1941-42 JCT Campaign
Junior House Rugby
Captain—HUGH O'DONOGHUE Vice-Captain—JOE O'NEILL
Hon. Secretary—HARRY BARNTVILLE
AT FIRST SIGHT our prospects of a remarkable Junior Team seemed remote ; but on closer study, the makings of a fast, resourceful team could be easily detected. Hugh O'Donoghue was the only representative from last year's team ; but the creditable performance of last year's " Under 14" in friendly matches, coupled with the fact that a few promising new recruits were available, seemed to give assurance of some success in 1941-42. There were even optimists who thought of ending a losing sequence in the Junior Cup by again winning that coveted and elusive trophy. Hugh O'Donoghue was elected Captain, with Joe O'Neill and Harry Barniville as Vice- Captain and Hon. Secretary respectively. New aspirants for Cup Team honours included D. Dunne, C. Healy, F. Beatty, S. Barrett and N. McKnight—all energetic forwards ; P. O'Donoghue a speedy and determined out-half, and hard-running Tom Delahunt on the wing. P. Hopkins and N. Flanagan also impressed among the new boys. Father Cashin was warmly welcomed as trainer. His policy was a straightforward one : quick, accurate passing in the backs, lively play among the forwards, and hard tackling by all. Working on these lines the team rapidly improved, and it was with considerable optimism that we took the field for our first match of the season. This was against Mountjoy.
CASTLEKNOCK V. MOUNTJOY.
Our hopes were more than realised for we won this match by 26 pts. to nil. Although the Mountjoy team was not a strong one, it was bigger and heavier than our own ; but this only serves to emphasise the good display of forwards and backs alike. From the start we were on the attack, the forwards heeling from the set scrums, and the backs making the most of the subsequent chances. The first score came from a well-taken intercept by Tom Delahunt, and others followed in quick succession. H. Barniville and H. O'Donoghue each crossing the Mountjoy line twice. D. Dunne and C. Healy were always prominent in a hardworking pack. Although winning by such a wide margin, many faults were evident in the team, notably sluggish heeling by the forwards, slow passing by the backs and a certain weakness in defence. However, we remembered that it was still early in the year, and these could easily be put right.
Result : Castleknock .. 26 pts. Mountjoy .. Nil.
CASTLEKNOCK V. BLACKROCK.
In our next match we were not so fortunate. A much heavier Blackrock eight enabled our opponents to heel from nearly all the scrums, with the result that we were on the defensive almost the whole match. The backs did some good tackling, but still not nearly enough to stem the Blackrock onslaught. Although our forwards were outweighed their play showed considerable improvement on that of the last match. P. Hopkins and F. Beatty were prominent. As out-half P. O'Donoghue was always outstanding. Blackrock played good football, and ran out easy winners by 18 pts. to nil. In no way disheartened this only served to make the team more determined to do better in the next match.
Result : Blackrock .. 18 pts. Castleknock .. Nil.
CASTLEKNOCK V. BELVEDERE.
We were not yet destined for victory, however. On the contrary another heavy defeat awaited us when we took the field against Belvedere. Again the lack of avoirdupois in the forwards was the main cause of our defeat. A very thrusting Belvedere back division was served continually with the ball, and the 'Knock defence was tested as never before. Here our backs showed a vast improvement, and the score against us might have been much greater had they not marked their men so keenly. T. Delahunt, in holding a very dangerous opposite number well in check, played his best game to date. On the whole the forwards played a lively game; but it was obvious that some of them had not yet a sufficient knowledge of the game. It would be difficult to single out any particular player for special mention. The match proved to be a fairly easy and well-deserved victory for Belvedere, the final score being 5 tries and one penalty goal to nil ; nevertheless it was a grand game to watch—full of fast and open back play.
Result : Belvedere 18 pts. Castleknock Nil.
CASTLEKNOCK V. NEWBRIDGE.
It was now high time to end this losing sequence, and so it was—at the expense of Newbridge. In the first half we faced a strong wind, but the forwards played good football, and for the first time in three matches the backs saw plenty of the ball. It was verv gratifying to see that they could make good use of it. A fine opening made by Hugh O'Donoghue resulted in K. O'Flaherty making a grand run from half-way to ground between the posts. Further tries were obtained by H. O'Donoghue—who was playing a splendid game—and Joe O'Neill, the latter being converted by T. Delahunt. Newbridge's only reply was a penalty goal. In the second half the 'Knock team seemed to slacken off, particularly the forwards. Newbridge began to get possession of the ball, but our defence was sound, and the 'Knock line remained intact. Before the final whistle we succeeded in getting two further tries, the first by P. O'Donoghue after a clean break through the opposition, and the second by H. O'Donoghue The victory of 17 pts. to 3 was a well-deserved one ; particularly so, as it had been gained by good open football, which had been the real object of our training up to this point.
Result : Castleknock 17 pts. Newbridge 3 Pts.
CASTLEKNOCK V. MOUNTJOY.
The next match was our return encounter with Mountjoy. This time they fielded a much stronger side ; but ours, too, was considerably improved. In a very mediocre game we had an easy victory, the only bright spots being some good scores. K. O'Flaherty had another good day, and recorded two tries. P. O'Donoghue, Joe O'Neill, C. Healy, N. McKnight added others. H. O'Donoghue crossed the Mountjoy line twice and dropped a fine goal. Mountjoy fought back gamely, and their efforts were rewarded with a try. The match ended with the score 34 pts. to 3 in our favour. Though not a particularly inspiring game the team played well, and the result encouraged the players to train harder as the Cup matches approached.
Result : Castleknock .. 34 pts. Mountjoy .. 3 pts.
CASTLEKNOCK V. NEWBRIDGE.
On February 13th we took the field against Newbridge in the first round of the Junior Cup. The day was ideal for football, and our opponents opened strongly. We, on the other hand, started rather shakily, and play was soon inside our " 25." Newbridge's efforts were rewarded with a penalty goal. This was a severe set-back, particularly as it seemed to spur on our opponents to greater efforts, and they kept play well inside our half. The 'Knock forwards improved and the ball went out to the backs. But from these movements little was gained, the ball finding its way into touch without any advance being made, or our backs being bottled up in possession by the keen tackling of the Newbridge boys. Further discomfiture was ahead when a converted try was notched against us. Play was even until half-time, and when we changed ends the score was still 8 pts. to nil. In the second half our forwards took up the offensive, and for a time it looked as though a rally might be staged. They heeled the ball a couple of times inside the Newbridge " 25." but some blind-side movements were easily rendered ineffective. Up to the final whistle the game was evenly contested and no further tries were scored. So ended our first and last Cup match, with Newbridge the victors by eight clear points. We were most unfortunate in being without the services of our Captain, Hugh O'Donoghue. Such a loss is liable to be a great set-back to any team. In spite of this, however, 'Knock played gallantly to a man, and deserve great credit for a great display. Special mention should be made of D. Dunne, F. Beatty, and P. Hopkins for trojan work among the forwards. P. O'Donoghue as out-half was the most thrusting of the backs, and H. Barniville in our last line of defence remained cool and resourceful under the heaviest onslaught.
Result: Newbridge 8 pts. Castleknock Nil.
Team.—H. Barniville ; J. Fitzharris, Jn.O'Neill, T. Delahunt, K. O'Flaherty ; P. O'Donoghue, Joe O'Neill ; P. Hopkins, D. Dunne, N. Flanagan, F. Beatty, B. Moylett, S. Barrett, N. McKnight, C. Healy. HUGH O'DONOGHUE.
THE " UNDER FOURTEENS."
The " Under 14 " season opened with the election of the captains. Obviously the right men were chosen, B. Devlin, P. Rooney, and J. Geraghty heading the poll as 1st, 2nd and 3rd captains respectively. Father P. Murphy took over the training of the team, many of whom were new to the game. He set himself the difficult task of making them acquainted with the rules and fundamentals of the game. This obstacle being overcome the material for a promising team became evident. K. McLaughlin, B. Brennan, T. Dodd, M. Kellit, T. Coleman, B. Bourke, J. Shanahan, D. Barrett, C. Crowley, J. Corcoran, P. Bracken, B. Lowe, and B. Moore showed to advantage as the season progressed. B. Devlin though small, was a clever scrum-half; J. Geraghty a sound full-back and P. Rooney a reliable centre.
Xavier School were our opponents in our first fixture of the year. It was their first visit to Castleknock. We welcomed this new addition to our fixture list, and looked forward with pleasure and just a little anxiety to our encounter with them. The game fulfilled our highest expectations. It was a keen, close struggle from start to finish, and when the final whistle went we left the field, victors by the narrow margin of 8 pts. to 6. Our lads played a grand game all through, and it would be difficult to select any one of them for special mention. The highlight of the match, however, was a fine solo effort by K. McLaughlin. Gathering the ball in his own half he beat the opposition, and raced away to score a grand try between the posts. Our next match was against Belvedere. It was played under verv- inferior weather conditions, and for this reason proved a scrappy and most uninteresting affair. The Belvedere forwards were superior both in tight and loose scrums. This advantage was the deciding factor of the game, and Belvedere ran out easy winners by 12 pts. to nil. We looked forward to our return match with them and hoped for better things. We travelled to Donnybrook with light hearts for our return match with Xavier School. We were doomed to disappointment, for this time Xavier School avenged their former defeat at our hands by a decisive win of 12 pts to nil. Their easy success was due chiefly to the definite superiority of their backs. Their out-half and centres worked in perfect combination, and our defence was not strong enough to hold them. The 'Knock forwards, however, more than held their own against a strong pack. P. Hopkins and D. Barrett being always to the fore. The best of the backs were B. Devlin and Jn. O'Neill.
There remained the last match of the season —the return game against Belvedere. They had beaten us in our first encounter, but this time we would make a bold bid to reverse that decision. This determination to win was a notable feature of the game. From the start the 'Knock team took up the offensive— forwards and backs combining in fine style. In the first five minutes the ball came from the scrum to B. Brennan, who ran through the defence. He was tackled near the line and T. Dodd, backing up, dribbled over for a try. The second try came when B. Brennan with a grand solo effort cut through and scored. In the second half P. Rooney raced past the Belvedere wing, beat the full-back and added another try. Near the end E. McLaughlin with the ball in his possession changed his direction and went across with ease. So the match ended, 'Knock being victorious by 12 pts. to nil. P. Brennan and K. McLaughlin were outstanding among the backs, while P. Hopkins, C. Crowley and D. Downes did good work in the scrum. This brought to a close our fixture list for 1941-42. Of four matches played we had won two and lost two. Thus we emerged with honours even and were well content.
THE " UNDER THIRTEENS
This year by way of experiment an " Under Thirteen " club was formed. It was made up of the younger boys of the house between the ages of ten and thirteen years. Father Carbery took over the arduous task of training these youngsters, and devoted much time and care to teaching them the rules and principles of the game. J. Hill, R. Lyons and W. Lowe were elected captains of the club. Matches were played on all days of general tog-out, and the new club improved rapidly. Besides the three captains already mentioned, who show great promise, the following took kindly to the game and played well during the season : P. McCabe, G. Loughney, K. Clear, D. Morgan, G. Largev, D. Reddin, W. O'Neill, F. Maher, J. McAlinden, B. Kellv, B. O'Hara, B. Guerin, N. Duff, D. Connelly, J. Boland and B. Fitzgerald.
The enthusiasm and greatly improved form of the team called for recognition, so a number of fixtures were arranged and played—two against Belvedere and two against Xavier School. Although 'Knock did not win any of these matches the team played well in all, and fought gamely against more experienced opponents. Much useful knowledge and experience was gained from these tests, the benefit of which will appear in later years ; for it is to these lads we must look for our match-winners of the future.