Louis Magee, St. Conleth’s Head of Junior Rugby, had his troops well prepared for this derby-like Cup clash with near neighbours Sandford Park and the boys brought all that training and skills development to bear during the match and left nothing on the pitch. Led by Captain Conor Hyland and with significant contributions from Morton Ainscough (19 points), the all-around excellence of Darrach Smyth and strong scrum-half play of newcomer William Norse, St. Conleth’s battling all over the field. In the end, however, and by the tightest of margins (27-24), our JCT had to leave the field and exit the competition, though with heads held high.
The next day the ball bounces differently, or the knock-on call goes the other way, and St. Conleth’s enjoys the victory: yesterday was just not that day, and Sandford Park moves on. Judging by the spirit and comaraderie evident on the day, St. Conleth’s has plenty left in the tank and whether it is League, Shield or friendlies, no-one is going to enjoy coming up against this fierce band of brothers. Louis has reinvigorated the Junior Rugby ranks at St. Conleth’s, and with an immensely talented gang of First Years growing in size and skill week-by-week, we see great things ahead for this JCT in the months and years to come. Just think: one of Louis’s toughest jobs each week is making up the team sheet as there are so many eager and deserving players. Yes, tough decisions have to be made and no-one is happy riding the bench, but the numbers and the enthusiasm bode well for the future of St. Conleth’s rugby.