Castleknock College Union

1983 SCT Club

Senior House Rugby

Mar 17, 1983
1983 SCT Club -

Ian Kelly, Leinster cap

There were early indications that this season was going to be a promising one. Two useful wins against St. Mary's and Templeogue were followed by a hard-fought draw against Belvedere.

Then followed a most successful second venture into the Blackrock Schools Festival. The college fought their way through the preliminary section to a place in the final against C.B.C. Monkstown. C.B.C. took the lead in the first half with a well-worked try and in the difficult playing conditions appeared to be holding out. As the game approached its end Pat Ward took a quick throw in. the ball was moved out to the right wing and then back through another half-dozen pairs of hands before Jody Fanagan crossed for an excellent try in the left hand corner. Karl Rowe with amazing coolness converted from the touchline. There was still an anxious two minutes to negotiate but this was comfortably achieved and the College had won the trophy in Blackrock's centenary season. The successful run was continued until midterm including a well-earned victory against Methodist College, Then followed the college's first English tour for some time. The 1st and 2nd XV's both went. The departure was delayed by the fisherman's blockade of Dublin port. The destination was Manchester where six matches had been arranged. Fr. Walshe solved the problem of how to get there by suggesting the Larne-Stranraer Ferry and a coach down to Manchester. This ordeal took 16 hours but everyone took it in good part. The first match against William Hulme Grammar School, saw the College establish a 16-9 lead but a lack of discipline and weary legs in the last few minutes saw the home team gain a 19-16 win. In the second game against De La Salle Grammar School, the college missed innumerable chances to go ahead before our hosts gained victory with an excellent try. Despite losing our unbeaten record the tour was a great success and may be repeated in the near future. Included was a trip to Blackpool and ended with a visit to Old Trafford to watch the United City/Derby match. Our first match after mid-term resulted in a win for Terenure then D.L.S. and C.B.C. Monkstown were defeated in successive games. However. Blackrock and St. Paul's succeeded in gaining well-earned victories over us but the College returned to winning ways before Christmas by beating Roscrea and High School. After Christmas we faced strong opposition in C.B.C. from Cork and again missed several scoring opportunities to allow C.B.C. to gain a narrow victory. Two away games followed resulting in two more wins. The first was achieved without conviction against C.U.S. but the second was remarkable in that the college were 16 points down to C.B.C. Monkstown at half-time. Cup hopes seemed very distant at this moment but a sterling display by the pack and a tightening up in defence resulted in the college achieving an extraordinary win by 18-16. This ability to persevere was going to prove invaluable in the cup campaign.

The draw favoured the college in the first round with a game against St. Columba's who had qualified from the 'A' section but from then on the way to the final was going to be exceedingly difficult. A powerful display by the pack kept the college in control against St. Columba's who could only manage a penalty goal against eight tries. In the second round St. Michael's promised to use a much sterner test and so it proved. The college started in convincing style with a fine break by Jim Shortall which was stopped close to the Michael's line. But it wasn't long before a fluid passing movement ended with Colin Murtagh scoring a fine try in the corner. This was followed by a penalty by Jody Fanagan. Any ideas of an easy win were soon dispelled when St. Michael's scored a breakaway try. The college pack continued to control matters up front and just on half time Pat Ward forced his way over. In the second half St. Michael's engineered a blind side break and reduced the arrears to 11-8. But before they could capitalise Joe Fogarty ran 40 yards for an excellent score. The pack dominated the game from that point and in the closing minutes Karl Rowe added a long range penalty.

The first match against Clongowes should have been won fairly comfortably. Two penalties by Karl Rowe and a well-taken drop goal by Jody Fanagan left the college 9-6 in front at halftime. The pack totally dominated the second half but wrong options were taken, territorial advantage wasn't utilised and in the last minute Clongowes broke away, the college conceded a penalty and Clongowes equalised. It felt as though a defeat had been suffered but at least the college was still there and fighting. For drama and excitement there wasn't anything in the Schools Cup this season to surpass the events in the replay. Clongowes were a different team and with the elements in their favour put the college under siege. A penalty gave Clongowes a 3-0 lead, the college missed several opportunities to equalise and just before half-time Clongowes scored a converted try to put them in command. Karl Rowe kicked a penalty soon after half-time but Clongowes replied immediately and the task was as big as ever. Jody Fanagan was asked to take the next penalty from the right. He made no mistake but once again the college were 9 points down as a fine forward rush saw Clongowes penetrate deep into the colleges half and then their out half dropped a goal. At this stage the cup campaign seemed over. But in the last ten minutes of the game the forwards showed their true worth. They laid siege to the Clongowes line and with six minutes to go Gerard Eivers forced his way over in the corner. At 15-10 the score was at least respectable. Now their was doubt in the Clongowes side and for the first time in this game they appeared fallible. They were pressed back on their own line; the minutes sped by and as normal time ended they were still holding out. A penalty conceded on the right enabled the college to run the ball, a ruck formed on the Clongowes line and unbelievably Jim Shortall drove over the line leaving the score 14-15. The game hinged on the conversion attempt. Karl had not had too successful a day with his kicking but there was no mistake this time. Possibly the only people watching were the officials because the roar of success from the college supporters appeared to come seconds after the ball was safely through the posts. There was still an action packed minute to negotiate but having come back from a seemingly impossible situation the college were not to be denied and held on for a truly amazing victory.

The victory secured against Terenure was certainly less dramatic but no less praiseworthy. The Terenure backs were exceedingly quick and dangerous but the control of the college pack and some very fine tackling ensured that they got little scope. College took the lead after a few minutes when Pat Ward picking up at the base of the scrum, made room for Jim Shortall. to make an electrifying burst and run 40 yards to score a great try. Terenure's equaliser also came from a blind side break and at half-time the sides were tied at 4-4. For a period in the second half Terenure gained the upperhand and for a while 'Knock were under pressure. But gradually the college forwards wore down the opposition. At this stage the injured Gerard Eivers was replaced by Mark O'Shea but the effort was sustained. Terenure had the opportunity to take the lead with a fairly difficult penalty but the effort went wide. When the College was presented with a similar opportunity Jody Fanagan was entrusted with the kick and made no mistake and from that moment victory seemed assured.

The most difficult match was still to come. For the first time in the cup campaign injury problems arose. Besides Gerard Eivers' sprained ankle Pat Ward was suffering from a strained hamstring and the team was unable to train as a unit until shortly before the final. Whether or not this disrupted the side or whether it was having to play four hard and confidence gave way to anxiety. The De La Salle side was very good and much better than most of the critics had given them credit for. At the same time "Knock had long periods of ascendancy and two tries were denied by marginal touch decisions. When D.L.S. applied the pressure midway through the second half the "Knock defence looked vulnerable. This time there was to be no remarkable recovery, although Colin Murtagh came very close to scoring in the very last second we had not even the consolation of one try.

Update: SCT Final video

The team can be immensely proud of their achievements and for making Castleknock a college to be reckoned with in the Leinster Senior Cup. The Cup team was: K. Rowe. C. Murtagh. J. Butler. R. Hearne. J. Mason. J. Fanagan. J. Shortall. G. Eivers. I. Kelly. R. Carthy. P. Brady. S. Byrne. J. Fogarty (Capt.). P. Ward. J. Brady. Subs.: T. Doyle. P. Coleman, R. Rohan. D. Bell. L. Magee. P. Masterson and M. O'Shea who came on as replacement for G. Eivers against Terenure and D.L.S.


1st Round v. St. Columba's 42-3
2nd Round v. St. Michael's 18-8
3rd Round v. Clongowes 9-9
Replay v. Clongowes 16-15
Semi-final v. Terenure 7-4
Final v. D.L.S 6-13

The season wasn't quite over as teams were entered in the U.C.D. and Old Belvedere seven-aside competitions. In the former the college narrowly failed to make the play-off stages and at Anglesea Road were beaten in the semi-final by Clongowes the eventual winners. Those who played were: C. Murtagh. D. Bell. J. Mason. J. Fanagan. J. O'Shea. J. Shortall. P. Brady. P. Masterson. P. Ward. R. Brindley.


Although overshadowed by the exploits of the S.C.T. the Senior 2nd XV had a very successful and satisfying season. Captained by Tom Doyle they played a very good brand of rugby and out of a total of twenty one games played, lost only three. Most of the players had at least one game with the S.C.T. and for those returning in September the experience will be very beneficial. A new fixture was played this year against Bandon G.S. coached by Peter Desmond a former student. The team also went on tour to Manchester, winning one game easily and losing to St. Bedes IstXV — a much bigger side — by 9-6. Their only other defeat in friendly matches was by Blackrock and one game against Kings Hospital was drawn.

The draw for the Seconds League was quite hard. In our section Templeogue put up strong resistance in the first half but then conceded 22 points without reply in the second half. Presentation College. Bray were accounted for fairly easily which brought together Knock & Belvedere in the deciding match. The 2nds played their best game of the season and had a very convincing 24-6 victory. Terenure 3rd XV defended very stubbornly in the quarter final and it needed two penalty goals by Rod Campbell to secure a narrow 6-3 victory. Hopes were high of reaching the final but the semi-final hurdle in the form of Blackrock House XV was too great. Although leading 10-6 at halftime a mistake immediately after halftime put Rock in front 12-10. They increased this lead with a drop goal and for the first time in the season the forwards were unable to present the backs with sufficient good ball to retrieve the situation. Mark O'Shea didn't play in the matches against Terenure and Blackrock and in both these games was a big loss. Tom Doyle was a tireless leader and got the maximum effort out of his side.

All the players deserve enormous praise for the way they played through out the season. The following was the 2nd XV panel: Tom Doyle (Captain). C. McCann. R. Campbell. D. Bell. D. Stone. K. Doyle, B. Rogers. J. Reynolds,T. Mullen. L. Magee. B. Reddin. P. Coleman. J. Kent, M. O'Shea, P. Masterson, K. Scott, E. Byrne. K. Halpenny, P. McGuckian, S. Johnston. R. Rohan and R. Brindley.


The Third Fifteen had an enjoyable and successful season. We played twenty matches, thirteen of which we won. We scored 455 points and conceded 175. The team itself was well balanced and effective and when playing well could be quite impressive. Our trouble was. that after one or two convincing wins we were inclined to "go off the boil" and we would sustain a number of losses before we got ourselves in hand again. We began with wins against St. Mary's and Belvedere. We then lost to De La Salle and Newbridge. Before the midterm we beat Monkstown and lost to Blackrock After the mid-term we again lost to Blackrock. This was followed by wins against Blackrock. St. Paul's. Clongowes and Terenure. We played two friendly matches after Christmas beating St. Michael's and losing to Monkstown.

At the end of January the League began. We hit form and won all the matches in our section: Templeogue 28-12, King's Hospital 26-4. Newbridge 19-6 and Clongowes 25-3. In the quarter-final we met Terenure. We were leading 12-0 at halftime but then we lost control of the game. Terenure took the initiative and we felt very lucky to win eventually 16-13. We faced Blackrock in the semi-final. From the beginning of the match it was evident that we were not on form. Blackrock took the initiative in the forwards but we managed to contain them for most of the first half and hoped that a little clean possession would tilt the scales in our favour. Blackrock scored from a good break-away and ten minutes into the second half followed this by another, leading us now 10-0. We finally scored with a break from the base of the scrum. We lost 4-10. We felt we could have won the match and the competition on another day. But we suppose that all teams feel this from time to time and by and large we were very satisfied with the year.

The make-up of the team changed a lot during the year. Stephen O'Neill came in from the backs to hook, and got the hang of it. He was propped by Richard Brady and Robert Moore who both became very useful also in loose play. Stephen Murphy, Patrick Reynolds and Mark Hennebry gave solid support in the second row while Patrick won a lot of ball in the line-out. In the back row Paul Nolan and Shane Reihill were particularly useful in loose play. Paul Curran at scrum-half was perhaps our biggest scorer and once problems of passing were ironed out he and Daniel O'Connell began to send out very good possession. Joe Barry and Martin Rafferty in the centres were dangerous when they had a bit of clear possession. Paul Keogh and Pat Billington had both a good turn of speed on the wings. Tony Stanley was a reliable full-back. In the last matches we were joined by Bill Rogers at wing-forward and Keith Doyle at full back.

We would like to thank our trainer Fr. O'Donovan.