IT Carlow 24 – 15 Athlone IT
IT Carlow were crowned SSI/IRFU O’Boyle Cup U-20’s champions for the second year running overcoming Athlone IT in a great display of rugby which was neck and neck for its entirety on the new National Sports Campus’ pitch on Wednesday afternoon last, with a crucial late try from Joseph Carley sealing the win for the Barrowsiders.
A debut game for the National Sports Campus’ pitch which was in tip-top condition provided both sides with a perfect platform for fast open rugby, although a howling wind did make life difficult for kickers and those under a high ball.
Athlone IT took the lead early on, pinning IT Carlow into their own half for most the first half and finishing it on top with two brilliantly worked tries by back row Aaron Byrne and winger Alex Porter. Athlone IT failed to convert the conversions and IT Carlow remained in touch with a crucial penalty into a strong wind by out half Aidan McDonald. Referee Richie English wisely blew for half time a little early after a strong collision saw Athlone IT lose a player to a head injury, as Athlone IT headed to the changeover leading 10-3.
IT Carlow came out with a determination that was obvious to see from the minute the second-half began and immediately piled in for a try by Jack O’Toole which was converted by Aidan McDonald to level the game. Athlone It hit back with a well worked try that was touched down by Dean McMahon, again the conversion was missed.
Athlone IT put in some tremendous try saving tackles but eventually the gap was found by Seamus Curran to restore parity and IT Carlow hit the front when Aidan McDonald added the conversion. An interception by Joseph Carley from an Athlone IT pass would see him cross the white wash for a third IT Carlow try and with the conversion under the posts Aidan McDonald made no mistake as IT Carlow claimed the spoils.
Carmel Lynch, Chairperson of Student Sport Ireland presented the cup to IT Carlow captain Ronan Scott, and praised both teams and the referee for a great game, with Kevin Beggs from the IRFU also complimenting both sides on a cracking game of rugby.
Gareth Collins, Ben Devlin, Conal Slater, Keith Melbourne, Conor Tully, Joseph Carley, Ronan Scott, Michael Russell, Jack O’Toole, Aidan MacDonald, Seamus Curran, Darren Madden, David Murphy, Calum Finnegan, Graham Brennan, Eoin Farrell, Cillene Floyd, Fionn Bofill, Ola Ogunkoya, Patrick Connors, Ciaran Fagan, Callum Murphy, Bryan Murphy, Remy Berger, Eoin Fagan.
Niall Farrelly, Ethan Preston, Matthew Murphy, Robert Milna, Conor Harewood, Stephen Pyke, Jordan Finnegan, Aaron Byrne, Eoin O’Reilly, Ryan Convey, Dean McMahon, Nathan McQuade, Alex Porter, Kristian Jocher, Callum Forde, Blessed Muzengeza, Dylan Farrelly, Conor Lincoln, Neil O’Kane, Conor McMahon, Shane McGaley. Jordan Finnegan
Referee Richie English (Leinster Branch)