The senior CCS boys’ rugby team returned with vengeance after their previous defeat to Rainey, when they faced St. Columba’s in the Ulster U18s Trophy Semi-final. From the starting whistle the boys emptied the tanks and played with one hundred per cent commitment to winning the game. The Columba’s team came out with initial bursts of pressure coming from the opposition flyhalf, who kicked more than an angry donkey; but that pressure was handled perfectly by an on-form Darragh McCormick (who played the first decent match of his life).
PJ Callaghan proved he’s not as slow as he looks when he made an astonishing five turnovers in the first half. A young Stephen Kelly was still recovering from a stitch he got from the last match after that Mars Bar Duo; he didn’t come on until the second half and was immediately sidestepped so badly he wasn’t seen again the rest of the game. As far as the legend goes, the white strap that Finín wore was passed down by warriors through the generations and holds great power and magic...and that is exactly what we saw from his performance. Conor Bambrick was the man most in need of this magic and would be more suited to chess as he runs sideways half the time. The first try was scored by the team flyhalf, Ultan, who misdirected the opposing man and ran from the half way line to score under the posts. With the forwards turning the ball over, it was then up to the backs to capitalize, which was cut short multiple times due to the sole reason Bambrick forgot his hands at the house.
As PJ Callaghan says - it wouldn’t be a match of rugby if Patrick O'Leary wasn’t involved in some type of scuffle! The second try was produced through the number 12 Mark Scott, who is nicknamed ‘The Apprentice’ by Ultan as they’re both contesting the flyhalf position, although Mark did stand up and prove he is up to the challenge and was rewarded with a well worked try. The St. Columba’s team were eager to close down on the scoreline and scored a try when the CCS lads were not prepared. It was make or break for CCS for the next 10 minutes - they had to be clinical in defence and effective in offense. When CCS worked their way up to the Columba’s 22”, a line break from Ultan left the lads 10m from the white line. The ball was passed from the unstructured ruck from Finín to Stephen, who drew in his man and then passed a perfectly weighted ball to Darragh Mc Cormick, who was eager to put points down after working so hard in defence. To the team’s relief, he put it down on the try line.
Some say Mr. McNally's hair started growing back when the final whistle went! The man of the match was given to the young-gun Mark Scott, which got much debate from PJ…“PJ no get man of match , PJ mad”. It was a tough, competitive game, but was well worth it, getting the lads through to the Ulster Shield Final, 10th January. See you then!
Fun facts about the lads…
1.Patrick Monagle-6/10 Always the first man into the canteen
2.Eoin Hela-2/10 Wanted to leave the field because he had a cramp
3.Finín MacLochlainn-8/10 Currently being scouted by New Zealand Rugby
4.Michael Harkin-4/10 Once got steamrolled by Sean Caroll
5.TonyMeehan-5/10 Not bad for only being 13 years old
6.Dylan Doherty-7/10 Not scared to make a big hit
7.Patrick Oleary-6/10 Scared to make a big hit
8.PJ Callaghan- 9/10 Mr McNally puts his hand up when he wants to talk to PJ
9.Connor Quigley-7/10 Always the last man into the canteen
10.Ultan Doherty-8/10 Looks like he’s had more dinner times than dinners
11.Daire Porter-6/10 Most ginger person in the team
12.Mark Scott-9/10 Must be something magic in that milk of his
13.Conor Bambrick 1/10 Couldn’t catch a cold
14.Tony Keyes-6/10 Second most ginger person on the team
15.Darragh McCormick-7/10 As much as it kills me, played well
16.Stephen Kelly-Tallest man on the field, that’s all he has going for him
17.James Kelly-The youngest man on the field
18.Sean Caroll-Fair play to the manager not putting him on, giving the other team a chance
19.Ethan Harkin-The best water boy performance CCS has ever seen
20.Oisin McGonagle-Third most ginger person on the team
21.William J. Callaghan - Injured; togged out to get out of double English
22.Coran Donaghy - He’d be the last man to pull out of a tackle
23.Caolan Whoriskey- Slowest man on the pitch