FAI Schools Dr Tony O’Neill Senior National Cup Final: Carndonagh CS V Midleton CBS – The Evening Echo – March 21 2019

Heartbreak for Midleton CBS aces in the All-Ireland soccer final  

Carndonagh CS 1 Midleton CBS 0

THERE was heartbreak for first-time finalists Midleton CBS at Home Farm FC as Jack Doherty’s 82nd-minute finish guided Carndonagh CS towards a narrow triumph in the Dr Tony O’Neill Senior National Cup decider.

Just when the game appeared destined for extra-time, Doherty made a vital intervention to ensure the Donegal school secured their third title in four seasons. It meant it was a very tough week for the East Cork school, as their Harty Cup-winning hurlers were defeated in an All-ireland final two days earlier.

Both teams had reached this showpiece as a consequence of dramatic semi-final victories.

At the RSC last Monday week, Midleton edged out Wexford CBS in a nail-biting penalty shootout – Joe Stack with the decisive strike in a 5-4 success.

Defending champions Carndonagh looked set for an ignominious exit at the Showgrounds on March 5, when they faced a three-goal deficit at the hands of St Louis CS, Kiltimagh. Martin Cavanagh’s side refused to throw in the towel, however, and they eventually claimed a 4-3 win courtesy of Fionn McClure’s stunning 89th-minute goal.

This gave them significant momentum ahead of their visit to north Dublin, but confidence was also high within the Midleton camp.

Setting up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Stack and Fionn Duggan often sat deep to provide protection for their back-four.

Loic Nguefang was deployed in a lone striker role, while Matthew O’Reilly operated as a link between the midfield and attack.

Charlie Whalley – a goalscoring hero in Midleton’s last-four encounter – offered a strong outlet down the left-flank as the tie progressed.

After his initial surge on 21 minutes, O’Reilly fired just past the target – much to the relief of Carndonagh netminder Pádraig O’Donnell.

Nevertheless, the Ulster outfit posed a number of questions for the Midleton defence once they broke inside the final third.

Corey McBride curled just over at a tight-angle and, following hesitancy by Midleton skipper Arthur Nganou, Mikey Friel had an effort cleared off the line.

The Leeside netminder subsequently came to his side’s rescue just shy of the hour mark, turning Kieran Farren’s attempt behind for a corner.

A long-distance Stack drive was superbly tipped over by O’Donnell in the dying stages of the half – ensuring the sides remained on level terms at the break.

It had been a largely encouraging opening period overall for Midleton, who understandably came into the showpiece as underdogs.

They sensed Carndonagh were there for the taking and ramped up the pressure on the resumption.

Stack almost caught out O’Donnell with an audacious set-piece on the left, before Nguefang also tested the resolve of the Donegal custodian from 25 yards.

In an attempt to weather this storm, Carndonagh introduced Nathan Logue for Donal Doherty on 58 minutes.

This proved to be an effective ploy on Carndonagh’s part, as they quickly got themselves back on the front-foot. Friel jinked his way into the Midleton box on the hour, marginally pulling his shot past the left-hand post.

He later played in Rudden for a clear-cut opening, only for him to once again fire past the range.

Moving into the final quarter, the pacy frontman produced a fine save from the outstretched fingertips of Nganou.

With neither side possessing a clinical edge, Midleton looked set to face extra-time for a second game in succession. This was until Doherty stepped forward to finally break the deadlock.

The Carndonagh midfielder ghosted into the Midleton area and glanced a telling delivery into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

This left Midleton with precious little time to address the balance and their opponents ultimately held out for a narrow win.

CARNDONAGH COMMUNITY SCHOOL: Padraig O’Donnell; Lee McLaughlin, Jake Harkin, Conor O’Donnell, Donal Doherty (Nathan Logue 58); Kieran Farren, Jack Doherty; Mikey Friel, Corey McBride, Fionn McClure; Luke Rudden (Pearse McCarron 85).

MIDLETON CBS: Arthur Nganou; Dylan O’Halloran, Shane O’Riordan, Jamie Collins, Max Ahern; Joe Stack, Fionn Duggan; Neil Cunningham (Jamie O’Hanlon 80), Matthew O’Reilly, Charlie Whalley; Loic Nguefang.

Referee: Derek Carey (DDSL).

Posted in Schools Soccer | Comments Off on FAI Schools Dr Tony O’Neill Senior National Cup Final: Carndonagh CS V Midleton CBS – The Evening Echo – March 21 2019

Rugby Column Number 148: The Kildare Nationalist – March 19 2019

RUGBY COLUMN – MARCH 19

By Daire Walsh

ON a mixed weekend for Irish rugby overall, Athy RFC were provided with a reason to be cheerful at Colwyn Park on Friday evening.

Local boy Martin Moloney had been a mainstay of the Ireland U20s on their way to securing a Six Nations title with a round to spare. A superb victory over France at Musgrave Park last Friday week helped them to claim the Championship honours and they had a Grand Slam in their sights for an away trip to Wales seven days later.

While they had already ended a nine-year wait for a Six Nations, you have to go back to 2007 for their most recent underage Slam – when current senior stars Cian Healy and Keith Earls were both involved.

Moloney featured prominently under Noel McNamara at U18 level and the former Clongowes Wood College coach has kept faith with him at blindside flanker. Given all that was at stake, Ireland were understandably nervous in the early exchanges at the seaside resort.

They fell 10-0 adrift to a motivated Welsh side, before Cork Constitution’s Jonathan Wren pounced for a try just shy of the interval. Now that their challenge was back on track, Ireland stepped up a gear on the resumption.

Dylan Tierney-Martin continued his impressive scoring form with a 47th-minute try, converted by stand-in place-kicker Ben Healy. Jac Morgan’s five-pointer for Wales placed a spanner in the works, only for Colm Reilly and Thomas Clarkson to subsequently cross over the whitewash at the opposite end.

Ireland eventually claimed a 26-17 success to complete a clean sweep for the 2019 tournament. In comparison to the high of this magnificent triumph, the mood was decidedly low for the senior men and women’s teams in the aftermath of their crushing defeats to the Welsh.

Ireland were hoping to spoil Wales’ own Grand Slam party when they met at the Principality Stadium on Saturday. The decision to close the roof – on Ireland’s request – caused plenty of headlines in the build-up and it appeared to backfire on the visitors.

Eadestown’s Tadhg Beirne was included for his Six Nations debut in the second-row, but it was Wales who dominated the contest from start to finish. Joe Schmidt’s charges had to wait until stoppage-time to open their account – replacement Jordan Larmour touching down to cut the final deficit to 18 (25-7).

After a superb 2018, an underwhelming spring raises massive concerns ahead of Ireland’s forthcoming World Cup campaign. A disappointing Six Nations ended in a humbling 24-5 reversal for Adam Griggs’ women’s outfit at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday.

Despite 17-year-old Galway teenager Beibhinn Parsons breaking the deadlock in the opening stages, they couldn’t halt the growing momentum of the hosts. Four defeats out of five and a fifth-place finish has raised concerns about the direction the team is currently moving in, with Kildare native Jenny Murphy (speaking during RTE’s coverage of the game) calling on the IRFU to provide better pathways for the 15s programme.

Posted in Rugby Column | Comments Off on Rugby Column Number 148: The Kildare Nationalist – March 19 2019

LIDL National Football League Division One: Dublin V Monaghan – The Evening Herald – March 19 2019

JACKIES LOOK TO BOOK SEMI

Finnegan returns as Aherne his Farney hard

LIDL LGFA NFL DIVISION 1

DUBLIN………………………………5-14

MONAGHAN…………………………3-10

DAIRE WALSH

MICK Bohan was delighted to welcome Sinead Finnegan back into the fold at the DCU Sportsgrounds on Saturday as Dublin recorded a convincing 10-point victory over Monaghan in Division One of the LIDL National Football League.

A defensive stalwart in the back-to-back All-Ireland successes of 2017 and 2018, Finnegan completed the full 60 minutes on her first appearance of the year.

“Finno is back, it’s great. She hasn’t been with us all year. She came back with us this week, we’re delighted to have her back. She obviously played the colleges with DCU, but she’s in good fettle,” the Dublin boss said.

The Clontarf man is gradually re-integrating some key figures as the league progresses, while also giving some fringe players an opportunity to shine on the big stage. Following brief cameos in wins against Donegal and Westmeath, reigning Football of the Year Sinead Aherne bagged an impressive tally of 3-3.

The Cork-based Noelle Healy also chipped in with three points, but there are others who are expected to return for Sunday’s trip to a high-flying Galway.

“She (Aherne) has had very little game time. Ultimately, those players need games too. You can’t expect them to be match sharp if they haven’t played. Obviously the likes of Noelle, that’s her second game back with us. Every time she’s travelling from Cork, so she needs games as well.

“We’d a lot of the girls like Niamh McEvoy, Martha Byrne and Niamh Collins playing colleges. We gave them a bit of a break this week.”

In total, Dublin started with five of the team that defeated Cork in last September’s All-Ireland decider at Croke Park. Three of that line-up were introduced off the bench as half-time substitutes – goalkeeper Ciara Trant, Lyndsey Davey and Carla Rowe – before Nicole Owens also entered the fray during the latter stages.

Despite coming under some early pressure from the Farney county, Dublin established an outstanding 5-3 to 0-3 cushion on the first-quarter mark. The elusive Aherne claimed a hat-trick in this period, supplementing additional efforts by Siobhan Woods and former Republic of Ireland international Siobhan Killeen.

To their credit, Monaghan staged a mini rally that included a three-pointer for Ciara McAnespie. Dublin’s inside forward line of Aherne, Healy and Killeen continued to make hay, however, and they brought a 13-point buffer into the break (5-7 to 1-6).

A plethora of replacements meant the hosts were a little disjointed on the restart and Monaghan susbsequently grabbed two goals through Muireann Atkinson and Leanne Maguire (penalty). Nevertheless, Rowe (two), Davey and Orlagh Nolan added their names to the scoresheet, propelling Dublin towards a four consecutive league triumph.

A semi-final place will be guaranteed with one point, Bohan is looking forward to facing the in-form duo of Galway and Cork.

“Next week, it’s a different level now. Obviously Galway are top of the table and Cork had a smashing win against Donegal. We know the quality is going to step up,” Bohan added.

Scorers – Dublin: S Aherne 3-3 (0-3f), S Killeen 1-2, S Woods 1-0, N Healy 0-3, C Rowe 0-2, J Dunne, N Hetherton, O Nolan, L Davey 0-1 each. Monaghan: L Maguire 1-5 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), M Atkinson 1-2 (0-2f), C McAnespie 1-1, C Courtney 0-2.

DUBLIN: R Fleming; R Ruddy, O Carey, C Ruddy; S Finnegan, K Fitzgibbon, L Magee; J Dunne, N Hetherton; H O’Neill, S Woods, K Sullivan; S Aherne, S Killeen, N Healy. Subs: C Trant for Fleming, S Fagan for C Ruddy, O Nolan for O’Neill, L Davey for Woods, C Rowe for Sullivan (all h-t), E Kehoe for R Ruddy (44), C McGuigan for Killeen, N Owens for Magee (53), O Whyte for Aherne (56).

MONAGHAN: N McGuirk; N Kerr, S Boyd, H McSkane; A McAnespie, R Courtney, A McCarey; S Coyle, E McAnespie; C McBride, L Maguire, E Woods; C Courtney (capt.), M Atkinson, C McAnespie. Subs: C Treanor for McBride (43), B McAleer for McSkane (53).

MENTORS – Dublin: Mick Bohan, Ken Robinson, Sorcha Farrelly, Paul Casey, Paul Gilheaney, Kathleen Colreavy. Monaghan: Niall Treanor, Ciaran Murphy, Sean McDermott, Adam Treanor, Angela McKenna.

Referee: Stephen McNulty (Wicklow).

WIDES – Dublin: 5 (2+3). Monaghan: 2 (2+0).

CONDITIONS: Mixed weather, but mostly dry and settled.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Sinead Aherne (Dublin).

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LIDL National Football League Division One: Dublin V Westmeath – The Westmeath Independent – March 9 2019

LADIES’ GAA: LIDL LADIES’ NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 1

Jones impresses for spirited Westmeath

DUBLIN 1-8

WESTMEATH 1-3

DAIRE WALSH

DESPITE a spirited effort amidst torrential conditions at the DCU Sportsgrounds last Sunday afternoon, Westmeath fell to a third Division 1 defeat.

Following reversals to Cork and Galway during rounds three and four respectively, the Lake County outfit were seeking a return to winning ways in the top-flight.

With teenage attacker Anna Jones in fine form, they pose a number of questions for the Sky Blues – who they also face in the final of this summer’s Leinster Senior Football Championship.

Nevertheless, with the experienced duo of Carla Rowe and Noelle Healy leading the way, the league and All-Ireland champions ultimately prevailed. Westmeath displayed their intent straight from the throw-in as Annie Dolan fired agonisingly past Ciara Trant’s right-hand post.

While Dublin responded to this let-off by breaking the deadlock through Oonagh Whyte, the impressive Jones eventually raised a white flag at the opposite end.

Westmeath’s Sarah Dillon was unfortunate to see her close-range effort smothered by the retreating Dublin defence, but they also restricted their provincial rivals when they threatened to break forward.

As expected, though, Mick Bohan’s Metropolitans squeezed in front courtesy of a Carla Rowe free. When the marauding Aoife Kane was picked out in space on the right-flank, she floated the ball between the posts to double the home team’s lead.

In the absence of Footballer of the Year Sinead Aherne (who later appeared as a second-half substitute), the aforementioned Rowe was on placed-ball duties for Dublin. After converting another free on 16 minutes, she latched onto a Kane pass to register a fine score on the run.

Rowe was joined up front by Clann Mhuire compatriot Whyte – a late inclusion in the Blues’ line-up. She added a second point on the turn in the 26th-minute to leave Westmeath staring into a interval deficit of 0-1 to 0-6.

Having already made a couple of alterations in the opening period, manager Sean Finnegan also introduced Sarah Dolan on the resumption. It was a much-changed Dublin side that re-entered the fray, with Sinead Goldrick assuming her customary role in the half-back line.

Goldrick recently featured for Foxrock/Cabinteely in the All-Ireland senior club final alongside Fiona Claffey – one of Westmeath’s best performers in this contest. Even though they soon found themselves adrift (Dublin inside forward Siobhan Killeen curling between the posts), Jones’ second point on the stroke of 40 minutes significantly lifted their spirits.

Only for the outstretched fingertips of substitute netminder Rachel Fleming, the Mullingar Shamrocks ace may well have rattled the Dublin net on this occasion. Instead, the holders increased the gap to eight points with a somewhat fortuitous three-pointer.

Noelle Healy’s speculative shot looked set to climb over the woodwork, but at the final moment it drifted beyond the reach of Milltown’s Karen Walsh. Though this had all the appearance of an unassailable cushion, a resilient Westmeath fired back in determined fashion.

A successful Leanne Slevin free handed them their third point of the tie and a morale-boosting goal followed with just nine minutes remaining. Holding a numerical advantage as a result of Olwen Carey’s sin-binning, Westmeath worked the ball towards Lucy McCartan.

Her right-footed drive somehow found its way into the path of Jones and she bravely fisted home to bring the margin down to four. The game was still alive for Westmeath at this juncture – although scoring opportunities continued to come at a premium.

Dublin showed all of their experience in the dying moments, however, and Aherne slotted over a late free to get them over the line.

Westmeath’s next outing is at home on St Patrick’s Day to Mayo, managed of course by Mullingar man Peter Leahy.

Scorers – Dublin: C Rowe 0-3 (2f), N Healy 1-0, O Whyte 0-2, S Aherne (f), A Kane, S Killeen 0-1 each. Westmeath: A Jones 1-2, L Slevin 0-1 (f).

Dublin – Ciara Trant; Rachel Ruddy, Niamh Collins, Emma McDonagh; Aoife Kane, Lauren Magee, Sarah Fagan; Carla Rowe, Olwen Carey; Eabha Rutledge, Nicole Owens, Kate Sullivan; Siobhan Kileen, Noelle Healy, Oonagh Whyte.

Subs: Rachel Fleming for Trant, Orlagh Nolan for Rutledge, Niamh Hetherton for Whyte, Sinead Goldrick for Fagan (all h-t), Sinead Aherne for Sullivan (41), Ciara McGuigan for Rowe, Siobhan Woods for Collins (both 45), Niamh McEvoy for Killeen (55).

Westmeath – Karen Walsh; Rachel Dillon, Jennifer Rogers, Lucy Power; Fiona Coyle, Nick Feery, Fiona Claffey; Maud-Annie Foley, Vicky Carr; Jo-hanna Maher, Anna Jones, Lucy McCartan; Leanne Slevin, Sarah Dillon, Annie Dolan.

Subs: Karen McDermott for Maher (23), Aoife O’Malley for Carr (25), Sarah Dolan for Dillon, Maher for O’Malley (both h-t), Dillon for Dolan (39), Carr for McDermott (50), Laura Brennan for Maher (55), Ashley Ruane for Slevin (61).

Referee: Jonathan Murphy (Carlow).

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LIDL National Football League Division One: Dublin V Westmeath – The Westmeath Independent – March 9 2019

LGFA: LIDL NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 1

Westmeath battle hard in grim conditions but Dubs do enough

DUBLIN 1-8

WESTMEATH 1-3

DAIRE WALSH

DESPITE a spirited effort amid torrential conditions last Sunday afternoon, Westmeath fell to a third Division 1 defeat as Dublin claimed victory at the DCU Sportsgrounds.

Following reversals to Cork and Galway during rounds three and four respectively, the Lake County outfit were seeking a return to winning ways in the top flight. With teenage attacker Anna Jones in fine form, they posed a number of questions for the Sky Blues – who they also face in the final of this summer’s Leinster Senior Football Championship.

Nevertheless, with the experienced duo of Carla Rowe and Noelle Healy leading the way, the league and All-Ireland champions ultimately prevailed.

Westmeath displayed their intent straight from the throw-in as Annie Dolan fired agonisingly past Ciara Trant’s right-hand post. While Dublin responded to this let-off by breaking the deadlock through Oonagh Whyte, the impressive Jones eventually raised a white flag at the opposite end.

Westmeath’s Sarah Dillon was unfortunate to see her close-range effort smothered by the retreating Dublin defence, but they also restricted their provincial rivals when they threatened to break forward. But Mick Bohan’s Metropolitans squeezed in front courtesy of a Carla Rowe free. When the marauding Aoife Kane was picked out in space on the right flank, she floated the ball between the posts to double the home team’s lead.

In the absence of Footballer of the Year Sinead Aherne (who later appeared as a second-half substitute), the aforementioned Rowe was on placed-ball duties for Dublin. After converting another free on 16 minutes, she latched onto a Kane pass to register a fine score on the run.

Rowe was joined up front by Clann Mhuire compatriot Whyte – a late inclusion in the Blues’ line-up. She added a second point on the turn in the 26th-minute to leave Westmeath staring into a interval deficit of 0-6 to 0-1.

Having already made a couple of alterations in the opening period, Westmeath manager Sean Finnegan also introduced Sarah Dolan on the resumption. It was a much-changed Dublin side that re-entered the fray, with Sinead Goldrick assuming her customary role in the half-back line.

Goldrick recently featured for Foxrock/Cabinteely in the All-Ireland senior club final alongside Fiona Claffey – one of Westmeath’s best performers in this contest.

Even though Westmeath soon found themselves further adrift (Dublin inside forward Siobhan Killeen curling between the posts), Jones’ second point on the stroke of 40 minutes significantly lifted their spirits.

Only for the outstretched fingertips of substitute netminder Rachel Fleming, the Mullingar Shamrocks ace may well have rattled the Dublin net on this occasion. Instead, the holders increased the gap to eight points with a somewhat fortuitous three-pointer. Noelle Healy’s speculative shot looked set to climb over the woodwork, but at the final moment it drifted beyond the reach of Milltown’s Karen Walsh.

Though the Dubs appeared to have an unassailable cushion, a resilient Westmeath fired back in determined fashion.

A successful Leanne Slevin free handed them their third point of the tie and a morale-boosting goal followed with just nine minutes remaining. Holding a numerical advantage as a result of Olwen Carey’s sin-binning, Westmeath worked the ball towards Lucy McCartan.

Her right-footed drive somehow found its way into the path of Jones and she bravely fisted home to bring the margin down to four.

The game was still alive for Westmeath at this juncture – although scoring opportunities continued to be at a premium. Dublin showed all of their experience in the dying moments, however, and Aherne slotted over a late free to get them over the line.

Westmeath’s next outing is on March 17 at home to Mayo, managed of course by Mullingar man Peter Leahy.

Scorers – Dublin: C Rowe 0-3 (2f), N Healy 1-0, O Whyte 0-2, S Aherne (f), A Kane, S Killeen 0-1 each. Westmeath: A Jones 1-2, L Slevin 0-1 (f).

Dublin – Ciara Trant; Rachel Ruddy, Niamh Collins, Emma McDonagh; Aoife Kane, Lauren Magee, Sarah Fagan; Carla Rowe, Olwen Carey; Eabha Rutledge, Nicole Owens, Kate Sullivan; Siobhan Kileen, Noelle Healy, Oonagh Whyte.

Subs: Rachel Fleming for Trant, Orlagh Nolan for Rutledge, Niamh Hetherton for Whyte, Sinead Goldrick for Fagan (all h-t), Sinead Aherne for Sullivan (41), Ciara McGuigan for Rowe, Siobhan Woods for Collins (both 45), Niamh McEvoy for Killeen (55).

Westmeath – Karen Walsh; Rachel Dillon, Jennifer Rogers, Lucy Power; Fiona Coyle, Nick Feery, Fiona Claffey; Maud-Annie Foley, Vicky Carr; Jo-hanna Maher, Anna Jones, Lucy McCartan; Leanne Slevin, Sarah Dillon, Annie Dolan.

Subs: Karen McDermott for Maher (23), Aoife O’Malley for Carr (25), Sarah Dolan for Dillon, Maher for O’Malley (both h-t), Dillon for Dolan (39), Carr for McDermott (50), Laura Brennan for Maher (55), Ashley Ruane for Slevin (61).

Referee: Jonathan Murphy (Carlow).

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Leinster Schools Senior Cup Final: St Michael’s College V Gonzaga College – The Irish Examiner (Print) – March 18 2019

Powerful Michael’s storm to third title

Leinster Schools’ Senior Cup final

St Michael’s College 28

Gonzaga College 5

Daire Walsh

RDS Arena

St Michael’s College head coach Emmet MacMahon admitted his relief after his side’s emphatic Leinster Schools’ Senior Cup triumph over Gonzaga College at the RDS yesterday.

Courtesy of tries from Jack Boyle (two), Lee Barron and vice-captain Rob Gilsenan, the Ailesbury Road outfit added to their previous final successes in 2007 and 2012.

They suffered a crushing defeat to Belvedere College in the semi-final of last year’s competition – having led 19-3 with just 10 minutes remaining – a result that spurned them onto greater heights in 2019.

“Over the moon. What a cup run, really. I think there’s just utter relief down in the changing room. Those lads have been through a lot, all of them. Whether they lost a Junior Cup final or they were involved last year,” the UCD second-row remarked.

“The lads were on a mission all year just to set things right. Just so proud of them. Every one of them.”

Outsiders Gonzaga in their first senior final, had a nightmare start when Michael’s loosehead prop Boyle touched down on seven minutes.

Thanks in no small part to a powerful set-piece, Michael’s continued to place the ‘Zaga defence under immense pressure.

Following another extended attacking spell, the excellent Boyle claimed his second try off a close-range drive. ‘Zaga cut the interval deficit to nine (14-5) with a stoppage-time score by lock Jack Coolican, before suffering a set-back on the resumption.

Henry Godson – hat-trick hero in their semi-final win over Clongowes Wood – was forced off with an injury and Michael’s immediately established a foothold deep inside the opposition half.

Hooker Barron eventually grabbed his second try in as many games, leaving Gonzaga with too much ground to cover inside the final quarter.

They pushed hard for a consolation try, only for Michael’s to have the final say with a breakaway Gilsenan effort on the hour. Chris Cosgrave increased his seasonal haul to 47 points with a fourth conversion, easing the south Dubliners towards a convincing triumph.

Because the school were Junior Cup champions just two years ago, Michael’s will be favourites to retain their crown in 2020. Some of their more influential performers will need to be replaced, but MacMahon is confident they can add to their three senior titles.

“If you look at our sixth year players, they’re some of the best players to ever go through our school. Andrew Smith at full-back, our captain Mark Hernan. Rob Gilsenan, John Fish. The spine of the team there are our sixth years. I thought they were incredible all year.

“That’s going to be the challenge now. To make sure we keep the lads as hungry as they were this year. I don’t think there’s any issue with it. They’re a very driven group.”

Scorers for St Michael’s College: J Boyle 2 tries, L Barron, R Gilsenan try, C Cosgrave 4 cons.

Scorers for Gonzaga College: J Coolican try.

ST MICHAEL’S COLLEGE: A Smith; E Kelly, C Cosgrave, S O’Kelly, M O’Brien; N Carroll, R Gilsenan; J Boyle, L Barron, F Finlay; S Woods, J Fish; J Guinane, M Hernan, W Hickey.

Replacements: B Victory for Barron (53), J Power for Finlay (56), R Van Den Asker for Kelly (63), C Booth for Woods (67), J Boland for Boyle, J Woods for Gilsenan, H McWade for O’Kelly, L Fehily for Fish (all 68).

GONZAGA COLLEGE: C Hennessy; F Ó hOisín, F O’Grady, K Morgan, B Barron; H Colbert, J Connolly; H Godson, H Fitzgerald, R Shaw; L Tyrell, J Coolican; C Kirby O Briain, T Cullen, J Barry.

Replacements: L Hammond for Godson (36), A Henry for Kirby O Briain (47), S Grimley for Shaw, M Colgan for Colbert, JJ Walsh for Ó hOisín (all 67), G Kenny for Fitzgerald, O Rogers for Coolican, S Wilson for Barron (all 68).

Referee: B MacNiece (LRR).

Posted in Schools Rugby | Comments Off on Leinster Schools Senior Cup Final: St Michael’s College V Gonzaga College – The Irish Examiner (Print) – March 18 2019

Leinster Schools Senior Cup Final: St Michael’s College V Gonzaga College – The Irish Examiner (Online) – March 17 2019

St Michael’s College win third Leinster Schools’ Senior Cup

St Michael’s College 28 Gonzaga College 5

St Michael’s College were crowned Leinster Schools’ Senior Cup champions for the third time in their history with an emphatic victory over Gonzaga College at the RDS Arena.

Jack Boyle grabbed a brace of first-half tries to set Michael’s on their way, before Lee Barron and vice-captain Rob Gilsenan also crossed to add to their previous successes in 2007 and 2012.

Given it was their first appearance in a senior final, it was understandable that Gonzaga were rank outsiders for this contest.

Even though Michael’s returned to this stage for the first time since 2013, they had already collected the scalps of Blackrock and Belvedere en route to this showpiece affair. Indeed, the Aylesbury Road outfit quickly stamped their authority on the play courtesy of Boyle’s deadlock-breaking score on seven minutes.

At the end of a multi-phase attack, the loosehead prop touched down in clinical style. Aided by a strong breeze, outside centre Chris Cosgrave converted to give Michael’s an early platform.

Thanks in no small part to their powerful set-piece – superbly marshalled by skipper Mark Hernan – Emmet MacMahon’s charges continued to place the ‘Zaga defence under immense pressure. While the Ranelagh men held out for long stretches, they fell further behind in the second-quarter.

Following another extended spell, the excellent Boyle claimed his second try off a close-range finish. Cosgrave was once again on hand to supply the extras, but Michael’s were subsequently reined in by the resilient ‘Zaga.

After keeping their south Dublin rivals pinned inside their own ’22’, lock Jack Coolican crashed over for a stoppage-time score. Despite being just nine points adrift (14-5), ‘Zaga suffered a set-back on the restart when Henry Godson was withdrawn through injury.

The absence of the influential front-row (hat-trick hero in their semi-final win over Clongowes Wood) was immediately felt as the Michael’s pack established a foothold inside the opposition half.

TMO Ken Henley Willis ruled out an initial effort on the left-flank, though Barron eventually grabbed his second try in as many games underneath the posts. Moving into the final-quarter, Gonzaga pushed hard for a consolation score.

However, it was Michael’s who had the final say on a sunny afternoon in Ballsbridge. Capitalising on Andrew Smith’s lung-bursting gallop, Gilsenan completed a breakaway effort on the hour. Cosgrave increased his seasonal haul to 47 points with another outstanding strike off the kicking tee as St Michael’s eased towards a convincing triumph.

Scorers for St Michael’s College: J Boyle 2 tries, L Barron, R Gilsenan try, C Cosgrave 4 cons.

Scorers for Gonzaga College: J Coolican try.

ST MICHAEL’S COLLEGE: A Smith; E Kelly, C Cosgrave, S O’Kelly, M O’Brien; N Carroll, R Gilsenan; J Boyle, L Barron, F Finlay; S Woods, J Fish; J Guinane, M Hernan, W Hickey.

Replacements: B Victory for Barron (53), J Power for Finlay (56), R Van Den Asker for Kelly (63), C Booth for Woods (67), J Boland for Boyle, J Woods for Gilsenan, H McWade for O’Kelly, L Fehily for Fish (all 68).

GONZAGA COLLEGE: C Hennessy; F Ó hOisín, F O’Grady, K Morgan, B Barron; H Colbert, J Connolly; H Godson, H Fitzgerald, R Shaw; L Tyrell, J Coolican; C Kirby O Briain, T Cullen, J Barry.

Replacements: L Hammond for Godson (36), A Henry for Kirby O Briain (47), S Grimley for Shaw, M Colgan for Colbert, JJ Walsh for Ó hOisín (all 67), G Kenny for Fitzgerald, O Rogers for Coolican, S Wilson for Barron (all 68).

Referee: B MacNiece (LRR).

Posted in Schools Rugby | Comments Off on Leinster Schools Senior Cup Final: St Michael’s College V Gonzaga College – The Irish Examiner (Online) – March 17 2019

LIDL National Football League Division One: Dublin V Monaghan – The Irish Sun On Sunday – March 17 2019

LADIES NFL

Goalden girl Aherne stars

DUBLIN 5-14

MONAGHAN 3-10

By DAIRE WALSH

SINEAD AHERNE was in flying form for the Dubs at the DCU Sportsgrounds yesterday.

She recorded an outstanding haul of 3-3 to guide Dublin to an emphatic victory over Monaghan in Division 1 of the LIDL Ladies NFL.

It was Aherne’s first start of the season and the 2018 Footballer of the Year was in scintillating form as she combined brilliantly with Noelle Healy and Siobhan Killeen.

Despite an admirable second-half show from Monaghan, Mick Bohan’s side secured a semi-final spot with two rounds to spare.

The Farney enjoyed an encouraging start, with Muireann Atkinson (free) and Leanne Maguire pointing in quick succession.

But they leaked a goal to Aherne in the third minute, before Siobhan Woods quickly added a second for the Jackies.

Unselfish play from Healy released Aherne for another palmed finish and Killeen subsequently pounced for a fourth on 14 minutes.

Aherne completed her hat-trick with a speculative effort and this left Monaghan 15 points in arrears – 5-3 to 0-3.

To their credit, Niall Treanor’s Ulster outfit dug deep and Ciara McAnespie hit the net to boost their spirits.

But the Dubs went on to lead by 5-7 to 1-6 at half-time.

Despite making five changes at the break, Dublin continued to make hay in attack.

And subs Orlagh Nolan and Carla Rowe added their names to the scoresheet as they pulled further ahead.

But Monaghan kept battling and after Atkinson grabbed a close-range goal, Maguire converted a penalty on 41 minutes.

In the end, though, there was no way back as Rowe and Healy rounded off a fourth consecutive triumph for the Sky Blues.

Scorers – Dublin: S Aherne 3-3 (0-3f), S Killeen 1-2, S Woods 1-0, N Healy 0-3, C Rowe 0-2, J Dunne, N Hetherton, O Nolan, L Davey 0-1 each. Monaghan: L Maguire 1-5 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), M Atkinson 1-2 (0-2f), C McAnespie 1-1, C Courtney 0-2.

Posted in Ladies GAA | Comments Off on LIDL National Football League Division One: Dublin V Monaghan – The Irish Sun On Sunday – March 17 2019

Women’s Six Nations Championship Build-Up To Wales Away: Linda Djougang – Irishrugby.ie – March 17 2019

Djougang ‘Loving Every Second’ Of Her Ireland Rise

By Daire Walsh

On her way to becoming a fully-fledged international, Ireland Women’s prop Linda Djougang has taken the road less travelled. Originally from Cameroon, she moved to the north Dublin village of Rush in 2005 – neither a rugby stronghold as she readily admits.

“I came over at nine. I’m here with my dad and my aunt too. I’m from Douala which is the second biggest city. It was definitely different to Ireland! The food is amazing, I have to say. It’s very spicy food. My first language is French. Rugby is not a common sport. Even in Rush, it’s not common,” she commented, speaking ahead of today’s Six Nations clash with Wales in Cardiff (kick-off 1.30pm).

“I’ve been here more than I’ve been in Cameroon. I’m 22 now. It’s definitely home. Obviously Cameroon is home, it’s the motherland, but I’m more Irish than probably Cameroonian. Growing up I was so sporty. I wanted to be in the Olympics and that would have been the dream.”

As well as her keen interest in athletics, Djougang also reached an All-Ireland final in the shot put. It was not until the age of 18 that she enjoyed her first dalliance with rugby, specifically the Tag form of the game.

“When I finished my Leaving Cert, I got into college. I didn’t get the points I needed to go into general nursing, so I did have the Trinity access programme. From there, at the end of the year, you get an internship. I really wanted to get to know my colleagues and everything there. There was a social Tag rugby team and I was like, ‘what is Tag rugby!?’

“I signed up for it and they actually cancelled that social event. Then they were playing a Tag final and they needed a certain amount of girls to play and I was still available for that. I went there and I wasn’t much help to them, because I didn’t know anything. I didn’t even know what a rugby ball looked like. From there the Wanderers manager saw me, where basically I was just running when I had the ball.”

Following her initial steps into club rugby at Leinster Senior League side Wanderers, she eventually joined forces with Old Belvedere in the All-Ireland League. Already possessing a burning desire to play international rugby, Djougang learnt the tricks of the trade from some notable Ireland stars of the recent past.

“I didn’t really know what AIL meant. All I knew was that most of the girls that played international were from Old Belvedere. My mum always told me, ‘if you want to be the best, you always have to follow what everyone is doing’. They have more than 10 players in Old Belvedere that play international. I said, ‘I want to go to Old Belvedere. I’m going to see what they do there’.

“I went there and Alex Denby was our coach. He had never seen me play and he said, ‘I don’t think you’re ready for AIL. You’re playing division two’. The second team, not the first team. I played my first game for Old Belvedere in Tullamore, with the second team.

“After the game, they were like, ‘okay, you’re playing AIL’. Since then I’ve never looked back. I just kept playing, learning from the likes of Ailis Egan, Maz Reilly, Jenny Murphy. Good people to play with and you definitely need to get that challenge.”

Originally a back rower, Djougang had a number of unsuccessful trials with Leinster. Upon the suggestion of current Ireland head coach Adam Griggs, she transferred to her current position in the front row, setting her on the path to an eventual call-up for this year’s Six Nations.

“Since I’ve been with Wanderers, I’ve wanted to be involved with Leinster. This year I took a year off college to just focus on rugby. I was involved with the Sevens. I was so fit. It helped me so much with my passing and my rugby knowledge. I just needed to be patient. This year with Leinster, after trying to be involved in the squad for the past three years, I got capped.

“I changed position, because I was back row. I got into the squad for the Six Nations, where I was dropped. Then Adam called me and he was like, ‘if you changed position, you’ll probably have more chances. Say front row?’. I said, ‘Definitely, front row’. I hung up the phone after and I called my coach Josh (Brown) in Old Belvedere, ‘I think I’m moving position!’.”

Her Ireland debut came as a replacement during the first round defeat to England last month, and she has added further caps in subsequent games with Scotland and France. Having been an unused replacement for the Italy game in round three, Djougang is hoping to make her fourth appearance of the campaign against Wales this afternoon.

It has been a remarkable journey up to this point and she is excited about the road that lies ahead for her and this Ireland team. She added: “It has been an incredible journey. I don’t want it to end, but at the same time when I finish it will be an amazing experience to even cherish. I do take pictures I send to my mum (who still lives back in Cameroon), ‘oh my God, I’m representing Ireland’.

“I’m loving every single second of it. It’s definitely something that I worked hard for and I didn’t think it was going to come so soon. I was definitely ready for the opportunity, taking it with two hands. Play every minute you’re given on that field to just give it 110%.

“Wearing that green jersey, you feel like it was so worth it. Even when we do jersey presentation. When they give you that jersey, I’m like, ‘oh my God, this is mine’. It has been an incredible journey and it’s only the beginning of Women’s rugby. We hope to just keep moving forward and definitely finish against Wales on a high note. That’s really the goal now. Hopefully we accomplish that.”

Posted in Women's Rugby | Comments Off on Women’s Six Nations Championship Build-Up To Wales Away: Linda Djougang – Irishrugby.ie – March 17 2019

Women’s Six Nations Championship Build-Up To Wales Away: Adam Griggs – Irishrugby.ie – March 17 2019

Griggs: We Know Wales Well And Hopefully We Can Exploit Them

By Daire Walsh

Ireland Women’s head coach Adam Griggs is hopeful his side’s familiarity with Wales can help them to sign off a difficult Women’s Six Nations campaign on a positive note at Cardiff Arms Park this afternoon (kick-off 1.30pm).

The two teams play each other in an uncapped warm-up match at the beginning of each calendar year, using it to fine-tune for the Six Nations, and it was Ireland who came out on top at Energia Park in January, scoring five tries in a 29-19 victory.

From the 27-strong squad that was selected for that Donnybrook clash, eleven are included in the Ireland starting XV for the visit to the Welsh capital. Along with Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird and Sene Naoupu, 17-year-old Ballinasloe flyer Beibhinn Parsons and Lindsay Peat, who was recovering from a neck injury, were marked absent.

Both Parsons and fit-again prop Peat have been promoted from the replacements bench for today’s final round encounter, deputising for Alison Miller and Laura Feely respectively. The remainder of the side remains intact from last week’s 47-17 home defeat to France, with Griggs resisting the urge for wholesale changes.

“We have played Wales a good few times. We play them every pre-season, so we know what they are about as well. Hopefully we can exploit them. I don’t think this is a time to make drastic changes,” admitted Griggs, speaking ahead of the Celtic derby on the 3G pitch.

“We have to make sure we have some consistency with selections and make sure that combinations are there and we are looking to the future. This squad and the whole squad is really about looking towards to the future. Whoever we can use and decide on, we’ll back them fully.”

Over the course of the tournament, Ireland have displayed flashes of good play. Following a heavy opening round loss to England, they scored a total of 11 tries in their subsequent meetings with Scotland, Italy and France. However, their 22-5 bonus point triumph over Scotland at Scotstoun Stadium has been their only victory.

The girls in green are striving to produce a complete 80-minute performance and while they are edging closer to achieving that goal, Griggs acknowledged that mistakes have cost them dearly, saying: “I think it’s coming in stages, where if you look at some of our earlier games we do something well for five minutes. Now we’re up to 25 minutes, where we are getting more consistency.

“Certainly consistency around our handling and our position, and what we’re doing. Ultimately again, we’re not doing it for long enough. If we’re making a mistake, the mistake seems to really cost us dearly. Then we dig ourselves a little bit of a hole. We’ve got to make sure that, even if we do make a mistake, we can bounce back and rectify that quickly. Not let it happen to us again.”

Their penultimate round showdown with France drew a record crowd of 6,047 spectators for a standalone Ireland Women’s fixture on home soil. Suffice to say, Griggs and his charges are hugely grateful for the support they have received for their two home matches in Donnybrook during the 2019 tournament.

“We wanted the result in front of such a good crowd. I guess that’s the beauty of the Irish people, they support their teams really well and they’ll back them until the cows come home. There is that little bit more pressure, but it also makes the girls hugely excited for that.

“Trying to perform in front of a home crowd, it gets them up for that. There probably is a bit of added pressure to them as well. Again trying to do things out of the ordinary that sometimes don’t come off. If it’s at this level and it doesn’t come off, it will cost you.”

Since they last travelled to Cardiff Arms Park in March 2017, there has been a major turnover in personnel within the Ireland squad. Miller and Leah Lyons are sidelined for the rematch, meaning the only starters to retain their places two years on are Naoupu, Peat, current captain Ciara Griffin and Claire Molloy.

Additionally, Nichola Fryday was on the bench that day when Ireland registered a 12-7 win and partners Aoife McDermott in the second row this afternoon. While acknowledging that the squad is going through a transitional period, Griggs and his coaching team are acutely aware of how desperate this group are to turn around their present sequence of results.

“That’s probably where our challenge lies, with the coaches and management. Just keeping a balance to it. Again for us, we’re pointing out some of the good things we’ve done, but that also leads to a lot of the things that we haven’t done well. We are keeping it calm because we, as a group, know where we’re at. We know what we can do.

“Of course we’re going to have some tension and some pressure because of the results. That’s natural and also you’ve got to remember our players are all competitors and we’re all here to win. We’re all in this game to try and win. When you don’t, you’ve got to make sure you’re honest with yourself. We’ve got to fix these things,” he added.

Posted in Women's Rugby | Comments Off on Women’s Six Nations Championship Build-Up To Wales Away: Adam Griggs – Irishrugby.ie – March 17 2019