REPORT COURTESY OF THE IRISH TIMES
Leinster Schools outhalf Charlie Tector held his nerve to kick Kilkenny into the Senior Cup quarter-final in Donnybrook on Thursday. Leinster League semi-finalists Wesley came into this with a degree of confidence which grew when Tector missed a penalty and their Jack Atkinson didn’t for an early edge.
When Kilkenny hooker Darragh O’Reilly was binned for a high tackle, it opened the door to the possibility to build on a solid start. However, Tector, fullback Jonathan Crossley and wing Adam Strong all looked strong on the ball and Kilkenny has plenty of ideas on how to keep Wesley at bay by keeping the ball to themselves.
The swirling wind was a problem which played havoc with the kicking strategies as both schools looked to probe for openings; Wesley opting for a more direct approach and Kilkenny looking to the wide channels. Wesley number eight Oisín Spain was everywhere, flying into the air to claim a high ball, Tector matching that with one of his own takes in a game of good moments without the continuity to make them matter.
The half-time break gave the respective coaches the breathing space to make adjustments and Kilkenny went after the territory. This paid a seven-point dividend when Tector powered through a tackle and executed an offload for captain Ryan Strong to claim the tonic of a try, Tector converting for the lead in the 42nd minute.
The adrenalin was coursing at this point and Wesley’s Spain, in his eagerness to make a difference, was red-carded for a tip tackle on Joshua Coyle. Wesley reacted well to this setback, moving upfield to set up two scrums inside the 22, Atkinson taking the ball on from the first and O’Reilly infringing after the second to be sent-off for a second yellow.
The body blows were coming thick and fast for Kilkenny as centre Luke Fitzpatrick muscled over for Atkinson’s conversion to make it 10-7 in the third quarter.
Not long after, they were temporarily reduced to 13, replacement Fiach O’Byrne leaving the field for a fierce tackle that looked legal from the stands. It looked a long way back for Kilkenny. Still, Adam Strong put on the pressure to force a scrum and Tector knocked over a penalty in the 63rd minute. He was back again four minutes later to snatch the lead before Kilkenny held out in a hectic endgame.
KILKENNY: J Crossley; G Edogun, M Hodgins, R Strong (capt), A Strong; C Tector, J Coyle; S Neale, D O’Reilly, C Chamney; N Pim, J Caldbeck; J Treacy, R Jacob, J Akanji-Murphy.
Replacements: H Dawson for Edogun (17 mins, temp); F O’Byrne for Jacob (48); L Foot for Coyle (59).
WESLEY: G Dunne; A Galbraith, L Fitzpatrick, T Elliott, J Matchette; M Collins, J Atkinson; P Costello (capt), C Gilmer, J Fish; K Wallace, S Cronin; T Geoghegan, D Campbell, O Spain.
Replacements: S Verdon for Collins (27 mins); M Collins for Cronin (48); T Durham for Dunne (63).
Referee: P O’Connor (Leinster Branch).
Both our SCT and JCT squads are in the final stages of their preperations for their first round cup games in the next fortnight. Both teams have achieved some promising results over Munster and Leinster schools during December and January. Both teams would welcome your support on the following dates below.
Our Senior Cup Team play Wesley College in the first round of the Bank of Ireland Senior Schools Cup on Thursday the 30th of January at 3pm in Energia Park in Donnybrook.
Our Junior Cup Team play Terenure College in the first round of the Bank of Ireland Junior Schools Cup on Wednesday the 5th of February at 3pm in Naas RFC.
Kilkenny College Senior Girls 7's Squad emerged victorious from the Leinster 7's Tournament held in the Energia Stadium, Donnybrook. The tournament got under way with a series of matches in a pool of 4 teams. Kilkenny College was set against Sacred Heart Tullamore. The squad began with Melanie Griffith as scrum half, Alex MacNeill, Lilly Onilenla, Grace Jackson, Sadie Hyland, Abby Bennett and Lynda Watchorn. With a 5-point lead at half time, substitutions were made; Robyn Hutchinson, Ciara Orr, Doireann Doyle, Maria Cairns, Wren Higgins, Holly Talbot and Mary Adewuyi. By full time the team had claimed the win and were well and truly set into the tournament. The next match was against Temple Carraig Secondary School. The squad, following the same team tactics, led by coaches Ms. Sue Shirley and Mr. Jeff Carter, once again climbed up the table with a final score of 20-10. The last team to beat in the pool was Eureka Secondary School and after a tough 14-minute game Kilkenny College were into the semi-finals.
The team fought hard against Dundalk coming to an even score at half time. However, with a series of trys from winger Lily Onilenla and scrum half Melanie Griffith the team won 20-10 and made it into the final.
Kilkenny College faced Eureka Secondary School once again. The final began with a try from Kilkenny College however Eureka made a quick come back before half time levelling the score. However, thanks to the determination of the team two more trys had them back in the lead. The team managed to keep a defensive line until the final whistle with a final score of 15-5. Kilkenny College had won the Cup and are now Leinster 7's Cup Champions.
Try Scorers: Melanie Griffith Mary Adewuyi Grace Jackson Lily Onilenla Wren Higgins Abby Bailey Alex McNeill Holly Talbot.
TY Team claim League Honours
On a firm but wet pitch at Newbridge College; Kilkenny College faced Clongowes Wood College in the Leinster TY League Final. It was a nervous start by Kilkenny and they spent the first 10 minutes of the match defending. However after building a few phases together and working their way up the pitch they were rewarded with a very kickable penalty opportunity. Dan O'Neill stepped up to take 3 points but the ball stood up in the wind and blew back into the hands of the Kilkenny boys, allowing them to camp on the Clongowes try line for several minutes. The Clongowes defence stood firm and they managed to turn the ball over and clear their lines.
Clongowes then marched themselves up the pitch and were rewarded a penalty outside the Kilkenny22. Kicking for field position Kilkenny boys found themselves defending a lineout 10 meters from their own line. The Kilkenny forwards turned the ball over at the lineout and with shouts to kick the ball off the field O'Neill scuffed his kick straight to the Clongowes winger who knocked the ball on straight into the hands of Dylan Watchorn who fended off two players to run 80m to score a fantastic try bringing the half time whistle, Kilkenny 5 – Clongowes 0.
Clongowes started the better of the two teams in the second half scoring early from a dominant driving mall giving them a lead of 7-5. However Kilkenny came more and more into the game and with ball in hand they looked the more dangerous side. Working the way up the pitch another penalty gave Dan O'Neill the chance to slot the ball through the posts; 8-7 to Kilkenny College
Clongowes brought some pressure to bear but the next 15 mins it was a battle in the middle of the pitch; O'Neill saw some open field behind the Clongowes defence and slotted a beautifully placed kick in behind the Clongowes winger who was met by 4 Kilkenny players. Kilkenny continued to press and won penalty after penalty giving them the field position to attacking the Clongowes line once again. After almost 15 phases Dylan Watchorn barrelled for 5 points with O'Neill converting giving Kilkenny a 15-7 lead with 9 minutes to go. Clongowes came back but the defensive organisation and pride shown by the Kilkenny team kept Clongowes out. The final whistle brought jumps of joy for the players and relief for the coaches.
Schools Cup and League games
Our SCT team started their Vinny Murray Cup campaign with a comprehensive win over a brave and committed Colaiste Bride side from Carnew. The quarter final game against Wesley College was a close affair with only a point separating the sides on the 50 minute mark, unfortunately it was Wesley College who got the late crucial score to progress to the Semi Finals. With 10 of the starting team returning for next season and a talented TY team coming through the future of this team looks bright.
Our JCT team are currently preparing for their Fr. Godfrey Cup Semi Final next Tuesday in Coolmine RFC at 5pm against Wilson Hospital. A first round 31-19 win over St. Andrews was followed up by a 48-10 victory over Dundalk Grammar in the quarter final. A win over Wilsons would see Kilkenny qualify for the Final of this competition and also take their place in the last 16 of the main Junior Cup against CBC Monkstown.
The leagues for the Senior 2nd’s, Senior 3rds and Junior B’s all started this week and all 3 games yielded positive results. A strong Senior 2nd XV were winners against Clongowes Wood, while the Senior 3rds had a much closer affair with St. Marys College before emerging as narrow winners. The Junior B’s hosted St. Columba’s College Junior A’s and will be a little disappointed to come away with a 17-17 draw having dominated large parts of the game. These leagues continue over the next few weeks.