1945-46 SCT Campaign
Senior House Rugby
Conor Crowley, Brian Deylin, Stan Brindley.
Captain of the House.-PADDY HOPKINS. Vice-Captain.-BRIAN DEVLIN.
Hon. Secretary.-BRENDAN BRENNAN.
With seven of last year's team still available to form the nucleus of the S.C.T. our prospects for the coming season looked very bright indeed. These veterans were men of proved worth and nearly all of them had been outstanding on last year's XV.
In Paddy Hopkins we had a wing forward of Interprovincial standing, a tireless worker who seemed to be always on the ball and a really devastating tackler. Conor Crowley our other wing forward of last year-enjoyed a reputation almost equal to Paddy's. A good pair of hands and the ability to line up with his three-quarters in attack made him an invaluable asset on any team, while in defence he was absolutely sound. Besides these two we had Peter McCabe, a clever front row forward and an excellent dribbler, and James McCrohan, a tower of strength in the line-out. Behind the scrum we were lucky to have again the services of Brian Devlin, fast and elusive and thoroughly dependable. Stan Brindley on the right wing could show a good turn of speed and could be relied upon to check any opposition with his hard and fearless tackling. Finally, there was Ben Brennan to fill one of the centre positions. His physique and speed were above the average and we felt that if he could overcome a tendency to hesitate on receiving his pass and run straight and hard, he would worry the soundest defence.
In addition to those just mentioned there was an abundance of new material at hand and keen competition for the remaining places on the team was assured. P. Hennessy and Denis Connolly would vie with each other for the centre-three-quarter position, while Paul Cullen and Denis McGrath were hot favourites for a place on the left wing. There were several candidates or the full back position, notably W. Raftery, H. Crawford and D. Kinneen but the latter's ability to kick with both feet and his surer ense of position seemed likely to carry the day in his favour. W. O'Neill, B. Halpenny and M. Shipsey who had been the backbone of a strong Junior pack two years ago would bring strength and solidity to our scrum. Of the remaining forwards who contended for S.C.T. honours Joe Boylan and Joe Corcoran were most impressive. The former showed a vast improvement from the very beginning of the season, while the latter though rather on the light side caught the eye as a man who seemed to be always " on the ball" and would prove a useful wing forward in any emergency. J. Conway, M. Bennett and D. Fitzgerald-to mention but a few were others who would make a bold bid for places in the pack, while F. Maher with his speed off the mark and his sound appreciation of the "dummy" gave promise of being an excellent out-half. As was generally anticipated, Paddy Hopkins who was appearing for his third season with the S.C.T., was duly elected Captain, while Brian Devlin and Ben Brennan were voted as Vice-Captain and Hon. Secretary respectively.
With Paddy's inspiring leadership and so much promising material at our disposal we had high hopes of fashioning a team that would more than hold its own against any opposition.
CASTLEKNOCK 18, MOUNTJOY 0
This was the first match of the season and much interest was taken in it, as it would give a good idea of the team's worth. The weather was ideal for a good game and we set down immediately to the attack. After a few minutes we lost the service of H. Crawford through injury, Colin Ingoldsby took his place on the wing. However, with seven forwards we were still superior and the backs got a good service of the ball. B. Brennan in the centre provided most of the scores by clean cut-throughs and strong running, the final score being 18-0 in our favour-a good beginning. Team.-W. Raftery, S. Brindley, P. Hennessy, B. Brennan, H. Crawford, F. Maher, B. Devlin, M. Shipsey, B. Halpenny, W. O'Neill, J. McCrohan, C. Ingoldsby, P. Hopkins, P. McCabe, J. Corcoran.
CASTLEKNOCK 17, ST. ANDREW'S 6
In our next game we met with stiffer opposition. The Andrew's forwards looked as if they would control the game, as they paved the way for a score in the first few minutes. However, our forwards soon settled down, and the backs made good use of the ball and their sharp passing movements resulted in a number of scores. J. McCrohan and P. McCabe had a good game in the forwards, .the latter's place-kicking being very effectIve. B. Brennan and S. Brindley ,were the best of the backs, in helping us to victory. Score: 17-6 in our favour. Team.-D. Kinneen, S. Brindley, D. McGrath, P. Hennessy, B. Brennan, F. Maher, B. Devlin, M. Shipsey, W. O'Neill, P. McCabe, J. McCrohan, B. Halpenny, P. Hopkins, M. Bennett, C. Crowley.
CASTLEKNOCK 11, BLACKROCK 8
For our next match we travelled to Blackrock; this game would be a real test of our ~bility. D. Connolly replaced P. Hennessy III the centre, as the latter was injured. Conditions were ideal for back play, and from the start both defences were tested as both sides got an even share of the ball from the scrums. Castleknock opened the scoring wIth a fine penalty goal by B. Devlin. 'Rock however, replied with a good passing movement, which ended with a try between the posts which they converted. Shortly after this, from a line-out near the 'Rock line, C. Crowley crashed his way over for an un~onverted try. Thus we changed sides one pomt to the good at half-time. On the resumption, 'Rock went into the attack and were award~d a p~nalty goal, and they succeeded wIth the kick. We soon retaliated however, B. Devlin slipped away from loose scrum to send F. Maher, who was up in support, over for a converted try. 'Rock returned to the attack but with the help of our wing-forwards our back line remained intact. Thus when the final whistle went we still held the lead-I 1-8. Team.-D. Kinneen, D. McGrath, D. Connolly, B. Brennan, S. Brindley, F. Maher, B. Devlin, M. Shipsey, P. McCabe, B. Halpenny, M. Bennett, W. O'Neill, C Crowley, J. McCrohan, P. Hopkins.
CASTLEKNOCK 38, ST. MARY'S 0
Our next encounter was with St. Mary's. They, however, were not in full strength, lacking three of their best men, who had been playing in the Interprovincial trials the day before. The day was fine, the pitch in great condition and so we started. .Play commenced at a fast pace, and a few minutes later B. Brennan crossed their line after a magnificent run. After this however he hurt his leg and S. Brindle; took his position in the centre. Scores came quickly and at half-tlme we were dominating the play to the extent of 18 pts. to nil. At this stage Ben Brennan retired with his injury and J. Boylan filled the gap in the back. WIth only seven forwards we easily held our own with the Mary's pack, but after a few minutes a St. Mary's wing forward had to leave the field having sustained a head injury. Our forwards dominated the second half and we had the run of the play; the final score being 38 pts. to nil. This great victory, however, lost some of its glory in view of the fact that St. Mary's were fielding a weaker side. In a game in which all played well no one could be singled out for special mention but .the forwards as a whole deserve great credIt for such a magnificent performance. Team.-D. Kinneen, S. Brindley, B. Brennar:, P. Hennessy, P. Cullen, F. Maher, B. Devlm, M. Shipsey, W. O'Neill, J. Conway, J. McCrohan, J. Boylan, C. Crowley, P. McCabe.... P. Hopkins.
CASTLEKNOCK 22, CLONGOWES' 5
Again conditions were ideal for one of our most important and keenly contested "friendlies." The match attracted a Large crowd of spectators (supporting both sides). We were not to disappoint these enthusiasts. P. Cullen filled a wing position in place of D. McGrath. The game started at a very fast pace which was maintained throughout. The spectators were delighted with the display of fast vigorous open play. F. Maher opened the scoring for us with a clever blind-side run to touch down far out. The kick at goal failed. A forward rush headed by C. Cwwley, P. McCabe, J. Boylan and M. Shipsey ended with C. Crowley diving over for a well-taken try. P. McCabe succeeded with the kick. The Clongowes backs were upset by our strong defence and didn't look very dangerous, resorting mostly to the kick ahead as their means of attack. We changed sides 8 pts. to the good and were soon on the attack again. From a scrum near the posts B. Devlin dropped a neat goal to put us further in the lead. P. Hopkins was well up in support of F. Maher and taking a well-timed in-pass in his stride crashed over for a grand try for P. McCabe to convert. We rounded off the day by a spectacular passing movement between forwards and backs for C. Crowley to touch down for our last try which P. McCabe goaled. Just before the final whistle Clongowes obtained a well-deserved try, leaving the final score 22- S. All the team played so well that it would be difficult to mention any outstanding player. In this match we reached the peak of our form. Team.-D. Kinneen, P. Cullen, B. Brennan, P. Hennessy, S. Brindley, F. Maher, B. Devlin, M. Shipsey, W. O'Neill, J. Boylan, J. McCrohan, B. Halpenny, C. Crowley, P. McCabe, P. Hopkins.
CASTLEKNOCK 8, BLACKROCK 0
Blackrock came to us for the return match only to suffer another defeat at our hands. S. O'Flynn replaced B. Devlin who was on the injured list, and gave a very fine display throughout. Our forwards were in good form and sharp passing movements among themselves had the 'Rock defence very troubled. One of these passing movements resulted in J. McCrohan securing a touch down for P. McCabe to convert. Later on P. McCabe landed a penalty goal to give us an eight-point lead, but this ended the scoring. Both sides attacked strongly but the defences stood firm under the pressure. F. Maher and P. Hennessy had a good game in the backs, while J. McCrohan, J. Conway, W. O'Neill and P. Hopkins were the best of the forwards. Team.-D. Kinneen, P. Cullen, P. Hennessy, B. Brennan, S. Brindley, F. Maher, S. O'Flynn, M. Shipsey, W. O'Neill, J. Boylan, J. McCrohan, J. Conway, C. Crowley, P. McCabe, P. Hopkins.
CASTLEKNOCK 19, ST. ANDREW'S 0
This was our return match with St. Andrew's and again our efforts were rewarded with a win of 19 Pts. to nil. J. Boylan, a newcomer to the forwards, played a fine game, and showed great determination in getting a try. P. McCabe was kicking excellently and converted two tries, as well as kicking a penalty goal. B. Brennan and S. Brindley had a good game in the backs, while P. Hopkins and W. O'Neill did well in the forwards. Team.-D. Kinneen, S. Brindley, P. Hennessy, B. Brennan, D. McGrath, F. Maher, B. Devlin, J. Boylan, W. O'Neill, M. Shipsey, J. McCrohan, B. Halpenny, C. Crowley, P. McCabe, P. Hopkins.
CASTLEKNOCK 0, PAST 6
The "Past" fielded a full team and with eager steps we set out to do our best against our experienced and polished opponents. The day unfortunately was very wet and play was confined mostly to the forwards. Our defence stood up strongly and although we had many narrow escapes our line remained intact until near the end when a kick ahead yielded a score in favour of the Past, -. Burke beating P. Cullen in an exciting race for the touch down. Later . Burke increased the Past's lead by a splendid penalty kicked from far out. This was our last friendly match before Christmas, and as things turned out, it was our last game before the Cup matches. Our return fixture with Clongowes in February was unavoidably cancelled. However, of seven matches played our only defeat of the term was that at the hands of the "Past." We had scored 133 pts., the total against us being only 25. We felt that this was a very satisfactory result and had every reason to hope that we would make a bold bid for the Cup, if the team maintained its present good form.
CASTLEKNOCK 3, NEWBRIDGE 3
Having received a walk-over from Mountjoy we proceeded to the second round and faced as our worthy opponents Newbridge College. The team had trained earnestly and we went to play Newbridge with high hopes of victory. The game started at a great pace, and for about twenty minutes 'Knock attacked strongly. The forwards gave the backs every chance and the latter came very near scoring several times but the determined tackling of the Newbridge boys kept their line intact. By this time the heavier Newbridge pack was making its weight felt and Newbridge went on the attack for a long period and were rewarded with 3 pts. from a penalty goal. With four minutes to go P. McCabe landed a penalty goal to leave matters even. Thus we were saved to play another day.
Team.-D. Kinneen, D. McGrath, P. Hennessy, B. Brennan, S. Brindley, F. Maher, B. Devlin, M. Shipsey, W. O'Neill, J. Boylan, J. Conway, J. McCrohan, C. Crowley, P. McCabe, P. Hopkins.
CASTLEKNOCK 0, NEWBRIDGE 3 (REPLAY)
Again we travelled to Donnybrook to play Newbridge and this time we were determined to win. Owing to the loss of M. Shipsey and B. Halpenny our scrum formation was changed, J. Corcoran coming into the front row. D. Connolly replaced B. Brennan in the backs. As before, we went all out from the start and were continually pressing. However, luck was not with us and we narrowly missed a number of certain scores. Newbridge turned the tables in the second half, and Gibbons kicked a penalty from far out to put them three points in the lead. Again we attacked desperately but we could do everything but score and thus the final whistle caught us fighting hard without success.
P. Hopkins, C. Crowley, J. Boylan and P. McCabe played a fine game in the forwards, while P. Hennessy, D. Kinneen and B. Devlin were the pick of the backs.
During the season a number showed themselves outstanding and succeeded in winning for themselves the coveted colours of Leinster. They were B. Devlin, scrumhalf; Conor Crowley, wing-forward; P. McCabe who unfortunately owing to illness was unable to play and Stan Brindley. Special praise is due to S. Brindley and Conor Crowley who were "capped" against both' Ulster and Connaught. We congratulate them.
And finally "the captains, would like to thank firstly Fr. Walsh, our trainer, without whom we would not have attained such success, and secondly, the team for their spirit and excellent co-operation throughout the year, and also those others of the 1st Club who made the training of the team possible.
PADDY HOPKINS / BRIAN DEVLIN.