Post-Match Reaction: Guinness PRO14 – Leinster V Cheetahs – Leo Cullen – The42.ie – February 17 2020

‘The attitude they showed coming back in was the most pleasing of all’ – Cullen hails Leinster’s Ireland crew

Leinster’s returning international quintet played their part in securing another win for the province at the RDS on Saturday.

IT MAY NOT have been where they wanted to be with a trip to Twickenham just eight days away, but Leinster’s returning international quintet played their part in securing another win for the province at the RDS on Saturday.

Player of the Match Will Connors grabbed a brace of tries as Leinster recorded a resounding 36-12 bonus-point triumph over the Toyota Cheetahs in the PRO14, while Ronan Kelleher, Max Deegan, Luke McGrath and Dave Kearney all saw significant game time during a wind and rain-swept affair in Ballsbridge.

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen was thrilled with the way each player integrated back into the squad, but hopes they can remain in the frame for round three of the Six Nations.

“You think of the guys coming back in, Ronan got in for a try [his eighth of the season]. Max was on the ball a bit, which was good. Luke McGrath was good. It was maybe a bit harder for Dave Kearney on the wing. He looked a bit frozen there at times!” Cullen acknowledged at Saturday’s post-match press conference.

“Then Will as Man of the Match, so the five of them were good. I think the attitude that they showed coming back in this week was the most pleasing of all. Most of them will go back into [Ireland] camp and we will see where they sit next week then.”

It was an eye-catching performance from Kildare native Connors, who got the ball rolling for Leinster with a 21st-minute try. Yet the openside flanker also showcased the less glamorous side of his game as he aims to nail down a regular spot in the Leinster back-row.

“His ability to hit through the contact is unbelievable. He does a huge amount of work with Hugh Hogan [contact skills coach]. You can see how that pays off in the games. Some of the back-rowers, the work that they do in that contact area, it’s important. Even Caelan [Doris], Max, guys who have been involved in Irish camp.

“He [Connors] has benefitted from that. Josh van der Flier is another one. It’s a competitive spot. I think they can see that Jack [Conan] and Dan Leavy are making decent progress as well in the background. That window is getting tighter for the challenges that lie ahead.”

With a dozen of his players still in the Ireland set-up, Cullen’s hand was significantly strengthened by the presence of Connors and company for the visit of their South African counterparts. While next week’s schedule leaves things up in the air for the time being, the Wicklow man expects to have an altered selection for a Friday night trip to the Ospreys.

“With the [international] game on Sunday and we are playing on Friday, I’m not 100 per cent what way they will map out the week. For us there are some guys that we are keen on seeing playing. There will clearly be some changes to our guys for next week,” Cullen said.

Daire Walsh

Posted in European Rugby | Comments Off on Post-Match Reaction: Guinness PRO14 – Leinster V Cheetahs – Leo Cullen – The42.ie – February 17 2020

All-Ireland League Division 1A: Lansdowne V Clontarf – Irishrugby.ie – February 17 2020

LANSDOWNE 29 CLONTARF 28, Aviva Stadium back pitch (played on Friday)
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Darragh Murphy, James Reynolds; Cons: Craig Ronaldson 2; Pens: Craig Ronaldson 5
Clontarf: Tries: Sean Kearns, Tom Byrne, Matt D’Arcy; Cons: Sean Kearns 2; Pens: Sean Kearns 3
HT: Lansdowne 16 Clontarf 12

James Reynolds bagged a 82nd-minute converted try to give Lansdowne a dramatic 29-28 victory over Clontarf in their Friday Night Lights fixture.

Craig Ronaldson kicked a terrific haul of 19 points, including a decisive last-gasp conversion, to steer Lansdowne past a ‘Tarf side that had 18 excellent points from their goal-kicking winger Sean Kearns.

Preceding the arrival of Storm Dennis to these shores, this Dublin derby was played out in near perfect conditions. Ronaldson got the ball rolling with a third-minute penalty, before Clontarf fired back with the opening try of the game.

Having missed the target with an earlier penalty, Kearns completed an incisive move on the left and converted his own try for a 7-3 lead. Ronaldson reduced the arrears at the second attempt, nailing a 23rd minute penalty, but ‘Tarf were over the whitewash again just shy of the half hour mark.

Following strong carries by Cormac Daly and Ivan Soroka into the 22, it was flanker Tom Byrne who dotted down in fine style for an unconverted score. However, it was Lansdowne who surged into a 16-12 lead by half-time.

Ronaldson’s left boot split the posts in the 33rd minute, and in sin-binned lock Daly’s absence, ‘Tarf leaked a maul try to Lansdowne number 8 Darragh Murphy. Ronaldson sent over a superb conversion from the touchline to put four points between the sides.

To the north Dubliners’ credit, they coped admirably while down to 14 men and a Kearns penalty made it a one-point game on the restart. Ronaldson cancelled out that kick, only for Lansdowne loosehead Martin Mulhall to be yellow carded soon after.

‘Tarf swiftly profited from their numerical advantage when centre Matt D’Arcy burst through a gap for a 61st-minute converted try. Ronaldson’s fifth penalty success of the night restored parity at 22-all, but ‘Tarf edged back ahead thanks to successive penalty strikes from Kearns.

Nonetheless, just like their most recent outing against Terenure College, Lansdowne snatched the result right at the death. Winger Reynolds latched onto a skip pass for an impressive finish on the left, and Ronaldson nervelessly sent over the tightly-angled conversion to move the headquarters club back into the top four.

LANSDOWNE: Tim Foley; Cillian Redmond, Mark Roche, Conall Doherty, James Reynolds; Craig Ronaldson, James Kenny; Martin Mulhall, Dan Sheehan, Adam Boland, Mark Flanagan, Jack Dwan (capt), Jack O’Sullivan, Mark Boyle, Darragh Murphy.

Replacements: Conor Gleeson, Shane Moynihan, Cian O’Dwyer, Tim Murphy, Tom Roche.

CLONTARF: Jack Power; Sean Kearns, Michael Brown, Matt D’Arcy, Michael Courtney; Conor Kelly, Hugh O’Sullivan; Ivan Soroka, Dylan Donnellan, Royce Burke-Flynn, Cormac Daly, Ben Reilly, Tom Ryan, Tom Byrne, Michael Noone (capt).

Replacements: Tadgh McElroy, JP Phelan, Tony Ryan, Andrew Feeney, Gearoid Lyons.

Posted in Senior Club Rugby | Comments Off on All-Ireland League Division 1A: Lansdowne V Clontarf – Irishrugby.ie – February 17 2020

Guinness PRO14 Conference A: Leinster V Toyota Cheetahs – The42.ie – February 15 2020

Leinster manage the storm to cruise past Cheetahs at the RDS

Leo Cullen’s side made it 17 wins on the bounce for the 2019/20 season.

Leinster 36

Toyota Cheetahs 12

Daire Walsh reports from the RDS

Amidst treacherous conditions at the RDS, Leinster comfortably swept past the challenge of Toyota Cheetahs to strengthen their grip at the summit of the Guinness PRO14 Conference A table.

While Storm Dennis had an adverse impact on the proceedings – the north and south stands were closed owing to healthy and safety precautions – Leo Cullen’s side knuckled down to make it 17 wins on the bounce for the 2019/20 season.

One of five players released from the Ireland squad for this game – Max Deegan, Luke McGrath, Ronan Kelleher and Dave Kearney being the others – Will Connors dotted down just past the first-quarter mark for his first try in a Leinster shirt.

Fly-half Frawley supplemented this deadlock-breaker with a routine conversion and also slotted a penalty after Cheetahs loosehead prop Charles Marais was yellow-carded. The Blues were now settling into a familiar groove and continued to punish an increasingly under siege visitors.

Making his first appearance since a 30 November victory against Glasgow Warriors, Michael Bent rounded off a 35th-minute attack with a powerful finish over the whitewash. Though Cheetahs were restored to their full compliment before the half’s end, there was enough time for Kelleher to claim his eighth try in just nine appearances this term.

With a 22-0 cushion already at their disposal, Leinster sealed their eighth bonus point of the campaign on the resumption. Rhys Ruddock was the latest player to cross over for the defending champions before Connors’ second try in the 51st-minute further enhanced the gap between the teams.

However, Leinster did come under some sustained pressure from the South Africans as a result of Sean Cronin’s sin-binning on the hour mark.

In the absence of the replacement hooker, the hosts leaked a try to Luan de Bruin with former Ulster scrum-half Ruan Pienaar on hand to add the bonuses.

The resilient Bloemfontein men bagged another five-pointer through Aidon Davis on the stroke of full-time, but Leinster had done enough to extend their lead at the top to 16 points in advance of Ulster’s evening time encounter against Ospreys.

Scorers:

Leinster

Tries: Will Connors 2, Michael Bent, Ronan Kelleher, Rhys Ruddock

Conversions: Ciaran Frawley [4 from 5]

Penalties: Ciaran Frawley [1 from 1]

Toyota Cheetahs

Tries: Luan de Bruin, Aidon Davis

Conversions: Ruan Pienaar [1 from 1], Louis Fouche [0 from 1]

LEINSTER: Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Jimmy O’Brien, Joe Tomane, Dave Kearney (Ronan Kelleher ’60 (Cian Kelleher ’70)); Ciaran Frawley (Harry Byrne ’65), Luke McGrath (Jamison Gibson-Park ’65); Peter Dooley (Michael Milne ’65), Ronan Kelleher (Sean Cronin ’52), Michael Bent (Roman Salanoa ’65); Ross Molony, Scott Fardy (Ryan Baird ’52), Rhys Ruddock (Scott Penny ’70), Will Connors, Max Deegan.

TOYOTA CHEETAHS: Rhyno Smith; Clayton Blommetjies, William Small-Smith, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Rabz Maxwane (Boan Venter ’31-‘40); Tian Schoeman (Louis Fouche ’68), Ruan Pienaar (Tian Meyer ’68); Charles Marais (Boan Venter ’47), Joseph Dweba (Wilmar Arnoldi ’47), Aranos Coetzee (Luan de Bruin ’47); Walt Steenkamp, JP du Preez (Aidon Davis ’69); Chris Massyn, Junior Pokomela (Gerhard Olivier ’68), Jasper Wiese.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse.

Posted in European Rugby | Comments Off on Guinness PRO14 Conference A: Leinster V Toyota Cheetahs – The42.ie – February 15 2020

Pre-Match Press Conference: Leinster V Cheetahs – Leo Cullen – The42.ie – February 15 2020

Cullen wary of Pienaar-powered Cheetahs as Leinster get back in gear

The reigning champions can extend their winning run, but that is no motivating factor for Leo Cullen.

THE WINNING STREAK is no distraction, insists Leo Cullen.

Four weeks have passed since the Champions Cup pool victory over Benetton brought Leinster over their previous record of 15 wins on the trot – achieved under Matt Williams in the 2001/02 season.

They will be searching for their 17th consecutive win of the term later today, when the Cheetahs provide the opposition for a Guinness PRO14 clash at the RDS (kick-off 2.30pm, eir Sport).

“It’s just one of those things. It’s bubbling in the background, but it’s not something we would really focus on in any way,” Cullen explained yesterday while stressing the need to plan ahead to compete on two fronts.

“We’ve a [European] quarter-final. If you lose, you’re out. We’ve done a lot to get that number one seed, which means you’re at home etc. The Pro14 is similar. We want to make sure we get ourselves in the best position possible, but we also want to have our own standards as well.

We don’t want to be this inconsistent team that’s really good one week and has a massive drop-off the next. It’s just not that enjoyable to be part of.”

Little fear of that.

Whereas Leinster have remained idle since that Benetton success on January 18, the Cheetahs have been busy bolstering their own Pro14 play-off prospects. Following back-to-back victories over the Southern Kings, they are now up to third in the Conference A table.

For Cullen, the chance to build further momentum will be their main focus for today’s game – rather than bringing Leinster’s winning sequence to an abrupt halt.

“The motivating factor for Cheetahs is making sure they try to get as high up the ladder themselves. They have a lot to play for rather than trying to deny another team something. I don’t think, generally, that is the strongest of motivators.

“A team like Cheetahs, where they sit at the moment, they are in the play-off spot. It is a chance for them to gather more points so that they can push on.”

While there will be a sense of familiarity from the past meetings between the two teams, Ruan Pienaar’s presence within the Cheetahs ranks could add considerable spice to this afternoon’s proceedings.

Following a two-year stint in Montpellier, the former Ulster scrum-half linked up with the Bloemfontein outfit last summer. With Storm Dennis set to take full effect over the course of the contest, Cullen expects Pienaar to be the driving force behind the Cheetahs challenge.

“Obviously he has experience of playing in Ireland. The conditions are due to be wet and windy, and he’s played in many a wet and windy night in Ravenhill,” Cullen said of the Springbok.

“He has a ton of experience and how different that [weather] is to what potentially these guys are used to.”

Leinster: Rob Kearney, Fergus McFadden, Jimmy O’Brien, Joe Tomane, Dave Kearney, Ciarán Frawley, Luke McGrath; Peter Dooley, Rónan Kelleher, Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Scott Fardy (Capt.) Rhys Ruddock, Will Connors, Max Deegan.

Replacements: Seán Cronin, Michael Milne, Roman Salanoa, Ryan Baird, Scott Penny, Jamison Gibson-Park, Harry Byrne, Cian Kelleher.

Cheetahs: Rhyno Smith, Clayton Blommetjies, William Small-Smith, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Rabz Maxwane, Tian Schoeman, Ruan Pienaar (c), Charles Marais, Joseph Dweba, Aranos Coetzee, Walt Steenkamp, JP du Preez, Chris Massyn, Junior Pokomela, Jasper Wiese

Replacements: Wilmar Arnoldi, Boan Venter, Luan de Bruin, Aidon Davis, Gerhard Olivier, Tian Meyer, Louis Fouche, Chris Smit

Daire Walsh

Posted in European Rugby | Comments Off on Pre-Match Press Conference: Leinster V Cheetahs – Leo Cullen – The42.ie – February 15 2020

Post-Match Reaction: Fitzgibbon Cup Final – Mark Coleman (UCC) – February 14 2020

Cork hurler Mark Coleman on why second Fitzgibbon success was so sweet

UCC’s Mark Coleman said that composure was the key to the Leesiders retaining their Fitzgibbon Cup title in DCU on Wednesday night.

Tom Kingston’s men had to overcome considerable adversity over the course of the contest.

In addition to leaking early goals to IT Carlow attackers Seamus Casey and Liam Blanchfield, they also lost defender Niall O’Leary to a red-card in the closing-quarter.

At that stage, they were three points down but outscored DJ Carey’s charges five points to one across the closing 10 minutes and almost six minutes of injury time to prevail.

Darragh Fitzgibbon and a Shane Conway free nudged the College two up before a last-gasp Enda Rowland free was deflected over the bar via joint-captain Paddy O’Loughlin’s helmet.

“We always knew there was going to be a threat of goals. It was just a matter of staying calm and not overreacting to them really.

“Sticking to our game plan. That’s what we did and kept tipping away. We did well to be going in at half-time only four points down,” the Blarney club man explained.

“I think that was the key and we kept ourselves in the game and never really panicked.

“We just clawed them back in the end. To be fair to IT Carlow they really put it up to us. With a man down, it was just a test of our character really. We just really had to dig it out.

“The boys up front, they’ve been doing the business for us all year. We try and do the hard work, get the ball into them. To be fair, they always deliver.”

In stark contrast to their routine victory over Mary Immaculate College, Limerick in the 2019 decider, UCC were made to work for their eventual one-point success, 0-18 to 2-11, at the north Dublin venue.

It was the same tally they hit in last weekend’s semi-final against DCU when Coleman’s soaring sideline gave them an 0-18 to 0-17 victory.

Because of the drama against Carlow, Coleman acknowledges this year’s triumph eclipses what they achieved 12 months earlier.

“There’s definitely a better buzz after the final this year. Last year we won it by a good few points in the end. To win by a point is just unbelievable.

“It’s nice to back up last year’s one.”

It sets the Cork-UCC contingent up neatly for the rest of the league, with O’Leary, Coleman, Fitzgibbon, Shane Kingston, Robert Downey and Robbie O’Flynn all vital to the Rebels’ prospects in 2020.

Posted in Colleges GAA | Comments Off on Post-Match Reaction: Fitzgibbon Cup Final – Mark Coleman (UCC) – February 14 2020

Leinster Schools Senior Cup Quarter-Final: Clongowes Wood College V St Gerard’s, Bray – The Irish Examiner – February 14 2020

Leinster Schools Senior Cup: Strong finish sees Clongowes secure place in last four

Clongowes Wood College 55 – 24 St Gerard’s, Bray

Clongowes Wood College will face Castleknock College in the Leinster Schools Senior Cup semi-final after they ran in eight tries to get the better of St Gerard’s, Bray at Donnybrook this afternoon.

Despite finding themselves on level terms in the early stages of the second half, the north Kildare outfit turned on the after burners to comfortably progress into the last-four. Meanwhile, defending champions St Michael’s College will take on Newbridge College on the opposite side of the draw.

Courtesy of Michael Spillane’s superb finish – and five points from the boot of Oisin Devitt – Clongowes developed a 10-point advantage during the early exchanges. While Craig Kenny touched down to get their Wicklow counterparts up and running, Eoghan Cumbers and Diarmuid McCormack subsequently powered over the whitewash to keep Clongowes firmly in the ascendancy.

However, front-row partners Brian Glass and Fred Happonen later crossed the Clongowes line to leave Gerard’s just seven points (24-17) in arrears at the break.

The momentum had now swung in the direction of Jason Emery’s side and they wiped out the Clongowes lead thanks to Kenny’s breakaway try five minutes after the resumption.

Although this threw down the gauntlet to Clongowes, they delivered in spectacular fashion. Replacements Harry O’Neill and David Wilkinson bagged tries either side of an Evan O’Boyle effort to place the outcome beyond doubt in the final-quarter.

Further scores arrived through Sean Sexton and Jack Kearney in the closing moments to cap a scintillating attacking showcase by Pat Kenny’s charges.

Scorers for Clongowes Wood College: M Spillane, E Cumbers, D McCormack, H O’Neill, E O’Boyle, D Wilkinson, S Sexton, J Kearney try each, O Devitt pen, 6 cons.

Scorers for St Gerard’s, Bray: C Kenny 2 tries, B Glass, F Happonen try each, P Burke 2 cons.

CLONGOWES WOOD COLLEGE: R Morrin; M Spillane, P Maher, C Grimes, S Sexton; C Reilly, O Devitt; L McMahon, E Cumbers, B Dooley; J Kearney, K Fitzpatrick; E O’Boyle, C Dowling, D McCormack.

Replacements: D Wilkinson for Reilly, H O’Neill for Fitzpatrick (both 45), H Wilkinson for Sexton, E Carr for O’Boyle (both 62), H McGoey for Devitt, R O’Regan for Cumbers (both 63), H Hogan for Dooley (64), A Mannion for Dowling (67).

ST GERARD’S, BRAY: C Long; J Brodeur, C O’Reilly, J Watson, C Kenny; P Burke, S Fitzpatrick; R Ledwidge, F Happonen, B Glass; M Merrin, T O’Connor; M Whelehan, C Pickering, A Long.

Replacements: O Newsome for Brodeur (10), O Hayes Restan for Fitzpatrick (35-37 & 57), C Desmond for Glass, T Wilkinson for Whelehan (both 41), M Von Teichmann for Wilkinson (43), B McCauley for Merrin (50), B Hogan for Pickering, K O’Grady for Long (both 57).

Referee: C Hogan (LRR).

Posted in Schools Rugby | Comments Off on Leinster Schools Senior Cup Quarter-Final: Clongowes Wood College V St Gerard’s, Bray – The Irish Examiner – February 14 2020

Leinster Schools Senior Cup Quarter-Final: Clongowes Wood College V St Gerard’s, Bray – The42.ie – February 13 2020

Eight-try Clongowes eventually surge past St Gerard’s to book semi-final spot

In a 79-point affair, Gerard’s fought back to level proceedings in the second half but Clongowes powered home in the final quarter.

Clongowes Wood College 55

St Gerard’s, Bray 24

Daire Walsh reports from Energia Park

CLONGOWES WOOD COLLEGE will face Castleknock College in the Leinster Schools Senior Cup semi-final after they ran in eight tries to get the better of St Gerard’s, Bray, at Donnybrook.

Despite finding themselves on level terms (24-24) in the early stages of the second half, Clongowes turned on the afterburners to comfortably progress into the last four. Defending champions St Michael’s College play Newbridge College on the opposite side of the draw.

Courtesy of Michael Spillane’s superb finish – and five points from the boot of Oisin Devitt – Clongowes developed a 10-point advantage during the early exchanges. While Craig Kenny touched down to get their Wicklow counterparts up and running, Eoghan Cumbers and Diarmuid McCormack subsequently powered over the whitewash to keep Clongowes firmly in the ascendancy.

However, a determined Gerard’s fired back with a stunning scoring blitz at the tail-end of the opening period. Front-row partners Brian Glass and Fred Happonen crossed the Clongowes line in clinical style to leave them just seven points (24-17) in arrears at the break.

The momentum had now swung in the direction of Jason Emery’s side and they proceeded to wipe out the Clongowes lead on the resumption. After he intercepted a pass from opposite number Charlie Reilly, Gerard’s out-half Patrick Burke put Kenny through for his second try of the action.

Although this threw down the gauntlet to Clongowes, they delivered in spectacular fashion.

Harry O’Neill and David Wilkinson were introduced as double replacements in the 45th minute and made telling impacts in their time on the pitch. Either side of a try for industrious flanker Evan O’Boyle, both players bagged five-pointers of their own to place the outcome beyond doubt in the final quarter.

Further scores arrived through Sean Sexton and Jack Kearney in the closing moments to cap a scintillating attacking showcase by Pat Kenny’s charges.

Clongowes Wood College Scorers:

Tries: Michael Spillane, Eoghan Cumbers, Diarmuid McCormack, Harry O’Neill, Evan O’Boyle, David Wilkinson, Sean Sexton, Jack Kearney

Conversions: Oisin Devitt (6)

Penalties: Oisin Devitt (1)

St Gerard’s, Bray Scorers:

Tries: Craig Kenny (2), Brian Glass, Fred Happonen

Conversions: Patrick Burke (2)

CLONGOWES WOOD COLLEGE: Rory Morrin; Michael Spillane, Peter Maher, Chris Grimes, Sean Sexton (Hugh Wilkinson ’62); Charlie Reilly (David Wilkinson ’45), Oisin Devitt (Harry McGoey ’63); Luke McMahon, Eoghan Cumbers (Ruairi O’Regan ’63), Barry Dooley (Hugh Hogan ’64); Jack Kearney, Killian Fitzpatrick (Harry O’Neill ’45); Evan O’Boyle (Eddie Carr ’62), Calum Dowling (Aran Mannion ’67), Diarmuid McCormack.

ST GERARD’S, BRAY: Cormac Long (Ken O’Grady ’57); Jacob Brodeur (Oliver Newsome ’10), Callan O’Reilly, Joshua Watson, Craig Kenny; Patrick Burke, Saul Fitzpatrick (Oscar Hayes Restan ’35-’37 & ’57); Ralph Ledwidge, Fred Happonen, Brian Glass (Callum Desmond ’41); Max Merrin (Bernard McCauley ’50), Thomas O’Connor; Matthew Whelehan (Timothy Wilkinson ’41 (Marcus Von Teichmann ’43)), Conor Pickering (Benjamin Hogan ’57), Aidan Long

Referee: Cillian Hogan

Posted in Schools Rugby | Comments Off on Leinster Schools Senior Cup Quarter-Final: Clongowes Wood College V St Gerard’s, Bray – The42.ie – February 13 2020

Schools Camogie Round-Up: The Evening Herald – February 13 2020

CAMOGIE

Dominicans exit in semi-final

Daire Walsh

DOMINICAN COLLEGE suffered a 0-18 to 1-4 reversal at the hands of St Mary’s High School, Midleton in an All-Ireland Senior ‘B’ Camogie Championship semi-final at Na Fianna GAA last Saturday.

The Griffith Avenue outfit had progressed to the national stage courtesy of their Dublin Schools Senior ‘A’ success over St Mary’s, Naas in Portmarnock last month. They remained in contention at the midway mark of their penultimate round clash in the Glasnevin venue, trailing their Leeside opponents by just five points (0-9 to 1-1).

However, a strong second half showing ensured that the Munster visitors ultimately prevailed in the end and they are now set to face another Dublin side – Loreto Beaufort, Rathfarnham – in the forthcoming All-Ireland decider.

Posted in Schools GAA | Comments Off on Schools Camogie Round-Up: The Evening Herald – February 13 2020

Trench Cup Final: Cork IT V Mary Immaculate College, Limerick – The Evening Echo – February 13 2020

Gore in top form as Cork IT footballers claim the Trench Cup in style

Cork IT 2-20 Mary I 0-12

CORK IT produced an impressive display at the DCU Sportsgrounds to capture the Trench Cup at the expense of Munster rivals Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

Courtesy of Eoin Lavers’ superb solo goal on 26 minutes, the Rebel outfit assumed a 1-10 to 0-6 interval lead. Despite encountering some stubborn resistance at times from Mary I, they comfortably regained their Sigerson Cup status for 2021.

While CIT’s quest for an automatic return to the top grade was the main focus in their home county, there was also considerable Leeside interest within the Mary I ranks. Sean Meehan (Kiskeam), Cathail O’Mahony (Mitchelstown), Ross Coleman (St James) were all named in their starting line-up for this showpiece affair.

Dan McCarthy (Clann Na Gael), Eoin Cashman (Castlemartyr) and Darragh Buckley (Clyda Rovers) were also notable inclusions amongst their list of reserve options. CIT had been the dominant force in the competition up to this point and underlined their credentials during a blistering opening to the contest.

After Nemo Rangers attacker Kevin O’Donovan had edged his side in front, Daniel Dineen, Damien Gore (two) and Kerry star Gavin O’Brien added further singles to create a sizeable gap on the scoreboard. The Mary I hurlers had lost out to IT Carlow in the same venue just four days earlier and the early sign were ominous for their footballers.

To their credit, the Treaty County men dug deep to work their way back into contention. Though nominally selected as a centre-forward, the aforementioned O’Mahony spent much of the evening positioned on the edge of the square.

He kicked a brace of points to get Mary I up and running before wing-back Colin Barrett broke forward to grab a score of his own on 12 minutes. CIT settled again through an excellent O’Brien effort, only for Mary I to once again display their undoubted resilience.

Either side of another Dineen contribution, O’Mahony split the uprights to keep the underdogs within touching distance of their big-time opponents. Barry Goldrick subsequently reduced the deficit to the bare minimum, but that was as close as Mary I came to causing an upset.

Dineen and O’Brien were both on target prior to Lavers’ scintillating major while O’Brien’s fourth of the tie provided additional momentum for CIT moving into the second period. Mary I initially threatened a fightback on the resumption through the dead-ball prowess of O’Mahony and Goldrick.

That was until player of the match O’Brien raided down the right-wing in the 38th-minute and angled a superb shot beyond the reach of opposition netminder David Croke. This effectively placed the outcome beyond doubt, but CIT were not prepared to rest on their laurels.

Following traded scores between Mark Buckley and O’Mahony, CIT registered four points without reply – including three for the elusive Gore. O’Mahony was on hand to halt this scoring sequence and he later added his eighth point inside stoppage-time.

CIT were determined to have the final say, however, and Gore matched O’Mahony’s final tally with a clinical display of sharpshooting. James Crean and Buckley also raised white flags in the dying moments to cap a memorable victory for the Cork college. On this evidence, they can expect to make a big splash on their return to the Sigerson Cup.

Scorers for Cork IT: Damien Gore 0-8 (0-3 f), Gavin O’Brien 1-4 (0-1 mark), Mark Buckley, Daniel Dineen 0-3 each, Eoin Lavers 1-0, James Crean (f), Kevin O’Donovan 0-1 each.

Mary I: Cathal O’Mahony 0-8 (0-7 f), Barry Goldrick 0-3 (0-2 f), Colin Barrett 0-1.

CORK IT: Anthony Casey; Adam McAuliffe, Sean Daly, Chris O’Donoghue; Brian Hodnett, Eoin Lavers, Paul Ring; Kieran Murphy, Killian O’Hanlon; Mark Buckley, Kevin O’Donovan, Gavin O’Brien; Damien Gore, Eoin McGreevy, Daniel Dineen.

Subs: James Crean for McGreevy (40), Conall Kennedy for Murphy (45), Mark Hodnett for O’Donovan, Rory Maguire for Dineen (both 54), Aaron Spriggs for McAuliffe (57).

MARY I: David Croke; Neilus Mackessy, Danny Dunleavy, Padraig O’Connor; Luka Brosnan, Sean Meehan, Colin Barrett; Dara Mac Gearailt, James McNeive; Barry Goldrick, Cathail O’Mahony, Ruadhain Ó Curráin; Ross Coleman, Patrick Darcy, Diarmuid O’Mahony.

Subs: Tom MacPhaidin for O’Connor, Christy O’Hagan for O’Mahony, Conor Beirne for Barrett (all 48), Ben Finnegan for O Currain (55).

Posted in Colleges GAA | Comments Off on Trench Cup Final: Cork IT V Mary Immaculate College, Limerick – The Evening Echo – February 13 2020

Fitzgibbon Cup Final: UCC V IT Carlow – The Irish Independent – February 13 2020

14-man UCC produce barnstorming finish to retain Fitzgibbon Cup and break Carlow hearts

UCC 0-18 IT Carlow 2-11

Daire Walsh

14-man UCC produced a sterling finish at the DCU Sportsgrounds to retain their Fitzgibbon Cup crown at the expense of a dogged IT Carlow outfit.

Despite having wing-back Niall O’Leary dismissed inside the final-quarter, the combined forces of Shane Conway, Shane Fitzgibbon and Darragh Fitzgibbon stood tall to get the Munster giants over the line.

Whereas UCC were seeking their 40th title at this grade, IT Carlow had their sights on a maiden Fitzgibbon success.

Under the stewardship of former Kilkenny marksman DJ Carey, the Barrowsiders have developed a midas touch in attack. They amassed a combined tally of 10 goals in their previous two games and maintained that clinical edge during the early moments of this showpiece contest.

After UCC centre-back Paddy O’Loughlin had opened the scoring with a pointed free, Carlow inside forward Seamus Casey kicked to the net for a second-minute major. Following traded points between Chris Nolan and Robbie O’Flynn, Shane Hurley was once again forced to pick the ball out of his net.

Full-forward Liam Blanchfield gathered possession close to goal and fired emphatically beyond the reach of the UCC netminder. Casey and Jerry Kelly were on target either side of a Conway effort – before the Leesiders had their first sustained spell of dominance.

Kingston and the impressive Conway bagged two points apiece in a productive purple patch to keep the holders within touch. IT Carlow racked up a number of wides in the second-quarter, but Casey and Enda Rowland converted frees to ensure they brought a 2-5 to 0-7 cushion into the interval.

With momentum on their side, Stephen Bergin and Nolan – the sole Carlow native in their starting line-up – extended the gap on the resumption. Seconds after his introduction as a substitute, Neil Montgomery split the uprights on the right-flank to give UCC a much-needed score.

Though Casey responded at the opposite end, Conway and Fitzgibbon points showed that UCC weren’t prepared to relinquish their crown without a fight. A Kingston point was sandwiched in between Casey and Nolan strikes, while Conway grabbed a 0-2 salvo to set-up a tantalising conclusion.

They suffered a potential hammer blow on the stroke of 50 minutes when O’Leary was red carded for an off-the-ball retaliation, but Kingston and Conway added renewed vigour for UCC in the closing minutes.

Conway subsequently levelled matters through a close-range free and Limerick’s Fitzgibbon then stepped forward to squeeze them in front for just the second time on the night.

Conway’s ninth point offered them further breathing space and though Rowland’s goal bound free deep into stoppage-time deflected just over the crossbar, UCC held out for a hard-fought win.

Scorers – UCC: S Conway 0-9 (7f), S Kingston 0-4, D Fitzgibbon 0-2, P O’Loughlin, M Kehoe, N Montgomery 0-1 each. IT CarlowS Casey 1-4 (0-4f), L Blanchfield 1-0, C Nolan 0-3, E Rowland 0-2 (2f), S Bergin, J Kelly 0-1 each.

UCC – S Hurley; D Lowney, R Downey, K O’Dwyer; P Cadell, P O’Loughlin, N O’Leary; D Fitzgibbon, M Coleman; R O’Flynn, C Boylan, D Griffin; M Kehoe, S Kingston, S Conway.

Subs: N Montgomery for O’Flynn (34), M O’Halloran for Kehoe (37), B Sheehan for Moylan (53), A Casey for Fitzgibbon (62).

IT CARLOW – E Rowland; S Reck, S Downey, F Hayes; P Delaney, J Cleere, M Harney; R Leahy, L Scanlon; J Kelly, C Dunbar, S Bergin; C Nolan, L Blanchfield, S Casey. Subs: R Maguire for Blanchfield (26).

REF – J Owens (Wexford).

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