‘It’s an amazing opportunity for these guys to play in Donnybrook,’ noted Rob Kearney as the Third Line League final drew to a conclusion on Wednesday. Beside him Fergus McFadden nodded agreement as he pored over the previous recipients of the historic trophy, one of them being this year’s Senior Cup captain, John Molony. Kearney and McFadden have both gone on to reach much dizzier heights than the Third Line League of course, but this was where it all started.
Mr Frank Kelly revived the Third Line Leagues in 1990, with John Lacy becoming the first victorious skipper. It was fitting then that Donnybrook would play host to the 25th final of the competition. With teams comprising boys from both 1st and 2nd years, the competition provides players of wide-ranging abilities with an opportunity to show off their wares in what are fun, flowing and frenetic rugby games.
The latest name to be added to the plaque will be that of Ross MacGoey following his side’s victory over Tim O’Brien. Decked out in green t-shirts in support of the Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association (IMNDA), MacGoey’s team were clear favourites coming into the tie having stormed through the previous rounds. However, true to the purple and white colours on their backs, O’Brien’s charges never looked to be a beaten team as they hassled and harried at every opportunity. Indeed a little more composure in the final third might have seen a different outcome.
On the back pitch meanwhile, spectators were treated to a deluge of tries as Hugo Philipps prevailed in the final seconds over Luke McDermott to claim the Wooden Spoon. With both sides level going into injury-time, Mr. Tony Egan and Mr. Barry Bowen began to deliberate how the game might ultimately be decided. However, Adam Scully promptly intervened to block down a clearance kick, which fell in the way of Phillips who pounced for the winning score (25-20).
Junior Cup Plate
Following the presentation of medals by Kearney (OC’04) and McFadden (OC’05) – who were both in Third Line together in 1999 – the Clongowes contingent remained in Donnybrook for the afternoon to cheer on the Junior Cup team as they set out to claim silverware of their own in the Junior Cup Plate competition.
Having lost out to Blackrock in the Junior Cup more than ten weeks ago, it had taken a remarkable level of commitment from the Junior panel to have their season extended beyond the Easter holidays. Seeing Blackrock go on to win the competition outright served to outline the potential within the group that had brought the Williamstown boys closest to the brink.
However, despite an early Bobby Sheehan try, Clongowes were met with a highly motivated King’s Hospital outfit on Wednesday. With two breakaway tries from scrumhalf, Conrad Daly was the most impressive Clongownian on show but ultimately it was not enough to down a well-drilled team. The Palmerstown school has laid impressive foundations in recent years and the way in which they greeted the final whistle showed how much the victory meant to them. We congratulate them on their 23-15 success.
Many thanks to all at Donnybrook for accommodating us on what will have been a memorable day for the Third Line!! Our thanks also to Rob and Fergus for dropping by! Please visit imnda.ie for more information on Motor Neuron Disease.
Mr Richard McElwee