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Dublin: 5°C Wednesday 3 March 2021
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Purcell pushes Roscommon to historic first Connacht schools final with win over the Jes

The centre scored a try and kicked 11 points to ensure his side edged a tight encounter.

Roscommon CBS 16

Coláiste Iognáid 8

THE 2019 CONNACHT Schools Senior Cup final will see the competition’s most successful team take on a novice rugby school playing in their first ever final, after Roscommon CBS secured their place in the decider this afternoon with a 16-8 win over Coláiste Iognáid (the Jes).

John Martin celebrates at the final whistle John Martin celebrates Roscommon reaching the final. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The CBS will now play Garbally College, 46-time winners of the competition, on Wednesday 13 March in Galway.

Their victory was built in two installments this afternoon at Creggs rugby club, as they held firm in the face of strong pressure from the Galway city school while playing into the wind in the first half, then tacked on the scores after half time, all 16 points coming from inside centre Mark Purcell.

Mark Purcell celebrates scoring a try Mark Purcell celebrates scoring a try. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Dry conditions and an immaculate new 4G surface suggested that an expansive game was in store between two schools that had scored freely in their games so far, but instead defences were very much on top with little by way of line breaks, offloading or even forward momentum in the tight exchanges for either side.

Roscommon CBS had an early chance after out-half Tim Lambe opened up the defence with a quick reverse pass off a scrum move, but neither side will be happy with their performance on their own line-out today and after the CBS kicked a penalty to the corner, they failed to retain the ball and their chance was lost.

Ireland U-18 international Cathal Forde kicked the Jes into the lead on 16 minutes but they needed more of a cushion to take into the second half, and they didn’t get it as Roscommon CBS produced two huge goal-line stands in the latter stages of the first half to get to the interval just 3-0 down.

A glorious take from Niall Hanahoe off the second half restart put the Jes right back on the attack, but again they failed to convert good possession inside the Roscommon CBS ’22 into points.

Conor Rohan celebrates with class mates after the game Roscommon's Conor Rohan celebrates with class mates after the game. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

At the other end, Eimhin Griffiths’ side were better able to take their chance when it came. Mark Purcell chipped in behind the Jes’ defensive line to set up play on the opposition ’22, and after they disrupted the Galway side’s line-out, two barnstorming runs from props Tom Farrell and Jack Tucker brought the ball to the goal line, from where a quick pass from Aodha Hession set up Purcell for the score.

Purcell tacked on another penalty shortly afterwards but the Jes regrouped and when Jack Power beat two tacklers to give them a good foothold deep inside Roscommon CBS territory, they were able to work through the phases and eventually set up Forde for a step and finish from around 10 metres out.

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As had been the case in the first half however, the Roscommon CBS defence held up well when it was most needed, and they forced three crucial turnovers in the last 10 minutes, turning two of them into breakaway points through the boot of Purcell.

A view of the newly laid pitch at Creggs RFC The newly laid pitch at Creggs RFC Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Scoring Sequence

Cathal Forde penalty, 16 mins, 0-3; Mark Purcell try and conversion, 43 mins, 7-3; Mark Purcell penalty, 49 mins, 10-3; Cathal Forde try, 53 mins, 10-8; Mark Purcell penalty, 58 mins, 13-8; Mark Purcell penalty, 70 mins, 16-8.

Roscommon CBS: Michael Dunne; Ryan O’Keeffe, Cian Glennon, Mark Purcell, Colin Walsh; Tim Lambe, Aodha Hession; Tom Farrell, Roddie McGuinness, Jack Tucker; Lorcán Maher, Conor Rohan; John McDonnell, John Martin, Jack Keegan.

Coláiste Iognáid: Cian Gilroy; David Burke, Rory O’Flynn (Dara Hanrahan HT), Jack Power, Dara Golden; Cathal Forde, Evan Kenny; Jack Madden, Thomas Gilanders (Liam Carton 41), Gary Lally; Rory O’Connor, Niall Murphy; Dara Leneghan (George Hill 49), Liam Smyth, Niall Hanahoe.

Referee: Peter Gaughan

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to discuss the backlash to World Rugby’s league proposal, captaincy styles, sports psychology and more in The42 Rugby Weekly.


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