It was an extremely disappointing week for the College in which both of our gallant Cup teams were defeated in very close games.
The Senior’s lost 21:17 to St Michael’s College in the Senior Cup semi-final played in a packed Donnybrook on Tuesday. They showed that Newbridge College Senior Cup rugby is very much back on the map. The Juniors then played their quarter final replay on Wednesday but lost out 7:5 to St Gerard’s in a game which was start stop throughout. Hard luck to all concerned but also thank you all for some more great Cup memories for the College.
Leinster Senior Cup Semi Final
The Senior 1st Squad headed to Donnybrook on Tuesday for the semi-final of this year’s Senior Cup. They had not hit top performance yet in the competition and knew they would have to be on top form to beat their opponents, defending Champions, St. Michael’s. Not only had St. Michael’s shown themselves to be a skilful team in previous rounds, they were a physically big side too. This was clear when both sides took to the pitch and the Dublin side dwarfed many of their opposite numbers.
The College got off to a great start when a mistake by the Michael’s winger saw them get a scrum deep in the opposition’s half from the kick-off. An early attack saw the College camp on the tryline and come close to scoring a number of times but the Michael’s defence stood strong. St. Michael’s pushed back and on 8 minutes, following a break from the fullback and some quality rucking, they dotted down in the right corner. An impressive conversion put them 7-nil up. The College, buoyed by their earlier efforts were undeterred and good attacking at the breakdown earned them a penalty on 14 minutes which Chris Healy duly dispatched to cut the lead to four points. But as is the case in most team sports, you are often most vulnerable just after you score and this proved to be the case for the College. A lapse in concentration saw the D 4 side gain valuable territory and with 20 minutes on the clock they picked from the base of a ruck on the College line and crossed for a try under the posts. Conversion added, the score was not 14-3 to St. Michael’s. The Southsiders were beginning to get a hold of the game and the College had to defend furiously to keep them out. It was important that they not concede and try to gain a foothold back in the game. Excellent work by Oisin McKnight, both in attack and defence, and strong carrying from Jonathan Phelan and Hugh O’Donnell combined with the quality marshalling of his backline by Mark Sutton saw the College back to their earlier good standard. As the half drew to a close, good carries by Jake Howlett and Tom Brady saw the College push into the Michael’s 22. A couple of carries fell just short of the line before the ball found its way to Phelan who was hugging the left touchline. His low body position ensured that the scrambling St. Michael’s defence could not push him to touch and the College had a lifeline. Healy’s conversion was as impressive as St. Michael’s first and at halftime the gap was back to four at 14-10 to St. Michael’s.
St. Michael’s had the better start to the second half and some desperate College defence held them up over the line to prevent an early score. This only delayed the inevitable, it seemed, as from the resulting play and following a number of phases they scored a try just to the right of the posts. The conversion pushed the Dublin side into an eleven point lead. The College rallied again and Matt O’Connor came desperately close to reducing the deficit on 45 minutes when he was bundled into touch just short of the Michael’s line. The College threw everything at St. Michael’s both in attack and defence and while they were quiet successful in defence and kept the Southsiders out, they were less successful in breaking the Michael’s defensive line. Try as they might, they came close to breaking it but the Dublin side were impressive in defence and dealt with everything the College threw at them. That was until the 69th minute when Ed Wynne picked from the base of a ruck, which followed a period of sustained pressure and some quality movement from the College, and crashed over from three metres to score under the posts. Robbie Mullen added the extras. Now all the College needed was five or six minutes of injury time to try for a winner. Unfortunately, the referee deemed there to be only two and a half, some of which had elapsed by the restart, and the try came a little too late for the College. Despite a valiant effort they ended up on the wrong side of a 21-17 scoreline. However, all involved can hold their heads high and be proud that they represented themselves, the team and the College fantastically well.
Senior 1st Hockey Team Bow Out of Leinster Plate Quarter Final
On Wednesday the 6th of March the Senior 1st Hockey team met a skilful St. Killian’s team in Clonskeagh. The bleak weather didn’t affect the girls’ mood as they started the game with a positive attitude. This quarter final was the decider on whether the girls’ season would continue, therefore the team were eager to get going. A high pace was set in the first minute of the match, with Killian’s using a clever tip off that got them straight into the Newbridge half. However the Newbridge defence held strong for the first 15 minutes and play was even between both teams. A fast break from the Killian’s side and a strong play after a short corner resulted in the European school being up 3 goals at half time. It was a tough start to say the least for the Newbridge girls. With a full panel available on the day there were many modifications made throughout the match, with all players getting a game. Unfortunately there was a loss of communication as the girls attempted to fight back in the second half. Possession was 50/50 but Newbridge found it difficult to convert this possession into clean passes, resulting in many Killian’s interceptions. Two Killian’s goals within a couple of minutes of each other knocked the girls even further, but this time they held their heads high and focused in on goal. 15 minutes in, Aishling Lawler scored a fantastic reverse hit goal into the right corner of the Killian’s goal, resulting in much jubilation from the team. This boost however was not quite enough to make up for Killian’s five goals, topped by a weak goal towards the end of the game. Tensions were high and frustration got to the Newbridge team in the last few minutes, but their composure throughout the rest of the match was admirable. Even though it was one of the toughest matches of the season, all girls gave it their all and showed superb determination and skill. The girls unfortunately are now finished their official matches for this season and certainly “left their heart on the pitch” as their coach Sandra Whelan put it exquisitely. The team would especially like to mention their 6th year members on the day, Emily Higgins, Anna McDonald and goalie Ciara Conaty - who unfortunately couldn’t play the match because of injury and was replaced by a skilled Aoife Fennell. This was the girls’ last hockey match in Newbridge College, in which they played with the upmost skill. The team would also like to thank their coach Sandra Whelan, their captain Sarah Coller, their vice captain Izzy O'Mahony and also Janis Kelly and Orla Stewart for their help. The support on the day was also very much appreciated. The girls will finish off the year with the Dominican Friendly Tournament and the J.E.M.M.S. In-House League alongside the Junior team.
Our Junior A's are playing in their PLATE FINAL next Thursday the 14th of March in the Three Rock Rovers club in Dublin. A coach has been organised for anyone interested in attending the match. More details to come next week! We wish the girls the best of luck!
First Year B Hockey
The First year B team drew a tough draw in the semifinal of their league, as St.Andrew's college is one of the the premier hockey schools in Dublin.
At the Caragh road on Tuesday the College girls did themselves and the school proud with a valiant display. For the first fifteen minutes the Newbridge girls threw everything at the Dublin team, attacking and making great inroads into their circle, but gradually the St. Andrew's girls worked their way into the game and put equal pressure on. Roisin McConnon held steady at the back ably supported by Robyn Aitken, Sarah Jennings and Ellen Enright. After half time pressure built up and Aimee McGrath Sorcha Gilman and Amy Carroll worked back but we did not pressurise them at all. Two minutes to go and a slip pass through our defence left Meadbh Whelan in a one on one situation which the opposition left wing nicked into our net. Meadbh had made numerous saves prior to then, inside the last minute the college girls fought to get their first corner and right on full time the shot slipped wide. Gemma Cox, Kate Hyland, Aisling Phelan Rebecca Troy and Alex Leahy all played their part but the experience of the St. Andrew's team showed in the end. The girls really appreciated the support from their parents, as the Dublin team had a contingent of parents there too. So close to having a result that would have upset all the odds, the girls should be justifiably proud of themselves and the other panel members too who played their part in getting the team to this late stage of the league.
The Umbrella Foundation, a charity with the aim of ‘protecting Nepal’s vulnerable children’, held it’s second Under 17 Umbrella 7s, seven-a-side competition on Saturday in Terenure College. The College travelled up to defend the crown it claimed last year. A tough day lay ahead as a number of the eligible players could not play due to their involvement in the Senior Cup and on the day a couple of late withdrawals meant they would only have a squad of 10. But one thing was sure and that was that the 10 who travelled were going to give it their all.
The group stage saw the College drawn against Belvedere College, Blackrock College and St. Paul’s College. The first game saw a nervous start from the College and the boys involved take time to get used to the different format. A Mark Delaney try was cancelled out just on the halftime hooter saw the teams tied on seven minutes. Delaney and Rob Buckley got the only scores of the second half and the College were off to a successful start with a 15-5 win. The second game saw a team who had gotten to grips with the format take on Blackrock. A more confident performance saw Buckley bag an opening try. Delaney grabbed a brace and with Jimmy O’Brien converting the middle try and Delaney the third, the College led 17-nil at halftime. Second half tries from Patrick Corbett, Robbie Culliton and Delaney completing his hat-trick, two of which were converted, saw the College run out 38-nil winners. The group stage finished with a game against St. Paul’s. A nervous start saw the College trail for the first time. A Buckley try was cancelled out by a great individual try and conversion on 3 minutes. This focussed the College and some air-tight defence gave the foundation for tries from Conor Johnson, Culliton, two from O’Brien and a second hat-trick from Delaney. Ian Caffrey was slotting in well both as a forward and a back and his hard work around the park saw space open up. Three conversions from O’Brien and two from Delaney left it 50-7 at the final hooter and saw the College top Group B and enter the Cup knock-out stages.
The quarter-final saw the College go head-to-head with C.B.C. Monkstown. C.B.C had racked up some very big scores in a couple of their group games so a big effort was going to be required to progress. The Dublin side took the lead but their try was cancelled out by Delaney following a great sniping run down the blindside off a scrum. He and Buckley added a try each before the break, both of which O’Brien converted. The second half saw some great defence from the College with Brian Larkin and O’Brien to the fore. Liam Farrell made a nuisance of himself at the breakdown and stole a lot of ball. The teams traded tries with O’Brien getting on for the College before Delaney completed a hat-trick of hat-tricks to finish the game. He converted to leave it 31-12 to the College and on they moved to the semi-final.
Kilkenny College would be the semi-final opponents. The short break between the quarter and semi finals seemed to suit the College as they took off from where they left off against C.B.C. Monkstown. A four try first half saw the College race into a 22-nil lead. A try and conversion from O’Brien and a fourth hat-trick from Delaney gave the College this commanding lead. The third try from Delaney however marked the start of the cracks in the College squad. Delaney would take no more part in the competition due to severe cramp. However, the second half saw O’Brien complete a hat-trick of his own, this time being a hat-trick of tries and conversions. Kilkenny bagged a try of their own but William Jennings completed the scoring with a much deserved try. A very happy but sore College side headed to the final with a 41-7 win under their belt.
A short break and the College were back on the pitch to face a physically bigger St. Andrew’s side. The long day, physical competition and incomplete squad was starting to catch up on the College players. Now down to nine, they would be down to eight just minutes in the final again due to cramp. The College worked hard and came close to scoring a number of times but just came short each time. A halftime deficit of 19 points (3 tries) was not a concern as the boys knew that this was an achievable target in this format of the game. But in the end this would prove to be a game too far and three late tries and one early in the half saw St. Andrew’s run out 47-nil winners. A score that didn’t reflect the performance of the College but St. Andrew’s were deserving winners.
A great day’s rugby and a fantastic performance by all of the boys involved. While all of the boys did give it their all, special mention must go to Mark Delaney with his 14 try haul (in four and a half games). U 17 Squad: Rob Buckley, Ian Caffrey, Patrick Corbett, Robbie Culliton, Mark Delaney, Liam Farrell, William Jennings, Conor Johnson, Brian Larkin, Jimmy O’Brien.
For the first time, they also held an Under 15 version of the competition. The College entered a squad but again were unable to use a number of eligible players due to their involvement in the junior Cup. A tough group saw them drawn against Terenure College, Castleknock College and the eventual Cup winners, Kilkenney College. They beat Castleknock but defeats to Terenure and Kilkenny saw them progress to the Shield competition knockout stages. Here they faced and beat St. Paul’s College. And so to another final! The College face C.B.C. Monkstown in what proved to be a thriller. Neck and neck all the way, at the final hooter the teams could not be separated. Sudden-death extra-time would have to be played. The College thought they had won it but the referee judged Conor Timmins was held up over the line. A couple of phases late C.B.C. crossed for the winning score. Disappointment for the boys but a brave effort none-the-less. While all boys put in great effort all day, special mention goes to Tom Connolly, Conor Timmins and Louis Younge.
U 15 Squad: Ben Caufield, Nicholas Cody, Tom Connolly, Kevin Dolly, Simon Hore, Dylan Johnson, Calum Moran Burke, Patrick Ryan, Andrew Sweeney, Conor Timmons, Louis Younge.
It was an early start for Newbridge college equestrian this Saturday when two open and one junior team took part in hunter trials event in Glandoran, Carnew, Co Wicklow. The girls did very well over a very changeling course, our junior team of Caoimhe Sweeny and Sarah beat of some stiff competition to finish second. Alannah Murphy did very well to finish 5 in the individual competition, despite being slowed down by a rider having difficulty at the water. Unfortunately our other teams were not in the prizes this week. The day was not without its difficulty with illness, transport issues and a fall causing problems. Despite this a good day was had by all and we wish Molly a speedy recovery.
Hard luck to our golf team who lost the Leinster Senior Schools Championships Final to a very strong Malahide team on Monday. Our team was Eoin O’Hehir, Conor J. Doyle, Rob Mcgrattan-Brazill, Conor Delahunty and Oisin Mahon. The score was 4:1 which was a fine showing against such a strong team which included 3 scratch golfers. One of which is probably turning professional in the near future. Congratulations on reaching the final.