Dundalk Grammar School’s junior rugby team travelled to Donnybrook to contest the Leinster Schools Junior Development Cup final in late December.
Over 200 supporters including students, staff, family and friends from the school made the journey to Dublin 4 to cheer on the team.
Going on the victories recorded by both teams in the run into the final, and their respective winning margins, this was going to be a close fought encounter.
The Grammar took a little time to settle into the game and their early attacks were hampered by handling errors due mainly to the wet conditions.
In the 11th minute DGS’s persistence was rewarded, however, with a penalty for an offside infringement and full-back Flyn Kiernan slotted home from just outside St Joseph’s’ 22m line.
The Grammar’s opponents responded quickly, a surge into the half followed by several phases of good handling allowed the St Joseph’s flanker take a crash ball, break a tackle and go in to score a try. The conversion was added giving them a four point lead in the 15th minute.
Dundalk Grammar School, unshaken by this deficit, composed themselves and began a lengthy period of attacking rugby. Andrew Cox, Zac Coan and Daniel Molloy made great ground setting up their back line. Again the final pass by DGS let them down as the ball was spilled forward.
St Joseph’s then had a great opportunity to counter from a long kick downfield, their full-back getting on the end of a lucky bounce but somehow stopped on the try line by an incredible tackle from Flyn Kiernan.
There followed several attacking opportunities by both sides. St Joseph’s were awarded a penalty which they converted in the 19th minute, bringing the score to 10–3.
The Grammar’s line-out was clinical, jumpers Daniel Molloy and Jake Moran took every ball that was sent to them. They used this to their advantage and gained great field position to mount a number of attacks.
In the 23rd minute, a swift pass to winger Thomas Clarke allowed him to accelerate down the touchline and somehow touch the ball down in the corner among a mass of St Joseph’s players. The conversion was unsuccessful and as the half-time whistle sounded the scoreboard read DGS 8–10 St Joseph’s.
With the second-half underway, DGS imposed themselves a lot more inside their opponents half. Frustration from the Drogheda school at ruck time saw them concede a penalty and Flyn Kiernan was again called on to drive the ball between the posts and give the Grammar a one point lead.
Sustained pressure from forwards Andrew Cox, TA Irwin, David Nwambu and Peter Kerley gave their side great momentum and repeated infringements by St Joseph’s in an attempt to counter the Grammar attack led to their second row being yellow carded. The Dundalk school took full advantage of the extra man and great interplay between the backs and forwards almost resulted in Jake Moran going in for a try, only for him to be put into touch a metre from the line.
Anxious moments followed as the clock hit the 50th minute. The Grammar again appeared the more composed and tactical side and solid scrummaging and attacking field play caused havoc in the dying minutes for St Joseph’s, who looked out on their feet.
A break following a Joe’s scrum saw their out-half being marshalled into touch by Jack Connolly and Dillon Dunne and the final whistle sounded much to the relief of DGS and their supporters.
Fr Godfrey Cup
Dundalk Grammar’s focus turned to the Leinster Schools Fr Godfrey Cup following the Christmas break where DGS took on Scoil Chonglais in the 1st Round at Barnhall RFC on January 12.
After a blistering start, the Grammar found themselves 15-0 up by half-time with David Murdock and Flyn Kiernan each scoring a try, while Flyn also converted a try and slotted over a penalty.
The second-half saw Scoil Chonglais reply with two tries, but the Grammar held out by five points in the finish to win on a final scoreline of 15–10.
Dundalk Grammar School will play Templeogue College in the 2nd Round at Sydney Parade on Tuesday next.