for the second leg of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Dubai next week, Eve Higgins has acknowledged the Ireland Sevens squads are reaping the benefits of the new IRFU High Performance Centre.

Previously based at the union’s Sevens headquarters on Lansdowne Road, Higgins and her team-mates relocated to the Sport Ireland Campus in Blanchardstown at the end of June. They are joined by the Ireland Men’s Sevens squad, who will also be travelling to Dubai on Sunday for their debut tournament as a core team on the World Series circuit.

With state-of-the-art facilities on site, including three outdoor pitches, a three-quarter length indoor pitch and medical rooms, the IRFU has invested heavily in the Sevens programme and no stone has been left unturned as attention turns to the December double-header in Dubai and Cape Town.

“I think with pitch sessions we have progressed, but I don’t know if that’s down to the setting. We’ve changed our trainings from a year ago. You’re always feeding new things in, but definitely the indoor pitch gives us a chance [to do more],” Higgins said.

“Before the gym we’ve put in extra skills sessions. We can hop inside with our boots, do some passing drills, some kicking and catching drills. Then whip the boots off, put our trainers on and go into the gym. Those little extra half an hour sessions that we’re getting in, we haven’t had that before. That’s really feeding into getting quality on to the pitch.

“It’s great here because if it is raining, we can just train inside and not think about it. The pitch gets really warm too when we’re all training on it. You really feel it, so that’s like good warm weather training ahead of tournaments.”

Unlike the Ireland Men’s Sevens, Stan McDowell‘s Women’s side have been a full World Series member since finishing second to Japan in a qualifier tournament at UCD in 2015. Previous to that, they had spent a season on the circuit as a result of their quarter-final placing at the 2013 World Cup Sevens.

Their latest World Series odyssey began at Glendale, Colorado in early October when McDowell’s side achieved an eighth-place finish. The 28-7 pool triumph over Brazil was the highlight of a tournament that saw them facing reigning champions New Zealand at the quarter-final stage.

Higgins was instrumental in the Brazilian success, amassing a nine-point haul to supplement tries from Amee-Leigh Murphy CroweEmily Lane and Anna Doyle. Nonetheless, the Lucan native believes her performance, and that of the squad, will need to be significantly better for Dubai next week than it was in the US city.

“We just want to improve from Colorado. We didn’t feel like we performed as well as we can, and Dubai is a great opportunity to show what we can do. I want to be better than I was in Colorado, and better than I’ve been in the past.

“I want to be a more consistent player, but I feel like I can improve so much from Colorado. I think it’s just about not focusing on all the things. Trying to just focus on little things, picking something every week to focus on rather than picking everything.”

Since then, the Ireland Women’s Sevens earned fourth spot at the RugbyX tournament in London and recently enjoyed a productive weekend at the annual Elche 7s tournament, eventually losing out to France in the final.

Morale remains high within the group and Higgins stressed the importance of having the squad together as one in their Blanchardstown base.

“It’s great that we can all be here for the day. Then as soon as we’re done we leave, but we’ve had everything here. We have our food, we can train, use the gym. It’s great to have it all in the one place. It takes time from commuting. We’re just here and we have our schedule, so it’s easy to follow.”

Still only 20, Higgins has made a rapid rise to the senior ranks of Irish rugby in recent years. Having first shone as an underage star at nearby MU Barnhall, Higgins later signed for south Dublin outfit Railway Union, who are the reigning champions of the Women’s All-Ireland League.

Although she is yet to pick up a XVs international cap, Higgins was part of the training squad for the home-based Women’s World Cup in 2017. She featured at the World Cup Sevens in San Francisco last year and has gone on to become a virtual ever-present in the squad, winning 16 caps and scoring 20 World Series tries.

All the while, the prodigious back combines rugby with college commitments in UCD, where she studies history and sociology. It can be difficult to strike a balance between the two but her reluctance to take a year out of the course means Higgins has discovered a way to make it work.

“I did history for the Leaving Cert but I’ve been interested in criminology. That’s something I want to do in the future in UCD, but you do that as a Masters. With history and sociology, I picked it with a mind to training here. A lot of the time you’re on learnings outside of college, which is the reading and those aspects – which suits flying and stuff like that,” she explained.

“I’ve gone part time for my final year now, so this semester consisted of a Monday morning and Tuesday morning, a full day on Wednesday and then I was done for the week so it’s been good having that balance. Even before then it was just about keeping my head down and not leaving everything to the last minute. Staying on top of things.

“I was very conscious of not taking a year out. I wanted to get straight into things. I had started training here with the girls when I was still in school, so I had a year of going once or twice in the week into training. It’s something I really wanted to do, to go straight into college and see. Then if it wasn’t working out I’d take a year out, but I wanted to really try it. It’s been working out since.”

For now, Higgins will place all her focus on next week’s trip to Dubai.

Ireland Women open the tournament with a Pool B encounter against Spain on Thursday (2.50pm local time/10.50am Irish time). Meetings with Australia and Fiji follow on Friday in advance of the play-offs and finals on Saturday.

Posted in Women's Rugby | Comments Off on Ireland Women’s Sevens Piece Ahead Of World Series Opener: Eve Higgins – Irishrugby.ie – November 30 2019

All-Ireland Junior Club Ladies Football Championship Captain’s Day: Eileen Lyons (Donoughmore) – The Evening Echo – November 23 2019

Donoughmore ladies footballers gearing up for an All-Ireland final showdown

FOLLOWING the heartbreak of a county semi-final defeat in 2018, the past 12 months has seen the Donoughmore ladies footballers taking a giant leap forward.

With county and provincial titles already in the bag, they will look to add an All-Ireland junior crown to their trophy cabinet on Sunday – when they face Mayo’s CL MacHale Rovers at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe (throw-in 2pm).

The team will be led out in the east Galway venue by full-forward Eileen Lyons and while she admits Donoughmore’s target for the season has already been reached, they are not prepared to let a golden opportunity pass them by.

“At the start of the year we set out to win a county, so we’re in bonus territory.

“We’re going to be in an All-Ireland now. We’re going to be in it to win it. We got to a county semi-final last year and we were very disappointed after that. It’s great this year to have progressed. We work hard as a team, we work together,” Lyons acknowledged in Croke Park on Monday.

Donoughmore are certain no strangers to All-Ireland finals, having competed in no less than four senior deciders in the early noughties. After tasting national glory 2001 and 2003, they were subsequently on the receiving end of defeats in 2004 and 2009 showpieces.

Lyons was part of the squad for the latter reversal to Monaghan’s Donaghmoyne, but nevertheless has happy memories of their previous successes.

“I was young in 2001 when they won it, but I remember being at that match and in 2003.

“They were great years for Donoughmore. I would have been on the panel in 2009. There was a very strong bunch of players in Donoughmore that time,” Lyons recalls.

Unfortunately, the team gradually started to break up moving into a new decade and they entered into a difficult period of transition as a result. With playing numbers extremely tight, Donoughmore weren’t able to field a team in the 2017 county championship.

However, there was light at the end of the tunnel. An influx of youth to supplement the experienced figures within the group has had a galvanising effect and Lyons believes the progress made in this time can signal the beginning of a new era at the club.

“We were struggling for numbers then for a couple of years, but it’s great to have a panel back in Donoughmore now again.

“We’ve younger girls coming up. We’ve a mixed of youth and experience. There’s great girls coming through in Donoughmore.

“We’ve a girl, Claudia Keane. She’s on the minor Cork team and others like her. It’s good to have and good to see in Donoughmore.”

Keane is expected to be joined in midfield tomorrow by the legendary Rena Buckley, who continues to exert a major influence at club level in both codes. During a glittering dual career at the inter-county grade, the chartered physiotherapist claimed an astonishing 18 All-Ireland titles.

While seven of these were for camogie – she represents Inniscarra in the small ball game – she earned 11 national football crowns under the guidance of Eamonn Ryan and latterly Ephie Fitzgerald. Additionally, Buckley is a survivor of Donoughmore’s aforementioned senior successes of ’01 and ’03.

She will have her sights set on claiming a 21st All-Ireland in Ballinasloe and despite being captain of the team, Lyons acknowledges the 32-year-old has been one of the driving forces behind the club’s revival of fortunes.

“She’s great. When she talks at training you listen. She’s full of wisdom and a very smart footballer. She’s great to have in the panel. The likes of Aisling Barrett as well, whatever they say in training you listen to.”

Whereas Donoughmore squeezed past Navan O’Mahony’s in their semi-final having initially built up a sizeable cushion, MacHale had eight points to spare at the end of a penultimate round showdown with Edendork St Malachy’s.

Full-forward Rachel Kearns was in outstanding form throughout the course of that contest, accumulating 1-9 to cap an eye-catching individual display.

Rebecca Maughan – one of four nieces of former Mayo manager John Maughan in the line-up – also bagged a goal to supplement a brace of three-point finishes from Sinead Walsh.

Whilst acknowledging the wider threat offered by the Connacht champions, Lyons accepted they will need to keep close tabs on Kearns – who was the sole Mayo representative in this year’s Ladies Football All-Star team.

“She [Kearns] will be a scoring threat up front. It’ll take good girls to mark her. I don’t know much about them to be honest, only that Mayo football is strong.

“We would imagine this will be a very tough team to beat. Anyone that makes it to an All-Ireland anyway, they’re the two best of the junior competition. It will be a tough game.”

It has been an encouraging year thus far for this Donoughmore team, with their passionate supporters driving them on at every available turn. Lyons is hoping they will make their voices heard for one last time in Duggan Park.

“It’ll be great. We’ve had some great support all along in games.

“A crowd coming out, it drives on teams as well. Hopefully more of the same on Sunday. The pitch is supposed to be good in Ballinasloe,” Lyons added.

Posted in Ladies GAA | Comments Off on All-Ireland Junior Club Ladies Football Championship Captain’s Day: Eileen Lyons (Donoughmore) – The Evening Echo – November 23 2019