Clonmel High School U19 rugby team travelled to Killaloe, Co. Clare last Thursday to take on St. Anne’s Community College in the Munster Schools Senior Cup qualifier and won 29-26.
Those present were treated to a fantastic game of rugby as the match-winning try was scored in the last play of the game.
St. Anne’s got off to a perfect start with a try and conversion in the opening minute. This was followed by a second try midway through the first half.
Despite this, the High School stuck with their task and were unlucky not to score on two occasions, knocking on the ball as they crossed the line. Second row Sean Hahessy scored the High School’s first try after great work from the pack. Outhalf Luke Noonan kicked the conversion. St. Anne’s had the final word of the half as they scored their third try to leave it 19–7 at the break in their favour.
The comeback began in the second half. Scrum half Josh Pickering was a constant threat and a kick down field was chased by winger Johann Oosthuysen who scored in the corner. Centre Jordan Cronin was next to score after a great backs move to leave the High School 19–17 behind. St. Anne’s rallied with their maul and scored by the posts, the conversion extending their lead to 26–17.
The High School’s reply was swift. Following good play between backs and forwards, hooker Joe Keane crashed over for his team’s fourth try to reduce St. Anne’s lead to two points, 26–24. With time slipping away, it looked like St. Anne’s would hang on. With the ball still in their possession, the referee signalled last play; they just had to kick to touch. But they didn’t! Somehow, prop Andy O’Keeffe robbed the ball in the ruck. Pickering and Noonan moved it left and right before releasing centre Shay van Dam who made a weaving run from half way to score the winning try to the jubilation of his team mates and coaches.
Credit must be given to both teams for the manner in which they played the match. The High School lads never gave up and showed tremendous spirit and courage. Captain Ethan Mulvee led by example and was supported in the pack by Eoin Breen, Ronan Brady, Kenny Liew and Brandon McGuire and in the backs by Michael Hughes and Aidan Boyle. The High School replacements were Shane Mullen, Jack Mcgrath, Cian Drohan, Dean Slattery and Shane Stafford.
The High School now advance to the qualifier semi final against St. Clements of Limerick. The other semi final is between Bandon Grammar School and Waterpark College. The winner of the qualifier competition will play in the Senior Cup in January.