School finals fall by the wayside
By Daire Walsh
THE past week was set to have been one of the most memorable periods in the recent history of Newbridge College. Thanks to their respective semi-final victories over Terenure College and St Michael’s College, the school had simultaneously reached the Senior Cup and Junior Cup rugby finals for the first time since 1939.
Fortune wasn’t on the side of the south Kildare men 81 years ago. The senior outfit lost to Blackrock College in their showpiece meeting, while their junior counterparts were defeated by Cistercian College Roscrea in a replayed final affair.
Yet given ‘Bridge had accounted for defending double champions St Michael’s College in both competitions this term, hope was high they could emerge with the silverware on this occasion. The record books may well show in future months that Newbridge were crowned champions in 2020, but they won’t be the only name added to the roll of honour.
In response to the Government advice surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the IRFU – in conjunction with the four provinces of Ireland – announced the suspension of all domestic activity from March 12 to March 29 inclusive.
This immediately led to the postponement of both the Senior Cup final between Newbridge and Clongowes Wood College at the RDS on March 17 – which would have been the first all-Kildare showcase at that grade – in addition to the Junior Cup showdown involving ‘Bridge and Blackrock College in Energia Park, Donnybrook five days later.
Further action was then taken by the union last Thursday (March 19) when the domestic seasons were brought to an abrupt haul. Within their statement, the IRFU said:
“Cups will be shared by finalists, where cup competitions have reached the final fixture.”
Given schools rugby forms a very big part of the domestic scene, this in all probability will see Newbridge College sharing the Senior Cup and Junior Cup crowns with Clongowes and Blackrock over the next 12 months.
Though it lends an anti-climactic feel to what had been extraordinary campaigns for both of Newbridge’s squads, it shouldn’t take away from the excellent performances they delivered in recent weeks and months.
When contacted about the IRFU’s decision, Newbridge junior coach Dave Brew said:
“Everyone within the college was understandably disappointed at the cancellation of the game but health and safety has to be the number one priority in a difficult time for the country.”