1961-62 SCT Campaign
Senior House Rugby
standing - L. Cheevers, T. Grealy (Connacht), seated - J. Desmond, M. Bannigan, W. Dunne (Leinster)
We began the season with six of last year's team, four forwards and two backs, which was a very good nucleus to start the inevitable work of building a team for the coming season. In the pack we had W. Dunne, N. Fitzpatrick, L. Cheevers and M. Bannigan from last year. M. Bannigan and L. Cheevers being chosen as captain and vice-captain respectively. To fill the remaining places in the forwards we had plenty of good material in C. Cuinneagain, M. Walshe, N. Clarke, B. Mullan, N. Kennedy, F. Robinson and B. Coffey. As the season progressed the forwards blended into a good workmanlike pack, but it never really caught fire and became a great one. Great heart and enthusiasm are the essential ingredients of a first-class pack of forwards.
In the backs we had J. Desmond and T. Grealy from the previous year to fill the scrum-half and full-back positions and competent newcomers in T. Foley, F. Maguire, W. O'Donnell, O. Egan and P. Kirwan. The backs passed well, tackled with determination, but were, perhaps, a trifle short of pace to be a really dangerous attacking unit. Our exit from the Cup was a trifle unfortunate perhaps, in that Belvedere, in two encounters did not cross our line, while we scored two tries. However, in the replay we were deservedly beaten because we failed to play with that concerted all-out effort which is necessary in every Cup match.
Congratulations to M. Bannigan, W. Dunne and J. Desmond who secured Interprovincial honours with Leinster and to L. Cheevers and T. Grealy who were capped for Connacht. A final word of thanks to the ever faithful opposition without whose cooperation and help our team would have been the poorer.
Castleknock, 24 St. Mary's, 6
We opened our new season with a match against St. Mary's, who 'were our opponents in the Final of 1960-'61. St. Mary's kicked off into a gusty wind and the ball was well fielded and returned to touch. After some moments of indecisive play, 'Knock heeled from a set serum and the ball went out to L. Cheevers in the centre, who kicked deep into St. Mary's territory. From the resultant line-out N. Fitzpatrick won the ball and it was flashed out to O. Egan on the wing who crossed for the first score of the season. L. Cheevers converted to make the score 5-0 in our favour. Shortly afterwards T. Foley dropped a goal following a scrum on the Mary's 25. Just before the interval L. Cheevers added another try and conversion. After the restart St. Mary's made a determined effort and full-back T. Hickey's lengthy clearances kept us pinned down for a while. However, following a serum on the 25, T. Foley at out-half got possession and sold a dummy to his opposite number. He ran to the half-way before transferring to L. Cheevers who outpaced his pursuers to score beneath the posts. He also kicked the conversion. Shortly afterwards Bannigan broke from a line-out and transferred to J.Desmond who made ground before handing over to M. Russell for a fine try. L. Cheevers converted. Just on time a break from the line-out by Desmond saw the ball handled by all eight forwards backing up before Egan crossed in the corner. L. Cheevers failed with the kick.
Castleknock, 41 St. Andrews, 3
As the score suggests this match was somewhat one-sided but we would like to congratulate a far younger and lighter side in never giving up for a moment.
Castleknock, 5 Methody, 5
On Saturday the 13th of October we travelled to Belfast to play Methody. As the score suggests this was an evenly fought contest although 'Knock held a distinctive territorial advantage, particularly in the second half. This was the first really tough match and it was interesting to see how we would fare under pressure. The forwards, after a somewhat lackadaisical first half, took on a new lease of life in the second and despite some relapses into their former state of tranquillity were on the whole quite good. A feature of the game was the rib-crushing tackling of F. Robinson, playing his first match at wing-forward. Our only score came when L. Cheevers dribbled over early in the second half and also converted. Methody replied with a good try from their own line. This, too, was converted.
Castleknock, 6 Belvedere, 6
We took the field against Belvedere with L. Reynolds at full-back and T. Grealy in the centre in place of the injured L. Cheevers. Playing against a strong wind we had obviously decided we could not be expected to score until the second half. In addition we lost M. Flood shortly after the kick-off, and Belvedere notched up six points in as many minutes. The Castleknock reaction was pathetic and with the exception of two feeble counter-attacks which broke down through careless passing the Castleknock team seemed to be wandering about in a daze. The only mystery was how Belvedere failed to score more before half-time. However, after the interval it was a vastly different story. The 'Knock pack hunting like tigers in the loose and the backs running with determination and speed. Following a set scrum 'Knock gained possession and Desmond sent Foley away for a beautiful try under the posts. Although he did not convert this one B. Mullan shortly afterwards landed a fine penalty. This put us on equal footing with Belvedere and from a dull uninteresting struggle this match developed into a battle royal. Both sides attacked but were repulsed and then just when it seemed as if we must score F. Robinson retired injured. Thus reduced to thirteen men we continued to battle on. The remaining forwards in particular are worthy of note for their wholehearted efforts to gain supremacy.
Castleknock, 22 St. Paul's, 0
For the match against Paul's we had F. Maguire playing his first match in the centre. The match itself was scrappy, the one redeeming feature was the excellent fielding of T. Grealy at full-back. The forwards, too, showed improved form and their loose play was an improvement on previous form. However, they did not yet display their full potential. In the first half L. Cheevers kicked a penalty, Mullan and Maguire scored tries. After the restart Dunne rounded off short passing by the forwards with a try, and O'Donnell scored two fine tries. Mullan converted two.
Castleknock, 6 Blackrock, 5
As the score might suggest this was a very evenly contested game. Both our scores came in the first half: Frank Maguire, try and W. O'Donnell, try. Blackrock's goal came midway through the second period. This match was peculiar in so far as the forward superiority seemed to alternate between both packs. Apart from the set scrums in which 'Knock "were decisively beaten, our pack were superior in the first half. N. Fitzpatrick did some good work in the line-outs and was ably supported by B. Mullan. On the resumption after the interval Blackrock gained the initiative and launched attack after attack on our line. Only some very determined tackling in the centre saved us from defeat. T. Grealy also excelled and his excellent play at full-back was the one redeeming feature in what can only be described as a very poor display by the 'Knock team as a whole.
Castleknock, 6 Newbridge, 3
This was a hard, keenly-fought match. Coming after such a dreadful display against 'Rock the improvement in this game was most heartening. The forwards hunted together as a pack in the loose, and held their own in the line-outs. The backs, too, were competent and Foley at out-half was good in his handling and kicking. Newbridge scored first with a well-taken penalty goal. At half-time they still led by three points but shortly after the resumption good backing-up by L. Cheevers was rewarded with a try. Late in the game after much pressure O'Donnell pounced on a loose ball to make the score 6-3 and leave us winners by a narrow margin.
Castleknock, 8 Terenure, 0
The match against Terenure was played on a rather dull November Saturday. At no time during the game did our play reach a very high standard. In the first half following a scrum about twelve yards from the Terenure line Desmond sent Foley over on the blind side. Grealy failed to convert. Ten minutes after the restart Egan added a second try following a well-placed kick by Foley. L. Cheevers converted.
Castleknock, 34 Clongowes, 8
This decisive victory over Clongowes was definitely our most impressive display to date. It would be incongruous to mention any particular player as the star of this match for it was teamwork that secured the points. The pack hunted together as a unit; they scrummed hard, jumped well in the line-out, but the quick heels from the loose mauls were by far their best contribution to the play. It was indeed a quick heel which gave W. O'Donnell his first try. T. Foley also got over as a result of a smart heel. The play of the backs today was far superior to anything they have produced this season. The passing was accurate and their handling was at all times excellent. T. Grealy also secured a try by coming in to make the extra man most efficiently. O'Donnell added another and Dunne, Cheevers and Egan also had tries, Cheevers converting five and kicking a penalty goal.
Blackrock, 11 Castleknock, 6
This was a thoroughly unsatisfactory match from our point of view. Not only was it our first defeat of the season but it was a very poor display by the team. A false impression of our powers following our heavy defeat of Clongowes may have been in some way responsible for the nonchalant attitude with which we took the field for this match. Our backs looked dreadfully slow and were far too casual in their handling of the ball and in their tackling. The pace of the forwards was infinitely slow, the heeling from the loose was deplorable, and the line-out play mediocre. P. Kirwan had a good try in the first half. In the second period L. Cheevers landed a penalty.
Castleknock, 9 Past, 8
The annual match against the Past this year got off to a slow start. For the entire first half the Past forwards dominated, their rucking being extremely good. As a result of a good heel from a loose scrum T. O'Reilly made an excellent break before cross-kicking to send J. Murray over under the posts. J. McIlvenna converted. On the resumption, however, the Present pack in which Bannigan, Cheevers and Mullan were outstanding began to settle down and our backs saw more of the ball. The Past scored again with a try by T. O'Donnell. This was seemingly the signal for a supreme effort by the Present XV. Attack followed attack and the inevitable try came when J. Desmond broke from a scrum on the 25 and raced over. Shortly afterwards L.Cheevers kicked a penalty. Play was interrupted here as the unfortunate S. Fuller had to retire with a shoulder injury. Just on time a brilliant effort by the 'Knock pack produced a scrum on the 25 from which B. Mullan scored. L. Cheevers failed with the kick just as the final whistle sounded. Congratulations to Fr. Crowley who braved the elements and spectators alike to give a fine display at full-back for the Past.
Castleknock, 11 S. Columbas, 8
Our match against Columbas was our first since the end of November and consequently we can claim with some justification lack of match practice. However, taking all things into consideration it was an extremely disappointing dress rehearsal for our Cup campaign. The forwards were lifeless. The following up was non-existent. Loose scrumming was poor. In fact the only redeeming factor about the forward play was the excellent jumping in the line-out of N. Fitzpatrick. Our backs showed very little penetration and the tackling in this particular match was not as good as usual. in favour of Columbas. We opened the scoring when L. Cheevers touched down following a line-out on the Columba's line. Shortly afterwards R. Bolens, the Columba's left-wing, scored two magnificent tries, one of which was converted, to leave the score at half time 8 pts. to 3 pts. After half-time, however, we improved somewhat and a try by F. Maguire and a try and conversion by L. Cheevers left us victorious by 11 pts. to 8.
Castleknock, 12 Mountjoy, 0
We opened our Cup campaign with a 12 pts. win over Mountjoy. All twelve pts. came from tries. L. Cheevers got three and T. Grealy one. From our point of view, however, the game could hardly be described as successful. Our forwards were beaten for speed on the loose ball and for drive in the rucks. However, we did manage to secure five balls against the head to nil. The line-outs were scrappy but our pack definitely had the edge in this department. . The backs were competent, if not exceptional. The. half-back partnership was good, the defence in the centre excellent. However, Grealy at full-back appeared at times to be just a little" too cool"
Castleknock, 17 Roscrea, 3
Our second Cup match in which we defeated Mount St. Joseph's, Roscrea, was transferred from Donnybrook to the Blackrock College grounds at Williamstown. The game itself was uninspiring and the ~up match atmosphere was conspicuous by Its absence as was the case in the match against Mountjoy. The forwards with B.Mullan playing in the second row and N. Kennedy coming on at wing-forward were slightly improved in their speed about the field. The scrumming and line-outs were also above 'par.' The passing of the backs showed a distinct improvement and all ran well with the ball when in possession. P. Kirwan, 2; F. Maguire, 1; O. Egan, 1, scored the tries, only two of which were scored in the first half. L. Cheevers also kicked a penalty and converted one try. Roscrea got a penalty.
Castleknock, 15 C.B.C. Monkstown, 0
Our match against C.B.C. Monkstown, while keenly contested, was disappointing from our point of view. The forward play in the line-outs was bad and the set scrumming was quite poor. The only phase of forward play that showed any Improvement was the loose ruckings. Here we got most of the ball and our backs were given a chance to show their paces. Here I would quote The Irish Times: "The Castleknock backs are by no means adverse to mounting handling attacks, but they showed a lack of judgement in trying to beat a keen defence by individual breaks nor have they mastered the exact timing of the pass." Kirwan, 1; Robinson, 1; Cheevers, 2, all scored tries, although none were converted. L. Cheevers also kicked a penalty goal.
Castleknock, 3 Belvedere, 3
For the report on this match I would like to quote the Daily Telegraph.
" Castleknock let their chances of winning the Leinster Schools Senior Cup semi-final slip through over-eagerness at Lansdowne Road yesterday, and in the end had to be content with a draw.
" In the opening half Castleknock's prolific try-scoring wing-forward Cheevers failed with a feasible penalty-kick and soon afterwards fly-half Foley was just wide with a drop at goal. The opening twenty minutes were dominated by the incessant attacks by the Castleknock forwards, of whom Bannigan, Cheevers, Fitzpatrick and Dunne were prominent. But the two biggest mistakes were perpetrated by Foley who hesitated in passing with the Belvedere line at his mercy. A similar faux pas was committed by Kirwan who let the ball slip from his fingers with the line at his mercy. Belvedere's strength lay in their extreme coolness under pressure coupled with a remarkable capacity for extracting themselves from the most precarious positions.
" Castleknock scored first when J. Desmond broke on the blind side of a serum on the Belvedere line and sent Cheevers over in the corner. Shortly afterwards Belvedere levelled the scores with a magnificent penalty by Morgan· and although 'Knock attacked continuously until the end they did not score again”
Castleknock, 5 Belvedere, 6
We kicked off with the wind in our semifinal replay against Belvedere at Lansdowne Road. Straight away misfortune struck for the ball went into touch and we were whistled back for a serum. This was the shape of things to come, for nothing seemed to go right for us today.
The forwards never found the same fury and relentlessness of purpose that had so marked the first semi-final. The half-backs were not as competent as on previous occasions and indeed T. Grealy was the only one of us to emulate his performance of the previous match.
We started well and about eight minutes after the kick-off Larry Cheevers scooped up a loose ball and crashed over for a try. He himself converted to bring his total number of points for the season to 97. Belvedere counter-attacked strongly and following an infringement Belvedere were awarded a penalty. W. Morgan, the Belvedere scrum-half for once hit the upright and the 'Knock pack scrambled the ball away. However, shortly afterwards a 'Knock player was penalised for obstruction and this time Morgan made no mistake. Belvedere now seemed to gain a new lease of life and changed over after half-time with renewed confidence.
The first twenty minutes of the second half was a dull forward battle with both sides reluctant to open up the game. Morgan was again narrowly wide with a shot at goal which was duly cleared by T. Grealy. However, another infringement near the scrum gave Morgan the chance he wanted and once again we watched the ball sail over between the posts. Try as we might, we were unable to score again, though T. Grealy shaved the posts with a penalty.