Cork Rugby: Garrett Fitzgerald's memory will live on in the Senior Cup

The late Munster stalwart was a prominent player and coach with Christians
Cork Rugby: Garrett Fitzgerald's memory will live on in the Senior Cup

Áine O’Donnell and daughter Megan pictured at CBC with the Garrett Fitzgerald Cup. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

MUNSTER Schools Senior Cup followers will fully endorse the decision to re-name the famous trophy the Garrett Fitzgerald Cup in memory of the province’s former CEO, who passed away in February of last year.

Garrett’s connections to a competition - which dates back to 1909 - are strong and undeniable, first as a powerful prop forward for CBC in their 1971 triumph over St Munchin’s and then later as an outstanding coach.

The class of ’71 began a remarkably successful era in Christians because they went on to not only retain their title the following year, again against St Munchin’s, but complete four-in-row with wins over Rockwell College and fierce rivals PBC in 1974.

Garrett’s coaching touch was clearly evident during his spell at the Cork school, guiding them to five senior cups, including four on the spin once more, from 1997 to 2000.

Coincidentally, Christians’ run of victories again began with a final win over St Munchin’s before Pres, St Munchin’s, yet again, and Rockwell, all fell to the coaching touch of Garrett, who had plotted the downfall of World Cup winners Australia during his reign as Munster coach in the early 1990s.

The decision to re-name the cup in a honour of Garrett, who steered Munster Rugby for two decades, will add further interest to the 2022 edition when it starts early next year.

Schools have completed a rankings competition in which teams were divided into two pools with the standings determining the shape of how the cup will run.

Crescent College Comprehensive revealed their hand by winning all four games in Group A, including a 40-28 victory over Christians in a game of 10 tries. Christians defeated St Munchin’s and Rockwell College.

Bandon Grammar School topped Group B with a 100 per cent record, which had a 26-17 triumph over Pres back in early October as the outstanding result.

The Mardyke school defeated Ardscoil Ris, Castletroy College and Glenstal Abbey to finish runners-up.

The same format was used in the junior cup with Pres and Crescent dominating Group A with three wins and a 3-3 draw between the sides.

St Munchin’s are ranked three ahead of Bandon GS, who are one from four, and Glenstal, who lost all four games.

Christians dominate Group B, which concludes this afternoon with the final game with the section leaders at home to Ard Scoil Rís.

The Cork school won all three games convincingly, conceding just one try in the process while crossing for 14 themselves.

AIL

Meanwhile, in energia All-Ireland League, both Cork Constitution and Highfield made successful trips across the border at the weekend to extend their winning sequence of results.

But, it was close all the way as Con dug out a hard-fought 19-17 win over bottom club Ballynahinch, who picked up a losing bonus point to inch closer to UCC.

Con had to come from behind in the second half and their tries came from Rob Jermyn, John Forde and captain Aidan Moynihan, who converted two.

It was Con’s fourth successive win and lifts them into the top four in Division 1A for the first time this season after seven rounds of games.

They are third on 21 points, edging Young Munster, who lost for the second week on the trot, going down 38-3 away to Trinity College, on points’ difference, +32 to +4.

Clontarf maintained their position at the summit with a 36-17 bonus-point win over UCC at the Mardyke.

 Mark Bissessar, UCC, is tackled by Cathal O'Flynn, Clontarf, in their Energia AIL Division 1A match at the Mardyke. Picture Dan Linehan
Mark Bissessar, UCC, is tackled by Cathal O'Flynn, Clontarf, in their Energia AIL Division 1A match at the Mardyke. Picture Dan Linehan

Lansdowne thumped Garryowen 29-5 in Limerick as the home side slipped out of the semi-final placings.

Highfield made it a magnificent seven victories with a 26-19 success in Banbridge, surviving a spirited second-half rally from the Ulster side, who trailed 5-21 at half-time.

The Division 1B leaders, who rested leading scorer Miah Cronin, jumped 14-0 in front with two tries from Eddie Earle, both converted by James Taylor.

Ben Murphy crossed for a third try, Taylor again obliging from the tee, before Banbridge responded with a try of their own.

Sam Burns clinched the important fourth try for a bonus point to make it 26-12, but Banbridge didn’t go quietly and scored a third try to make it an anxious run-in for Field.

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