Abbey Community College, Boyle have made history by qualifying for the Final of the Connacht Junior Cup 2017 in their maiden year of competitive rugby.
They will meet St. Joseph’s, Foxford in the Final in the Sportsgrounds this Wednesday @ 2pm.
Unbeaten this season Abbey CC qualified for the semi-final with Gortnor Abbey, Crossmolina in Ballina RFC last Wednesday.
Conditions were perfect for rugby and there was great support for both sides.
Abbey CC started the brightest and took the game to Gortnor in the opening exchanges. Little ground was given by either team and it was hard hitting rugby in the opening exchanges. It wasn’t until the 17th minute that a breakthrough came. Against the run of play, Gortnor pounced on some sloppy passing from Abbey and darted into the corner. Conversion missed.
Immediately Abbey starting straightening their runs and made serious inroads into the opposition 22. Eventually the breakthrough came for Abbey with Darragh McTiernan bulldozing over from a quick penalty, Cregg added the conversation. It was all Abbey for the remainder of the half, but in fairness to the Gortnor defence, they stood firm.
Gortnor 5 – 7 Abbey CC
Gortnor kicked off the second half, and immediately they broke down the wing. Excellent defending forced the attack to touch.
What happened next defined the game and effectively swung the momentum to the Boyle side. Text book play right off the training ground.
From their own lineout on their 5 meter, Abbey shifted the ball at speed though the backs eventually reaching Jamie Reynolds. With space ahead Reynolds hit another gear and left 6 Gortnor players for dead and sprinted 60 meters to touch down under the posts. Wonderful team move and execution. Easy conversion for Cregg again.
Sensing the game was slipping away from them Gortnor tried to force passes. With Abbey pressing, a clearance kick was blocked down and quick hands saw the ball arrive at Max Kings hands, who ran over.
Again an easy conversion for Cregg. 5 – 21 with 20 minutes to go.
With both sets of players tiring, gaps opened up for both sides and the play was far more open. Gortnor to their credit managed to claw it back to 17 – 21 with 6 minutes remaining. It lead to a nervous last few minutes, however Abbey never really looked like they were going to let the lead slip. With excellent game management Abbey CC managed to squeeze the life out of the game and pinned Gortnor in their own half until the final whistle.
To the delight of team Manager Aengus Martin, Coach Colm McWeeney (CCRO Carrick RFC & Connacht) and Principal David Harding they had secured a final spot in their first year. While the difference in scores were the completed conversions, Abbey CC were much the better team on the day and it would have been an injustice if they were not to have made the final.
There are areas that Abbey CC will need to improve on, with line speed and support play top of that list. However they have time to prepare and with a final to look forward to on Wednesday, the lads will be chomping at the bit.
The starting fifteen for the final are: Jamie Reynolds; Antonio Chilton, Josh Cronin, Max King, Martin Kennedy; Daire Cregg, Eoin Dowd; Oisin McLoughlin, Brian Hannon, Daire MacTiernan; Kyle Cosgrove, Danney Funke; Adam Langan, Adam O’Connor, Ethan Beirne.
Replacements: Cadell Beirne, Diarmuid Dowd, Mathew Lawlor, Jack Flannigan, Cathal Feely, Kelvin Morris, Shayne Hayden, Adam Simon.