Scoil Bhride fightback the highlight of the day at the Leinster Schools Cup Finals

Monday 9 May was a busy day in UCD Belfield, with National Referee Con O’Ceadaigh presiding over 10 separate Schools Cup semi-finals, with 6 titles on offer and a total of 15 schools competing across all categories.

The Leinster Schools Cup started last November, with over 40 schools taking part across the 6 age groups and vying for the right to be called Leinster Cup Champions.  The Cup runs alongside the League competition, and, perhaps this year even more than normal, gave an opportunity for teams across all the divisions to have their day on a bigger stage.

Leading 3-1 after the singles matches in their Leinster Minor Cup Semi Final, Castleknock College could have been forgiven for assuming that finishing off their younger primary school opposition would be a formality.  Unfortunately for them the opposite was the case, as Scoil Bhride NS from Ranelagh dug deep, first to win the regulation doubles matches, drawing level at 3-3, and then to come through the deciding doubles to reach the Minor Boys Final for the first time, on a 4-3 scoreline.

The other side of the draw was not as tight, as Griffeen Valley ETNS, chasing a Cup/League double, came through to the final against Terenure College. 

It was a close affair in the final, as both teams had chances to take matches, but it was Scoil Bhride who were a little more settled and, despite the presence of Irish international Art McLaughlin in the Griffeen line up, it was the Ranelagh team who came through to take their first Leinster Cup title 4-2.

Scoil Bhride were also having a good day in the Minor Girls, as they reached the final for the 2nd year in a row, however it was the more experienced St. Ronans who took that Cup title, after the two teams had earlier come past Loreto Foxrock and Griffeen Valley.  This was the second leg of a 2016 Cup/League double for the Clondalkin side.

Junior Girls saw the almost traditional line up of Deansrath CC against St. Tiernans CS.  The two schools had already finished in the top two league positions, however St. Tiernans were unable to overturn  their league form, with Deansrath coming through again to take the Cup, completing their Leinster double; Loreto Abbey and Loreto Stephens Green the teams to lose out at semi-final stage.

Senior girls saw an all Loreto line up, as Foxrock retained their Senior title from last year, and completed the Cup/League double, at the expense of Loreto Abbey Dalkey.

Junior Boys has in recent times been dominated by Blackrock College, and the All Ireland Champions were in no mood to let this record slip, sweeping past their own Blackrock 3rd team 4-0, and then in the Junior final accounting for a solid Presentation Carlow side, also by a 4-0 scoreline, in a tight match that belied the scoreline.  Carlow had earlier come past Colaiste Eanna in their semi final.  This was a 6th consecutive Junior Cup title for Blackrock, in their 9th Junior final in a row, and was the final leg of their ‘Double-Treble’ – taking back to back League, Cup and All Ireland titles, 2015 and 2016.

Senior Boys has also been a happy hunting ground for Blackrock, perhaps the hottest favourites across all the categories on the day, who were seeking an 8th consecutive Senior title, and a 7th consecutive Leinster Cup/League double.  This they duly attained after 4-0 wins against Castleknock in the semi-final and Woodbrook College in the final, who had earlier in their semi-final knocked out their north Wicklow neighbours, Glenart College.

Leinster Schools Cup Champions

Minor Girls          St. Ronans NS

Junior Girls          Deansrath CC

Senior Girls         Loreto College, Foxrock

Minor Boys         Scoil Bhride NS

Junior Boys         Blackrock College

Senior Boys        Blackrock College