Match Report from Pat Hanratty
It actually was a very good match – in our case, a fantastic first half.
10-0 down after only 5 minutes, things looked ominous. We were saying to ourselves – it was really nip and tuck in the League Final, but this Gonzaga team played fantastic Rugby right through. Even the scrum, so often CCR’s strength looked under pressure.
CCR did pull themselves together and an amazing kick to the corner from out half and Captain Conor Kelly set up a maul from which Roscrea powered over for a try which full back Tadhg Bird converted. 10-7. Game on!
On 23 minutes, Gonzaga went through the phases and worked the ball right across the field for their backs to make it 17-7.
Four minutes later, Roscrea brought it back to 17-14 after a try by centre Philip O’Shea, like Kelly, one of the few survivors from last year’s panel.
And then just to cap an amazing recovery, after a fantastic kick and chase by Tadhg Bird the forwards set up another maul and went over for a try which gave Roscrea a 19-17 lead at half time. Truly it was an amazing first half and we genuinely felt Roscrea had the momentum to go forward and win the game.
We don’t know what the Gonzaga coaches said at half time but their backs especially came into their own in the second half and scored three tries in a six minute period giving Roscrea a mountain to climb. The Gonzaga backs were electric – helped in no small way by our lads’ failure to hold onto primary possession.
There was one final bit of resistance – after an interception, Tadgh Bird ran almost the entire length of the field but was finally caught. It would have been the try of the season, had he made it, though there was some consolation in that the ball finally went to prop Ryan Lomas who touched down in the corner. Alas it was too little too late and as if to add insult to injury, Gonzaga had the final say with a Roscrea style forwards’ try in the corner.
All in all it was a classic contest, a fabulous advertisement for schools’ Rugby to which our guys contributed hugely, but the better team on the day were clear winners on a 41-17 scoreline.
The Gonzaga celebrations afterwards reminded me of how we celebrated after some of our famous victories in recent years. A former President of their PPU told me that it was the first time in the 66 year history of the school that they reached the semi final. While hurting from the defeat, we wish them well in their encounter with Blackrock.
Here’s some more accounts of the game.