Castleknock College Union

1965-66 JCT Winners

Junior House Rugby

Mar 17, 1966
1965-66 JCT Winners -

Mrs. Magee presents the Cup to her son John

 Captain—JOHN MAGEE. Vice-Captain—LIAM O'DWYER.


LOOKING back at these notes over the years one usually finds somewhere near the end a few words of condolence with the team on their defeat in the Cup competition and the hope expressed that a change of luck would come our way sometime in the future. It is pleasant to record that this change of luck did come our way this year, and played a significant part in bringing the Junior Cup back to the College once again. This does not take one whit from the performance of the team which in technique and courage was as fine a team as ever represented the College. In Cup football, however, luck plays an important role, and everything else being equal, the team that is going to win must get " the breaks ". It could be said of this year's Junior team that they made their own luck, for from the very beginning of the season a quiet determination was evident in the whole side. It was this determination never to give in, to withstand strong pressure for long periods without yielding, which ultimately brought final victory.

The season began quite inauspiciously. We had four members from last year's team, John Magee and Liam O'Dwyer in the backs, George Barrett and Justin Hay amongst the forwards. John Magee was elected captain with Liam O'Dwyer and George Barrett as his assistants. John, who had played at full-back and wing three-quarter last year, quickly settled down at out-half. With his fine bodv swerve and lengthy kicking he was also to emerge during the season as an excellent tactician and leader. Liam, who had played at wing three-quarter during last season's Cup campaign, filled one of the centre positions. With his fine defence allied to strong, hard running he was an invaluable asset to the side. To partner Liam in the centre David Murphy was brought from the forwards early in the season. He immediately settled down in his new position and with his speed and strength he soon became one of the team's outstanding members. A great struggle went on all during the season for the wing three-quarter positions. Contending for places were Richard Griffith, Michael Walsh and Andrew Thompson. Eventually Michael Walsh and Andrew Thompson, who was new to the game, established their claims, and played an important role in the Cup campaign. A word of special praise is due to Michael, an under 14, who had to make the big switch from prop forward on the Under 13's the previous season.

So to our two problem positions in the back line, scrum-half and full-back. To anvone who watched Martin Connolly at scrum-half or Brendan O'Colmain at fullback in the Cup competition, it must come as quite a surprise to hear that these were problem positions. Martin took up the scrumhalf job earlv in the season with some success. During November, however, he was forced to become our auxiliary back when a series of injuries to various players saw him operating at centre, wing three-quarter and full-back. Meanwhile, Eddie Desmond established his claims to the scrum-half position with some fine displays. Unfortunately an operation after Christmas was to put him out of the game for the rest of the season. Back came Martin to scrum-half. From this to the end of the season he went from strength to strength, sending out long, fast passes which enabled John Magee to escape the cover defence time after time. It was a big blow to us when Martin was forced to withdraw the dav of the Final through illness, but our heartiest congratulations must go to Pat Cunningham, who came on at the eleventh hour and played such an important part in our victory.

Completing our back line was Brendan O'Colmain at full-back. While a sound fielder and good kicker, a fatal tendency to let the ball hop left us in many a nasty situation during the season. Brendan's improvement in the Cup competition was reallv dramatic. Suddenly everything seemed to click and he was to give really memorable displays, particularly in the Semi-Final and Final.

We knew from the beginning of the season that the forwards would probably be the strongest department of the team. We had our two members from last year, George Barrett who took over the duties of scrum leader, and Justin Hay who controlled our line-out. Early in the season Justin was joined in the second row bv Under 14 Alex Martin whose height, weight and speed were to prove invaluable to us. In the front row Conor Gunne and Peter Hay established themselves as our prop-forwards. Peter, an Under 14, made particularly rapid progress and by the end of the season had become an outstanding forward. In the back row we had George Barrett at lock-forward. George had been a verv good forward the previous season and this year he fulfilled all our expectations, his leadership and drive being an inspiration to all. At wing-forward John Hutch and Peter Grant overcame all rival contenders and combined with George Barrett to make a very strong back row. At hooker Brendan Bohn withstood the strong challenge of Ranal Spelman and gave some excellent displays especially during the Cup campaign. Others to put in a strong challenge for permanent places on the team were Eamon Faller. Myles Dowley and Ronan Bradv amongst the forwards, and Declan Fearon and Andrew Kelly in the backs. All played in various matches throughout the vear. That they failed to gain permanent positions was no fault of theirs and their presence ensured that there would be always verv good replacements when the inevitable injuries occurred.

We had a very successful run in our Friendly matches. Our only defeat came at the hands of Clongowes, a defeat we managed to avenge later in the season.

Castleknock v.
CBC Monkstown Home Won 8 - 3
Belvedere Away Won 19 - 6
St. Mary's Away Won 5 - 3
De La Salle Home Won 19 - 8
Blackrock Away Drew- 0 - 0
Newbridge Home Won 6 - 3
Terenure Home Won 15 - 0
St. Paul's Away Won 28 - 16
Clongowes Away Lost 6 - 13
Blackrock Home Drew 3 - 3
CBC Monkstown Home Won 9 - 3
Clongowes Home Won 12 - 3



First Round


In this our first match of the Cup competition we got away to a slow start. Nerves were very much in evidence and although we were winning the ball regularly from scrums and line-outs, good covering by the opposition combined with our own shortcomings to prevent any scoring. Eventually, five minutes before half-time, we did manage to score. From a scrum in the middle of the field the ball was swung out quickly to Liam O'Dwyer who crossed for a good try near the posts. John Magee added the points to leave us with a 5-0 lead at half-time. In the second half we kept up the pressure and tries by Peter Grant, David Murphy and Liam O'Dwyer, one of which John Magee converted left us winners by 16-0.

Although we made many mistakes we were well satisfied with this result. The work of the forwards had been first-class, their powerful scrumming and good line-out play keeping us on the attack throughout the match. John Magee, Liam O'Dwyer and David Murphy were outstanding in a competent back-line.

Second Round


It was with a certain amount of trepidation that we returned to Donnybrook for our Second Round match against High School. They had eliminated St. Paul's in the previous round and we knew they had a verv strong pack and good backs. We were determined to make a quick start but in the event our hopes were exceeded. Winning the first scrum John Magee launched a high kick down the centre of the field. A loose scrum formed which we heeled quickly. Then a quick pass to the right by Martin Connolly gave John Magee a clear path to the line for a good try. Unfortunately we missed the easy convert. We were soon back, however. The forwards playing with tremendous drive were giving the backs a wonderful service. In spite of our prodigality in missing chances John Magee and Richard Griffith added two more unconverted tries before half-time.

Turning over with a 9-0 lead with the wind and rain to face in the second half, the issue was still very much in the balance. However, once again the forwards got away to a great start. From a scrum on the High School " 25 " a quick heel by Brendan Bohn saw John Magee make a fine break on the outside to cross under the posts. John converted himself to put the issue beyond doubt. From this point High School, using the wind and rain to good effect, began to get on top and in the closing minutes they scored two unconverted tries. Eventually it was a relieved 'Knock team who heard the final whistle. Full marks must go to our forwards for a wonderful display in this match. Brendan Bohn, aided by a well-timed shove, won a big majority of the balls in the scrums. Justin Hay, Alex Martin and Peter Grant dominated the line-outs, while in the loose play George Barrett, Peter Hay, John Hutch and Conor Gunne were outstanding. Behind the scrum Martin Connolly had yet another fine game at scrum half, while John Magee proved the match-winner with his three tries. The other backs saw little of the ball in the deplorable conditions but all fulfilled their duties competently. In our last line of defence Brendan O'Colmain showed great courage in dealing with some awkward situations near the end of the match. So we moved on to the Semi-Final against our great rivals Blackrock.



For this match we made one change, Andrew Thompson taking over at wing three-quarter in place of Richard Griffith. After two drawn Friendly matches both teams had a healthy respect for each other and it was some time before either team was prepared to give up safety-first tactics. At all stages of the game, however, the forward exchanges were extremely interesting. The scrums broke evenly, Brendan Bohn excelling himself against a rival who had had much the better of matters in one of the Friendlies. We held an advantage in the line-outs where the work of Alex Martin, Justin Hay and Peter Grant gave us an edge. It was the ability of the forwards, however, to heel critical balls in the loose scrums which eventually turned the match in our favour. We were thus able to negative a slight territorial advantage which 'Rock held in the first half and maintain a steadv offensive throughout the second period. Behind the scrum Martin Connolly at scrum-half and John Magee at out-half had their best games of the season. Martin sent out a stream of long accurate passes, while John, with his long kicking, whether in defence or attack, dictated the plav with ever-increasing confidence. In the centre Liam O'Dwyer and David Murphy were tremendously solid, while Andrew Thompson and Michael Walsh on the wings did all that was required of them. In this match full-back Brendan O'Colmain excelled himself, his magnificent fielding and kicking bringing continuous rounds of applause from the spectators. Amongst the forwards besides those already mentioned, our two props, Peter Hay and Conor Gunne, had outstanding games, while in the back row George Barrett and John Hutch were everywhere, George, in addition, by his drive and example, giving a tremendous display of leadership.

After an evenly contested first half which was scoreless we went on to the offensive in the second period. Our efforts were rewarded after ten minutes when John Magee landed the all-important penalty goal from a wide angle on the " 25 " . Towards the end 'Rock putting in a great rally, worked their winger clear on two occasions but Brendan O'Colmain put the seal on a wonderful personal performance with two fine tackles.



The loss of Martin Connolly through illness saw Pat Cunningham take over the duties of scrum-half. De La Salle attacked and for the first quarter of an hour we were under heavy pressure. Fine covering by John Magee and Liam O'Dwyer sealed off anv gaps, however, and as the match went on we gradually improved. At this stage Pat Cunningham was sending out fine passes and John Magee set up a number of promising attacks. From one of these David Murphv almost got over for a try. We eventually took the lead however, when John Magee, receiving from a loose scrum, dropped a fine goal. Soon afterwards we were extremely luckv when a penalty kick by De La Salle was barelv wide. We returned to the attack and just on half-time a well-worked move gave Liam O'Dwyer plenty of time to drop another goal, thus giving us an interval lead of six points.

So far everything had gone according to plan and there had been no indication of the terrible anxiety we would have to endure before we could eventually claim the Cup. Our troubles began ten minutes after halftime. An attempted drop-kick by John Magee went astrav and the loose ball was picked up by the De La Salle winger who made a long run before sending his centre over for a try. From this to the end we had to endure tremendous pressure but it was now that the real fighting spirit of the team showed itself. George Barrett, plaving the game of his life, brought off one flying tackle to save a certain score. John Magee remained absolutely calm behind his fighting forwards. At full-back Brendan O'Colmain was a tower of strength. Liam O'Dwyer and David Murphv were tremendously solid in the centre. In the final analysis it was the technique and fighting spirit of the forwards, so ably led by George Barrett, the coolness and determination of John Magee and Liam O'Dwver in the middle of the field, and the steadiness of Brendan O'Colmain at full-back which brought us final victory.

While extending our sympathies to De La Salle in their defeat we offer them our heartiest congratulations for putting up such a wonderful display in this, their first Final. To our own team we extend our sincerest congratulations on at last breaking the hoodoo which seemed to accompany all our efforts in the Junior Cup. The wonderful reception accorded them on their return to the College with the coveted trophy was but a just reward for their courage and determination.

We dedicate our final words to the wonderful opposition members of this year's Junior club. Firstly, a word of thanks for their generosity and self-sacrifice in helping to train the Cup-winning team. Secondly, a word of congratulation on the extremely high standard of their own play which, throughout the season, brought out the very best in the Cup team. That the Junior Cup is once again in the College is in no small part due to them.