POST-MATCH REACTION: NAAS CBS COACH JOE KELLY
Rugby booming in Naas CBS
By Daire Walsh
NAAS CBS coach Joe Kelly was full of praise for his squad after they rounded off a memorable season by claiming the Leinster Schools Junior League Division 2A title at Donnybrook last Thursday.
Having already captured the Fr Godfrey Cup and Duff Cup in recent months, they got the better of Kildare rivals Ardscoil na Trionoide (Athy) to secure a unique treble for the school.
“We’ve come here at the end of the season, we’re playing since September. To keep the enthusiasm and focus to the very end was always going to be a little bit of a challenge. But we played a lot of attractive looking rugby. If you came to watch this game, you’d have seen both teams actually threw it around quite a bit,” Kelly remarked in the aftermath of the contest.
“Maybe not as clinical as we’d like to be, but I think we managed to get through in the end. We gave all 23 squad members [a run], some guys who hadn’t really played in the early part of the season. They’ve really come into their own in the last few games.”
Given they also reached the quarter-final of the Leinster Schools Junior Cup, Naas were firm favourites to prevail on the day. Nevertheless, Kelly was aware of Ardscoil’s desire to spoil their celebrations and felt they made it harder than the 19-0 final scoreline might suggest.
“There’s a lot at stake for both teams in some ways. I know we’ve won the two cup competitions, but we still wanted to win the treble.
“Obviously Athy would take great pride in taking a trophy from the season as well. It was a really well-contested and tough game.
“Unfortunately, our number six Jamie Carroll is off to hospital there. Just precautionary, he should be okay. We’ve a few walking wounded, but I reckon the boys will be okay.”
Like their Duff Cup final in the same venue – Salesian College, Celbridge provided the opposition on that occasion – this was an all-Kildare affair at Energia Park.
Kelly believes this is testament to the grassroots development of rugby throughout the province of Leinster and he hopes CBS can continue to be the market leader in this regard.
“The work that is done in CCRO level, at club level and at school level in the wider provinces, it’s paying dividends. It has been growing for a number of years. We want to keep that up,” Kelly added.