Good Grammar! O'Neill leads Dundalk GS to Duff Cup victory

The junior team beat St Marys CBS Enniscorthy with a stunning second half comeback

Barry Landy


Barry Landy


Good Grammar! O'Neill leads Dundalk GS to Duff Cup victory

Dundalk Grammar School Junior Rugby captain Harry O'Neill with the Duff Cup.

It was a day to remember for Dundalk Grammar School at Donnybrook Stadium on Wednesday - as the school's junior rugby team stormed to cup success, claiming the Duff Cup after a sensational come-from-behind 27-10 win over St Marys CBS, Enniscorthy.

It wasn't all good news however , as there was defeat for the senior team. They went down 19-7 to Gorey Community School in the showpiece McMullen Cup final. After Ardee CS lost last year's final, it is the second straight year a local senior school team has fallen at the last hurdle at the Dublin venue - both times against opposition from Wexford. 

Led by teachers Mr Enda Murphy and Mr Alan Norton, both teams gave their all at the end of remarkable runs in the competition. For the senior's it wasn't to be but the juniors ensured some silverware will be making it's way back to the Crescent. 

It didn't look so rosy at half time of the junior's Duff Cup final - as the DGS boys trailed 0-10 to the school from Wexford. However, the juniors roared back to claim the trophy for the second time in three attempts. 

St Marys offered no response whatsoever after the break as Dundalk Grammar School ran out 27-10 winners. It was the ultimate, excuse the cliche, game of two halves. Rain had hampered the lads from DGS early on, the slippery conditions making handling an issue. 

Captain Harry O'Neill sparked the comeback, going over for a try after Dundalk slowly but surely made yards. Shortly after, O'Neill was involved again before Aidan O'Kane went over. Reliable second row Dylan Keating converted both efforts to edge the Grammar in front. 

With momentum on their side, there was only one winner at 14-10. Deshawn Ighodaro scored Dundalk's third and final try of the day after a five-metre scrum. Again, Keating obliged from the boot. 

Two penalties in the last 10 minutes brought his tally for the day to 12 points. Two years ago, the Juniors had beaten Scoil Chonglais to claim the Duff Cup and this victory means it's two wins in 25 months for the young team. Seven members of that side turned out for the Seniors on Wednesday - while Harry O'Neill is the sole survivor from both junior triumphs.

Dundalk Grammar School's junior rugby team had reached the Leinster Rugby Schools Duff Cup Final after they overcame the challenge of Gormanstown College last week, by a score of 19-7. They had previously defeated Salesian College, St Finian's High School and Ashbourne CS en route to the last four.

In the senior's final against Gorey, Jack Connolly's eighth minute try, converted by Jack Hughes gave DGS the lead in the drizzle and despite holding the lead until after the interval, a strong Gorey comeback claimed a 19-7 victory for them.  

The Grammar were dealt a blow in their bid to keep pace with Gorey when Tobi Akinsoylan received a yellow card for a high tackle and was sin- binned for 10 minutes before returning to the field.

Dundalk Grammar School Juniors: Matthew Meegan; Gavin Meally, Timmy Connolly, Woodley Nicholson, Aodhan Fitzpatrick; Aidan Kane, Tom Corcoran; Deshawn Ighodaro, James Stokes, Mark Ajayi, Dylan Keating, Colman Finlay, Jonah Power, Joshua O’Hare, Harry O’Neill (capt).

Replacements: Harry Graham for Ighodaro, Charlie Murdock for Fitzpatrick (both 55 mins).

Dundalk Grammar School Seniors: Eoin Brooks; David Murdock, Daniel Molloy, Max McGloin, Joshua Reynolds; Jack Connolly, Jack Hughes; Tobi Akinseloyian, Zac Coan, Peter Kerley, David Nwambu, Caoilin Traynor, Jonathan Johnson, T.A. Irwin, Andrew Cox (capt).

Replacements: Sean Walsh for Kerley 11 mins.