Leinster Schools Juvenile Hurling ‘A’ League Round-Up: The Evening Herald – February 15 2018

LEINSTER SCHOOLS JUVENILE HURLING ‘A’ LEAGUE

Stears and Hegarty give good shows to keep the Cats toothless

Daire Walsh

THERE were mixed results for Dublin sides against their respective Kilkenny counterparts in the Leinster Schools Juvenile Hurling ‘A’ League, which got underway in the capital last Thursday afternoon.

Two days before an eagerly awaited clash between the same two teams in the Leinster Schools SH ‘A’ Hurling Championship, Dublin North faced Kilkenny CBS at the DCU Sportsgrounds. North have regularly advanced to the knock-out stages of this competition in recent years and were narrowly defeated by rivals Dublin South in a 2014 decider at O’Toole Park.

Thanks to strong performances from half-backs Ben Stears (Fingallians) and Thomas Hegarty (Naomh Maur), North kept CBS at arm’s length during the early moments of the contest. Backed by a significant St Vincent’s contingent, the Metropolitan attack also achieved an optimum level of performance.

Daniel Peel and Gordon Rodgers caught the eye with some excellent scores before a Callum Walshe goal effectively placed the outcome beyond doubt. Their Noreside opponents did as much as they could to rein in their challenge, but with Sean Cummins and Sean Brady producing stand-out performances, North secured a comprehensive 1-18 to 1-11 win.

The National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown was the venue on the same day for Dublin South’s meeting with St Kieran’s College, which ended in an agonising defeat for the Sky Blue outfit. With the St Jude’s triumvirate of Patrick Fitzgerald, Micheal Lawlor and Padraig McNally all featuring in the squad, South gave an excellent account of themselves.

Kieran’s raised green flags at vital junctures in the play, however, and this helped them to prevail by a single point (3-11 to 1-16).

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School Sports Star Of The Week: Kevin Burke (Na Fianna) – The Evening Herald – February 15 2018

STAR OF THE WEEK

KEVIN BURKE (Dublin North)

GOALS at the beginning of each half played a significant role in Dublin North’s Leinster SH ‘A’ Championship success over Kilkenny CBS last Saturday.

However, they were just as impressive at the opposite end of the field, ensuring that CBS relied heavily on the dead-ball accuracy of Conor Drennan. Na Fianna club man Kevin Burke, in particular, produced a sterling display at centre-back – helping to make him a worthy recipient of this weekly award.

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Gaelic Games Round-Up: The Evening Herald – February 15 2018

GAELIC GAMES ROUND-UP

All go for Eoin as they fight for glory

Daire Walsh

COLAISTE Eoin kick-started their Leinster Schools Juvenile Hurling ‘A1’ League campaign with a comprehensive 6-13 to 1-8 win against Terenure College on UCD’s Castle Pitch last Friday morning.

The Gaelscoil reached the final of this competition in 2017, and appear to have all the tools in place for another crack at the top prize this year. They were defeated by St Brendan’s, Birr in last March’s decider at Dunganny, despite the best efforts of Jack O Rodaigh, Rian O Maoilean and Luca Siochain.

SHOWDOWN

They had also beaten Terenure in last year’s group stages before also getting the better of Castlecomer CS and St Fintan’s HS, Sutton on the way to their showdown with Brendan’s. ‘Nure produced some fine moments in their latest meeting, but with the Eoin attack in scintillating form, they were on the receiving end of another reversal to the Booterstown school.

Terenure still had reason to be cheerful on Friday, as they qualified for the Dublin Schools Senior Football ‘C’ final with a 15-point victory (4-13 to 1-7) over Old Bawn CS at Thomas Davis GAA.

It will also be a massive week for Colaiste Eoin, who are challenging for silverware on several fronts at the moment.

Blessington is the destination on Saturday for their Leinster SF ‘A’ Championship semi-final against Naas CBS, and they will also take on St Fintan’s in the last-four of the Dublin SH ‘A’ competition on Monday. A busy few days for the southsiders will then be completed on Tuesday by a Junior Football ‘A’ showpiece with St Aidan’s CBS.

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Leinster Schools Senior Hurling ‘A’ Championship Semi-Final: Dublin North V Kilkenny CBS – The Evening Herald – February 15 2018

LEINSTER SENIOR ‘A’ HC SEMI-FINAL: DUBLIN NORTH 3-12 KILKENNY CBS 0-18

NORTH INTO PROMISED LAND

Goals make difference as Dubs will face champs in decider

Daire Walsh

FOLLOWING their outstanding victory against Kilkenny CBS at the Laois GAA Training Centre last Saturday, Dublin North will face reigning champions St Kieran’s in the Leinster Schools Senior Hurling ‘A’ Championship decider.

Cian Derwin, Conor Berrigan and Billy Ryan all registered goals for Paul O’Brien’s side, which helped to see off the stern challenge of Kilkenny CBS. The dead-ball accuracy of Conor Drennan kept their Marble County opponents in contention right up until the final whistle, but with Micheal Murphy also in excellent form throughout, it was North who eventually progressed from this penultimate round affair.

The Metropolitans can now look forward to a Top Oil Corn Ui Dhuill final meeting with Kieran’s on  Saturday week (February 24), in a venue that is yet to be determined.

They will more than likely be underdogs against the Noreside kingpins, who currently hold an astonishing 54 titles at this grade. They have also collected 14 All-Ireland crowns within the past 30 years, helping to cement their reputation as Ireland’s premier schools hurling nursery.

Yet, because their status as a combined outfit prevents them from advancing beyond the provincial stages, North will be fully focused on the task at hand.

Dublin minor of last year Lee Gannon is a key attacking figure for North, and he played a major role in their blistering start to Saturday’s semi-final. Inside the opening five minutes, the impressive centre-forward created opportunities for Berrigan and Derwin, who both found a way past stranded Kilkenny netminder David McCormack.

Murphy’s also contributed three points over the course of the first half, when North were facing into a stiff breeze. However, with Drennan’s 0-8 haul being complimented by a brace of Joe Sheehan scores, CBS brought a slender 0-10 to 2-3 cushion into the break.

The Sky Blues were in a far better position at the midway point in this contest than they were for their quarter-final meeting 12 months ago, though. On that occasion, an eighth-point interval deficit (0-14 to 0-6) had left them with too much ground to make up against CBS.

The introduction of Ryan offered a new lease of life to their 2018 campaign, as he secured a third goal for North within seconds of the resumption.

Sean Currie joined his partners on the inside line – Berrigan and Derwin – on the scoresheet as the half progressed, while the reliable Andrew Dunphy and Kevin Burke once again proved to be largely impenetrable at the heart of the Dublin defence.

A six-point advantage (3-9 to 0-12) placed North in the driving seat at the beginning of the final quarter, until Drennan responded with a series of placed-ball efforts. North held their nerve in the closing moments, however, as Murphy and Ryan points sealed a stunning triumph for the combination side.

This will be North’s first-ever appearance in the Leinster Hurling showpiece, though a Dublin Colleges side (that represented the whole of the county) were winners of the competition in 2001 and 2008. Kieran’s will compete in an eighth consecutive final, and despite coming under pressure from St Peter’s, Wexford in their last-four encounter, David O’Carroll and Adrian Mullen goals guided them towards a 2-13 to 2-8 success.

Scorers – Dublin North: M Murphy 0-6 (4f, 1 ’65’), C Derwin 1-2, C Berrigan, B Ryan 1-1 each, S Currie 0-2. Kilkenny CBS: C Drennan 0-13 (12f), J Sheehan 0-3, C Timmons, S Staunton 0-1 each.

DUBLIN NORTH: J Rooney; J Fagan, A Dunphy, T Kinnane; D Phelan, K Burke, C Scully; M Murphy, S Foran; S Clerkin, L Gannon, S Farrelly; C Berrigan, S Currie, C Derwin. Subs: B Ryan for Farrelly, E O’Donnell for Scully, L Foley for Foran.

KILKENNY CBS: D McCormack; M Byrne, B Lawlor, M Butler; L Hogan, L Stynes, C Timmons; S Staunton, J Sheehan; O Murphy, C Drennan, C Heary; J Ryan, T Butler, S Kenny. Subs: S Boyd for Kenny, J Dwyer for Hogan.

Referee: A Stapleton (Laois).

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Post-Match Reaction: Leinster Schools Junior Cup First Round – Newbridge College Coach Derek Sherlock – The Kildare Nationalist – February 13 2018

LEINSTER SCHOOLS RUGBY JUNIOR CUP REACTION

Newbridge College juniors bow out at first attempt

By Daire Walsh

NEWBRIDGE College coach Derek Sherlock admitted that a slow start played a significant part in his side’s eventual 20-12 defeat to St Mary’s College in the Leinster Schools Junior Cup last Tuesday (6 February).

Their south Dublin opponents had already posted 10 points by the time Donough Lawlor opened Newbridge’s account, and despite their best efforts on the day, Mary’s remained in the ascendancy throughout.

A series of handling errors also prevented Newbridge from creating sustained momentum, but following a huge effort in the closing stages of the contest, Sherlock believes the squad are capable of bouncing back from 2019 onwards.

“It seemed to take far too many minutes to get into the game. Just the pace and the kind of things we worked on weren’t coming off. At the end we got a bit of momentum, and I thought if we got that try just after Donough scored, I think we would probably would have had the momentum with us and gone on,” Sherlock acknowledged after the game.

“It was just a game of errors, we left a lot of handling errors just behind us. They’re 15, it’s a huge effort by them. It hurts today, but there’s a lot of rugby in those lads. They’ll certainly come back.”

While Lawlor’s opening try on 25 minutes brought the Newbridge challenge to life, Mary’s immediately responded with another five-pointer from John Kennedy. Sherlock felt this was a cheap score to concede so close to the break, but he once again commended the character of his players for the way they reacted to each set-back in the game.

“We actually had the ball [for the Mary’s try] and then we seemed to lose it on the line. I’m not sure how, but it was a cheap one to give back. We’d finally gotten into the game. We’d gotten momentum. It would have been great to kick on from their, so it was a bit of a sucker punch.

“In fairness, we could have gotten another one ourselves before half-time. We did comeback. There’s huge character, in fairness to the lads. They never hung their heads, they kept going all day. Despite the mistakes and the kicks they got, in fairness to them.”

Indeed, it was another Lawlor try 12 minutes from time that kept Newbridge within reach of a place in the competition’s quarter-final draw. The all-action No 8 was one of the game’s stand-out players, with his work at the breakdown drawing special praise from his coach.

“Donough is an exceptional talent at eight. Really good, he just finds those lines. He’s brilliant at the breakdown. The lines he takes in the tackle are superb. He can certainly hold his head high.”

Whereas a first round victory over Mary’s was the catalyst for Newbridge’s march to the last-four 12 months ago, the Rathmines school were able to turn the tables on their opponents on this occasion. Sherlock is adamant that the current crop can go on to become a formidable senior outfit, and will benefit from the harsh experience of last Tuesday’s defeat.

“I said to them, they’re a serious side that could go on and be a serious senior side. It’s a learning curve for them. If they stick together, if they work hard, they can be a really good side to represent Newbridge in a couple of years.

“You’ve got to show up on these days, and you’ve got to play for the 60. You can’t just come in the last 20 or something like that. It has got to be a full game,” Sherlock added.

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Rugby Column Number 107: The Kildare Nationalist – February 13 2018

RUGBY

Carbery returns as Ireland cruise to victory

By Daire Walsh

ATHY’S Joey Carbery made his belated Six Nations bow on Saturday afternoon at the Aviva Stadium, where Ireland maintained their push for a Grand Slam title in a comfortable 56-19 win against an overwhelmed Italian side.

Carbery deputised for Leinster team-mate Jonathan Sexton in the final half-hour of the contest, and contributed three conversions in a bonus-point victory for Joe Schmidt’s charges. This gives him a haul of 18 points from seven international appearances, which bodes well for the months and years to come in the green jersey for the former Ardscoil na Trionoide student.

There were suggestions at the beginning of the week that Carbery might be picked from the start, before Schmidt eventually decided to stick with the much-vaunted half-back pairing of Sexton and Conor Murray.

Indeed, it was an unchanged back line for the visit of the Azzurri, with all of the alterations to the starting line-up being in the forward division.

Robbie Henshaw got the ball rolling for Ireland on the day with a 10th-minute try, and this was followed by a superb Murray finish on the left-wing three minutes later.

Bundee Aki also crossed over for his maiden score in an Irish shirt, while the magnificent Keith Earls ensured maximum points for the hosts by crossing over in the closing stages of the opening half.

Each five-pointer was supplemented by Sexton bonus kicks, giving Ireland an unassailable 28-0 interval lead. Henshaw enhanced their already considerable buffer after the restart, but in the act of scoring his second try, he suffered significant damage to his shoulder.

Though Rory Best added his name to the scoresheet in the Westmeath man’s absence, it coincided with the rise of Italy’s attacking game. Tommaso Allan finally opened their account on 55 minutes with a seven-point salvo, and the Irish line was subsequently breached by Edoardo Gori and Matteo Minozzi.

This was evidence of Italy’s fighting spirit, which will offer encouragement to their head coach Conor O’Shea – himself a former Ireland international. The home team remained a threat in attack, however, and a brace of Jacob Stockdale finishes ensured that all of 37 points separated the teams in the end.

The Irish provinces were also in action over the course of the weekend, with mixed results for the Kildare representatives in Leinster, Connacht and Munster. Fergus McFadden, Adam Byrne and debutant Will Connors (previously of North Kildare RFC) featured for Leinster in their 29-24 away defeat to Edinburgh on Friday night, while Ballymore Eustace native Craig Ronaldson was man of the match in Connacht’s success over the Ospreys on the same evening.

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Post-Match Reaction: Women’s Six Nations Championship – Ireland V Italy – Lindsay Peat – February 12 2018

Peat Happy To Be Back On Winning Trail

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Women’s Six Nations Championship: Ireland V Italy – The Irish Examiner – February 12 2018

Griggs: We’ve turned a corner in how we play

Women’s 6 Nations

Ireland 21

Italy 8

Daire Walsh

Donnybrook

Adam Griggs believes Ireland turned a significant corner at Donnybrook Stadium yesterday, when a brace of second half tries from skipper Ciara Griffin helped them to defeat Italy in the Women’s Six Nations Championship.

“In patches there we put some pressure on the Italians. It was just a case of one more pass sticking and you never know,” the New Zealander acknowledged afterwards.

“I think the biggest thing is we’ve turned a corner in the way we want to play. We didn’t fall back into old habits. We always said that it was about the performance, but then the performance can take care of the result.”

However, Griggs’ first win as interim head coach did come at a cost, as a compound ankle fracture forced Alison Miller out of the action with just under four minutes gone on the clock.

They continued to push forward in her absence, though, and Megan Williams crossed over at the end of a prolonged 10th-minute attack.

A Niamh Briggs conversion extended Ireland’s advantage, but thanks to a routine penalty from centre Michela Sillari, the physically-imposing visitors were just four points in arrears (7-3) at the interval.

Yet, with player of the match Claire Molloy driving them forward, Ireland were determined to make up for an opening round loss to France. A series of handling errors kept the Italians within touching distance, before Griffin finally provided some breathing space with a close-range finish on 67 minutes.

The Kerry native was then on hand to touch down at the back of a five-metre scrum to place the outcome beyond doubt.

There was still time for the Irish line to breached by Italian loosehead prop Eleonora Ricci in stoppage-time, and with two weeks to go until they host Wales in Donnybrook, Griggs acknowledged there are aspects of their play they will need to work on.

“There’s certainly some sore bodies there from the last two weeks’ games. It’ll be nice for us now. We go back into training camp next weekend and we’ll be able to look at the video and right some of the wrongs that we probably did today as well,” Griggs added.

Scorers for Ireland: C Griffin 2 tries each, M Williams try, N Briggs 3 cons.

Scorers for Italy: E Ricci try, M Sillari pen.

IRELAND: K Flood; M Williams, K Fitzhenry, S Naoupu, A Miller; N Briggs, A Hughes; L Peat, C Moloney, F Reidy; P Fitzpatrick, N Fryday; A Caplice, C Molloy, C Griffin.

Replacements: C McLaughlin for Miller (4), M Claffey for Naoupu (18-26), L Lyons for Reidy, N Cronin for Hughes (both 50), C O’Connor for Moloney (61), Claffey for Briggs (77), L Feely for Peat, E McMahon for Caplice (both 80).

ITALY: M Furlan; S Stefan, M Sillari, B Rigoni, M Magatti; J Busato, S Barattin; E Ricci, M Bettoni, L Gai; V Ruzza, G Duca; B Veronese, I Locatelli, I Arrighetti.

Replacements: G Franco for Ruzza (26), A Muzzo for Busato (68).

Referee: T Baker (Hong Kong).

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Post-Match Reaction: Women’s Six Nations Championship – Ireland V Italy – Adam Griggs – Irishrugby.ie – February 12 2018

Griggs ‘Pleased In Parts’ But Admits There’s ‘Plenty To Work On’

 

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Post-Match Reaction: Six Nations Championship – Ireland V Italy – Jacob Stockdale – Irishrugby.ie – February 12 2018

Stockdale Still Learning As He Continues Stellar Scoring Form

With six tries from six Test appearances so far, Ulster winger Jacob Stockdale has enjoyed an explosive introduction to life as an Ireland international player.

In addition to scoring tries in the 59th and 69th minutes of Saturday’s 56-19 bonus point win over Italy at the Aviva StadiumJacob Stockdale also made 125 metres from 15 carries – more than any Ireland player on the day.

He has certainly brought his excellent provincial form to bear with Ireland, who are yet to taste defeat with the Lisburn-born winger in their side. However, now that he has started in consecutive Six Nations matches for the first time, Stockdale has learnt how gruelling life at this level can be.

“I’d say the biggest learning is how tough it is. The last 10 minutes my lungs were really starting to go. You don’t understand how difficult it is until you’ve played in it,” explained the 21-year-old as he reflected on the round 2 fixture.

“That’s something I’ve learnt. You learn things through every game you play, and there’ll be things after today’s match that I’ll need to work on. We put a big focus on our defence as a team and Andy Farrell puts a real big onus on us as wingers to kind of lead our defensive line.

“It’s something that is a real big part of Joe’s game, and something that I’m trying to make a big part of mine. So there will be a lot of work-ons.”

With Ireland ruthlessly exploiting the Italian defence in the wide channels, it was a day that was tailor-made for clinical finishers like Stockdale and Keith Earls. The Ulster youngster had a number of opportunities in a dominant first half performance from the hosts, before he added his name to the scoresheet at the tail-end of the third quarter.

Stockdale was admittedly ‘a bit frustrated’ that it took him so long to get on the board, but was still happy with large parts of his performance in the first half. “Although I didn’t get to score earlier on, there was a lot of things that went right for me and I felt I was having a good game.

“I was having a lot of involvement, so I was happy with that. I suppose you’ve just got to take your opportunities when they come to you and I did that a lot better in the second half.”

It was a much-improved showing by Italy after the break, which offered their head coach Conor O’Shea some crumbs of comfort ahead of the Championship’s remaining rounds. While their ninth victory on the spin was never in doubt, Stockdale’s brace ensured that Ireland finished the weekend at the top of the Six Nations table on scoring difference.

Robbie Henshaw’s withdrawal with a suspected dislocated shoulder coincided with Italy finally making the breakthrough in attack, but Stockdale believes this was due to a drop in concentration, admitting: “I don’t think it was down to injuries to be honest. We pride ourselves on having really good depth within our squad, and the guys that come on do a good job.

“I think it was just maybe a lapse in concentration in the fact that we were 40 points ahead at one point. We just dropped our foot off the pedal a wee bit, in terms of, particularly, our defence.”

Indeed, if Ireland are to carry their Grand Slam hopes into the final round, Stockdale knows they will need to produce 80-minute performances and get the best out of their defence and attack – starting with the visit of Wales to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday week.

“Wales put in a really good performance against Scotland (in the opening round). They’re going to be a very, very real challenge, but we have about two weeks to prepare. We’ll be well prepared for it.

“I think it’s just getting that 80-minute performance together, and making sure that we concentrate and don’t mentally tap out for a single phase of that game. Because Italy punished us when we did, and Wales will punish us even better than that.”

The former Wallace High School pupil made his home debut in the Six Nations this weekend, having already registered tries in previous outings at the home of Irish Rugby against South Africa and Argentina. He is used to playing in front of a passionate home crowd at Belfast’s Kingspan Stadium, but admits that there is something unique about the wide surrounds of Lansdowne Road.

“Playing in Dublin is incredible, it’s the third time I’ve done it. The atmosphere here is phenomenal, especially for a young guy like myself. I haven’t really experienced anything like that before. I really, really enjoyed it,” he added.

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