herald

Sunday 30 April 2017

Fintan's stock rises higher

Futures of Aungier and Kelly are looking bright

Jack Aungier goes over for a try as St Fintan’s HS dominated the game early on against
Clongowes
Jack Aungier goes over for a try as St Fintan’s HS dominated the game early on against Clongowes

It is the reality of life that most 'Cinderella Stories' do not end with a glass slipper.

St Fintan's High School came oh-so-close to taking down Clongowes Wood (31-29) in the Senior Cup at Donnybrook on Tuesday.

They could have and they should have. They just didn't.

While the credit for an unlikely comeback must go to Clongowes, St Fintan's journey over the course of more than ten years to rise from Development Cup champions in 2006 and as recently as 2010 has been an example to others.

The fact Leinster Academy manager Peter Smyth and Ireland Schools coach Noel McNamara were present could have been to witness St Fintan's stand-out players in prop Jack Aungier and centre Darragh Kelly.

The tight-head oozed physicality and top-end skill as he took contact on his terms and dazzled the spectators with his offloading and a remarkable second-half try.

This is a boy-man to watch in the future with an offer for a Leinster Academy place bound to come through his letter box.

The knife-through-butter breaking game of Kelly was also of international standard.

St Fintan's had above-average operators all over the park, tries from Kelly, hooker Conor Mahon and Simon Feeney the bedrock of their march out to a 17-3 lead.

No matter the depth of talent of any Clongowes collective, they are almost always guaranteed to be organised and bonded by a unique spirit.

They simply didn't turn up in that first period, centre Ben O'Shea's lone penalty was a fair return.

The wake-up call caused a change of attitude and focus as they stormed back into it.

Their relentless approach play was rewarded with tries from Jack Gilheany, Sean McCrohan and Thomas Monaghan for O'Shea's 55th minute conversion to put them in front 24-22 for the first time.

St Fintan's out-half James McCourt struck like lightening to recover a lead that would eventually be taken away by Martin's late try and O'Shea's conversion.

There was still time for St Fintan's to show character and cool to earn a penalty which centre Frankie O'Dea looked like nailing from wide right, but for the kick to come up a metre short.

So close. Oh so close.

Clongowes: J Gilheany; R Lemess, T O'Brien (J Carroll 61), B O'Shea, J Maher; T Monaghan, C Daly (C Gallen 61); D Slattery (J Timmins 50), D Sheehan, R Hannon, P Celebi, D Beggs, A Ryan, S Ojejinmi (M Martin 10), S McCrohan.

St Fintan's: N Henderson (D Callan 6); G Bodor, D Kelly, F O'Dea, D Achimugu (C Moore 36); J McCourt, S Cribbin (capt); A Naser, C Mahon (M Fitzpatrick 40), J Aungier, H Harrison, C Stokes, S Feeney (J Brewer 50 - temp), C Hynes (J Brewer 60), D Adamson.

Referee: A Cole, Leinster Branch.

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