Castleknock College Union

1944-45 JCT Campaign

Junior House Rugby

Mar 17, 1945
1944-45 JCT Campaign -

WITH THE MATERIAL from last year's successful Under 14 team at our disposal and such seasoned veterans as P. Domegan and M. Bennett still at hand, we had high hopes of making a bold bid for the Junior Cup this year. Fr. Cashin, who had trained the team as Under 14's, continued the good work. P. Domegan was elected Captain, with M. Bennett and B. Guerin as his assistants. The team was seldom at full strength during the early part of the season, but as there were many aspirants to J.C.T. honours, competition was always keen and places were easily filled. We had plenty of pace behind the scrum and our forwards were, if anything, bigger than the average Junior pack. If our backs seemed somewhat lacking in confidence and penetration, and if the forwards were a bit on the slow side, we felt that these defects could be removed by practice and hard training, and that as the season progressed we could hope to prove a formidable opposition for any team.


Our first match was a home fixture against King's Hospital. Our team was superior in every phase of the game, but the visitors fought hard against our much bigger team. The game was altogether one-sided and our backs completely outplayed their opponents. Tries were scored by Paddy Domegan (3), Denis Connolly (2), Dick O'Neill, A. Austin, M. Bennett, Cecil Kilgallen (2). B. Lowe. P. Domegan converted three tries and T. Ryan added points to two others. The final score was 43-0 in our favour.


The weather was fine for our match at home against Blackrock. The teams were very evenly matched. The first half was productive of fine, hard rugby and neither side "as territorially the better. The second half opened strongly and gradually our team gained the upper hand and in the closing stages were getting the ball continually from scrums and line-outs. The backs, however, were unable to pierce the great Blackrock defence. B. Lowe was hurt near the end, after a great game. The best forwards of our pack were L. Lynch, M. Bennett, T. Ryan. The outstanding backs, who, however, lacked sufficient thrust, were P. Domegan and Denis Connolly.


We played St. Mary's away next and we won deservedly by 6-0. The ground was heavy but the game was fast and fairly open. The two teams were evenly matched and the struggle was keen. Both of our scores were hard won and came from good individual efforts. P. Domegan, after a fine run opened our scoring and D. O'Neill cut through and ran over for the only other score of the match. Both kicks failed. The forwards, of whom B. Guerin, M. Bennett and T. Ryan were outstanding, gave the backs a fairly good service. For part of the game we were short a man, for Denis Connolly had to retire but resumed at half-time.


Our only match against Belvedere, at home, was played throughout in heavy rain. The play, as a result, was altogether forward and whenever the backs did get the ball, the kick ahead was resorted to. The forwards bore the brunt of the battle and even they suffered from the conditions. The scrums collapsed again and again. The greasy ball and the slippery and muddy surface made good play impossible. In such an entirely uneventful game, a scoreless draw was the inevitable result, although our team did most of the pressing.


Clongowes sent down a good solid team to play us at home, and after a bright exciting game we emerged victors by 14 pts.-3 pts. The game throughout was hard and open. The forwards had most of the ball but what the backs did, thev did well. A. Austin crossed their line 'as the result of a fine passing movement. Clongowes replied with a try and after some lively exchanges Michael Bennett crashed over on their" 25 " from a line-out. T. Ryan converted the try. Brendan Guerin also scored from a line-out later on. Denis Connolly scored a neat try to finish the scoring. It was a grand match and our team shaped very well.


After a 6-0 victory over St. Mary's we played them at home and won again by 8-3. The conditions were grand for Rugby and the play was fast. Hughes, the St. Mary's centre, was a source of trouble but he was well subdued. Paddy Domegan opened the scoring with a fine try which he himself converted. Cecil Kilgallen added another try to our total and St. Mary's also got one try, this ended the scoring. The forwards got the better of the St. Mary's pack and sent out a good service to the backs. It was a good game but the score might have been more for our team as G. Byron narrowly missed a dropped goal. We pressed for most of the match but St. Mary's fought back hard and kept the score down.


For our return match away with King's Hospital, they fielded a much larger a much stronger team than that which we beaten the beginning of the season. They led by 5-0 at the interval and we were being hard pressed throughout. We fought back hard, however, and a score by D. Connolly, converted by P. Domegan was the result of our efforts.. Their team was hefty and strong and our team did well to hold them to a draw. The pitch was was very muddy and the forwards had to do most of the work.


The Clongowes return match away was the best of our series of friendly matches. It was fast and furious, and was very enjoyable. Clongowes opened the scoring with a dropped goal, the only score of the first half. The second half produced very fast play. B. Lowe broke through to open our scoring. Clongowes then led by 4-3. P. Domegan, with a grand run from the halfway crossed for a second try which C. Kilgallen converted. C. Kilgallen scored our final score, to leave us winners by 11 points to 4. Our victory was deserving, but Clongowes put up a terriffic fight and gave us a really grand game.


After a scoreless draw in our first game we again faced Blackrock away. The pitch was in a very greasy condition and the game among the backs was very slow. The two forward packs were evenly matched and they fought it out hard. C. O'Neill scored for 'Rock but missed the kick at goal. Blackrock got a penalty under the posts but owing to the conditions underfoot and the heavy ball, missed it. Our forwards then fought back and Leo Lynch scored an unconverted try. That ended the scoring for both sides. The backs were unable to do anything in the conditions. The forwards played well and hard. This was our last friendly match of the season.


Rugby was delayed in the Easter term for over a week owing to snow, but it soon got under way and training began with a view to the Cup Matches. We got a bye into the second round where we met Newbridge.


The team either suffered from stage-fright or staleness for they never really got going against a much lighter Newbridge fifteen. The forwards were rather lackadaisical and didn't use their weight to any effect against the smaller Newbridge pack. The match was a series of scrums with little or no back play or even lively forward exchanges. Newbridge opened scoring with a penalty goal and held on to this lead until the last minute. It wasn't until the last ten minutes that the forwards began to send back the ball cleanly to the backs. In the very last minute P. Domegan raced over for a try which saved us from defeat and forced a draw.


The team showed much more convincing form in the replay, but they were still not up to their usual form. The backs got more of the ball, but the wings lacked the necessary speed. The forwards were improved, but rather sluggish. There were no really good passing movements as the wings either knocked on the ball or were not fast enough. The centres only broke through occasionally. The first half was devoid of incident. The forwards were still being shoved off the ball in the set scrums but they soon settled down. In the second half when it seemed that another scoreless draw was inevitable, P. Domegan broke through and sent out a bad pass to Connolly, who somehow caught it and ran half the field to score an unconverted try. This score was against the run of the play and was a pleasant surprise, for Newbridge were pressing at the time. We held on to our slender lead until the final whistle and thus we qualified to enter the semi-final against Clongowes.


The team which we fielded against Clongowes was of full strength for the first time in the season and we also suffered our first defeat. The final score of 10 pts. to nil in favour of Clongowes entirely belied the run of play. The team played excellently but lacked enough scoring power. The forwards held their own in loose and line-out and in the scrums got a very good service. We pressed hard in the first half but were well held by our opponents. The centres, P. Domegan and D. Connolly were well marked but got in some useful runs. The strength of the Clongowes three-quarter line lay in the wings but, mainly owing to the fast backing up of B. Lowe and the forwards, they never succeeded in scoring. The first half was scoreless but the second half provided more excitement. After a loose maul, Brendan Guerin followed up a kick ahead but was very narrowly beaten to the touch-down. Soon afterwards Clongowes took the lead with a very fine penalty quickly followed by another penalty. We fought back hard and P. Domegan had hard luck when he was brought down only a few feet from the line. When taking down the Clongowes wing B. Lowe was injured and had to leave the field for the remaining few minutes. Billy had played a very plucky game and was unlucky to be injured before the end. He had been a very consistent player throughout the season and he deserves great credit for his display in this match. Just in the last few minutes the Clongowes centre dropped a neat goal and shortly afterwards the final whistle went leaving them victors by 10 points to nil. We congratulate Clongowes on their victory and wish them good luck in the Final.

Team.-M. Reynolds, G. Byron, D. Connolly, P. Domegan, C. Kilgallen, D. O'Neill, B. Lowe, L. Lynch, B. Kelly, J. Masterson, J. Ennis, T. Ryan, E. McCabe, Ml. Bennett, B. Guerin. Apart from those who represented us in the match against Clongowes there were several others who won places on the J.C.T. during the year. Both J. Bolger and A. Austin had many good games in the wing- threequarter position. B. Clancy played with the forwards in practically all the " friendlies."