20 December 2016; Aaron Rowan of Ardscoil na Trionoide is tackled by Daniel Rooney of Coláiste Chill Mhantáin during the Pat Rossiter Cup Final match between Coláiste Chill Mhantáin and Ardscoil na Trionoide at Donnybrook Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

20 December 2016; Aaron Rowan of Ardscoil na Trionoide is tackled by Daniel Rooney of Coláiste Chill Mhantáin during the Pat Rossiter Cup Final match between Coláiste Chill Mhantáin and Ardscoil na Trionoide at Donnybrook Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

ARDSCOIL NA TRIONOIDE………………………………….. 29

COLAISTE CHILL MHANTAIN……………………………….. 32

Daire Walsh

THERE was heartbreak for Ardscoil na Trionoide at Donnybrook Stadium just before Christmas, when a late scoring blitz from Colaiste Chill Mhantain ensured that they were narrowly defeated in a rip-roaring Leinster Schools Junior Development Cup decider.

With skipper Aaron Rowan and Peter Doyle in sublime form, Ardscoil appeared to be in pole position to claim the Pat Rossiter Cup heading into the final ten minutes of the action. However, their Wicklow counterparts were never fully out of sight, and they ultimately triumphed as a result of majestic scores by Malachy Stone and Jamie Noble.

Ardscoil (who are coached by Joe Carbery, father of Leinster and Ireland star Joey) had recorded comprehensive victories over St Kevin’s, Dunlavin and Holy Family, Rathcoole in the early rounds of the competition, before displaying their grit in subsequent triumphs against De La Salle, Bagnelstown (12-5) and Boyne CS (27-24).

Mhantain were just as impressive on their journey to the south Dublin venue, but it was Ardscoil who got the scoring underway with just seven minutes gone. Rowan picked out Doyle on the left-flank, and the winger raced over for an unconverted score.

This provided the Athy boys with a welcome platform, but Mhantain responded with a successful close-range penalty from full-back Aaron Byrne just shy of the 20-minute mark.

Cormac Fenton and fly-half Stone had forced their opponents on the back-foot with massive lung-bursting runs, but Ardscoil restored order six minutes before the interval – when Doyle claimed a breakaway try after intercepting a stray pass from Mhantain.

Rowan’s conversion increased Ardscoil’s cushion to eight points, but they were rocked by the concession of two tries in the latter stages of the opening period. Noble side-stepped a number of challenges to touch down in the 28th-minute, and from the resulting attack, Fenton secured an outstanding individual five-pointer on the right-wing.

An earlier Byrne bonus strike meant that Ardscoil were trailing by three points (15-12) at the interval, and the gap became even greater two minutes after the restart. However, a determined Trionoide rebounded in spectacular fashion from these series of set-backs, starting with a powerful finish from out-half Ben Purcell on 36 minutes.

Rowan added the bonuses with ease on this occasion, and after he ran a close-range penalty three minutes later, he crashed over to move his team back into the ascendancy. Despite having the chance to aim for the posts on a number of occasions, Rowan more often than not opted for a ‘tap and go’, and this proved to be a shrewd choice 14 minutes from time.

Ardscoil spread the play at pace towards the right-hand side, and Thomas Keane was in the right place to register his school’s fifth try of the day. It looked at this point like victory was in their sights, but courtesy of a superb dash over the whitewash by Stone, Mhantain ensured that they were still within touching distance of Trionoide.

Ardscoil did get a slight reprieve in the form of a missed Byrne conversion, but from the bonus kick that followed another superb five-pointer by the exceptional Noble, Byrne found his range in clinical fashion.

As a result, Mhantain were now three points in front, but their defence had to be on their toes to hold up Rowan just shy of their try-line with one minutes left on the clock. They mounted further pressure as the action moved into second-half stoppage-time, but Mhantain ultimately held firm to edge an engrossing spectacle.

ARDSCOIL NA TRIONOIDE: Padraig Hughes; Thomas Keane, Aaron Rowan, Gearoid Lynch, Peter Doyle; Ben Purcell, Caoilte Kelly; David Pionk, Niall Doyle, Conor Black; Edward Owens, Mark Doyle; Liam Lynch, Danny Loughman, Gearoid Considine.

Replacements: Jack Howard for Pionk (half-time), Conor Smithers for Black (55).

COLAISTE CHILL MHAINTAIN: Aaron Byrne; David Tyrell Browne, Daniel Rooney, Jamie Noble, Caolan Mooney; Malachy Stone, Fionn Luddy; Hal Fitzgerald, Andrew Murray, Aaron Canterbury; Josh Griffin, Charlie Cruise; Oisin Timmons, Sean Coffey, Cormac Fenton.

Replacements: Dylan Smith for Timmons (54).

Referee: Kevin Bolger (LRR).

20 December 2016; Aaron Byrne of Coláiste Chill Mhantáin is tackled by Dawid Pionk of Ardscoil na Trionoide during the Pat Rossiter Cup Final match between Coláiste Chill Mhantáin and Ardscoil na Trionoide at Donnybrook Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

20 December 2016; Aaron Byrne of Coláiste Chill Mhantáin is tackled by Dawid Pionk of Ardscoil na Trionoide during the Pat Rossiter Cup Final match between Coláiste Chill Mhantáin and Ardscoil na Trionoide at Donnybrook Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Source: http://dairewalsh.com/