Are these the greatest Leinster Rugby Senior Schools Cup moments of all time?
3 MIN READ
This year’s final had its standout moments of brilliance but what are the greatest of all time? I asked three supremely talented players (and Ross O’Carroll-Kelly) which Senior Cup moments stood out for them. Here’s what they told me.
“…an Ian Keatley drop goal off his left foot”
Final (17 March 2005)
Belvedere College 16 Blackrock College 10
“The moment that stands out for me was playing for Belvedere against Blackrock in the 2005 final in the old Lansdowne Road. I think there was about 20,000 people there – it was huge. The magnitude of the game stands out: You had the likes of Lukey Fitz and Ian Madigan playing so it was a pretty big one. The moment of the match was an Ian Keatley drop goal off his left foot.
I felt I played well, I made a couple of breaks one or two down the sidelines so it was an enjoyable game. We just didn’t seem to find the it too stressful especially compared to some of the games I’ve been in since then. The coaches had us really well prepared, we were nearly brainwashed into believing we were going to win – and it worked!”
“…11 points down, ten minutes to go…”
Semi-final (3 March 2013)
Blackrock College 23 Roscrea 20
“Well, I played in 2013 so it’s a couple of years ago now and as a group of players we won the thing which was pretty special. We won it against St. Michael’s, our sister school and our great rivals.
One specific moment that stands out was in the semi-final where, with about 10 minutes to go, we were 11 points behind against Roscrea so things were looking pretty bleak.
We managed to group together as a team and score two tries in those last few minutes which is certainly a moment I will never forget and one which I got to share with my mates on the team and my year group in school. That’s probably the memory that stands out most.”
“…when it hit home that we were in the FINAL”
Semi-final (2 March 2004)
Clongowes Wood 15 St. Michael’s 6
“I had some great memories from my time playing with Clongowes but the one that stands out would probably be after we won the semi-final in 2004. I was the year below Rob Kearney and we were on the same team.
We were probably underdogs in that cup run but we were able to play very well and beat the likes of Michael’s, Terenure and then Newbridge in the semi and we got to the final, obviously intending to win it, but unfortunately we lost to Luke Fitzgerald’s Blackrock. There were just a lot bigger and better on the day.
We played the semi in the old Lansdowne Road and obviously that was previously the venue for the final itself before the move to the RDS. So the best moment was winning the semi-final and it hitting home that we were in a Leinster Schools Final.
“I was supposed to be the next Brian O’Driscoll. And that’s before there even WAS a Brian O’Driscoll.”
Ross O’Carroll Kelly
Final (17 March 1999)
Castlerock College 46 Newbridge College 12
“My favourite Leinster Schools Senior Cup moment would have to be winning the actual thing on St Patrick’s Day of 1999. I was the kicker on the famous Castlerock College Dream Team, coached by Father Denis Fehily, which beat Newbridge College 46-12.
I’m often reminded that by the second minute of that match, I’d kicked more points than I got in the actual Leaving Cert – in other words, three!
I scored two tries in that final as well – “flukes” I told Gerry Thornley, before giving him a wink, just to let him know that I was well aware that both were moments of pure genius from the Rossmeister.
My old dear was supposed to present the old tin pot to me but I gave her the wrong date accidentally on purpose and Mary McAleese has to do the honors instead. She handed me the trophy and I went, “For Fehily! For Rock! For God!” before lifting it skyward.
That was supposed to be the beginning of a great career for me. I was supposed to be the next Brian O’Driscoll. And that’s before there even WAS a Brian O’Driscoll. Unfortunately, due to a variety of reasons – most of them involving Warren Gatland – it didn’t work out for me.
But can I tell you the truth? I wouldn’t swap Brian O’Driscoll’s three Heineken Cups, two Six Nations Championships and four Lions tours for my Leinster Schools Senior Cup medal. But do you think he’d swap all of his honours for that little piece of metal hanging around my neck right now?
I think we all know the answer to that question.”