Suttonians 98’s - who won the Schools Youths / Metro Cup double last season - retained their trophy after a gritty performance which marked a wonderful end to a challenging campaign.
Victory was sweet for Suttonians after a season of change and development for the Northsiders, who despite fielding two teams at Under-14 level this year battled for consistency all season. The big goal was always going to be knitting a new unit together as schools commitments and injury owned longstanding players and jumbled the spine of the team throughout. New players stepped up and other players progressed incredibly well, ably lead by vice-captain Sam Osborne and captain Fergus Flood.
On the night Barnhall drew first blood, scoring a great touchdown through their flying left wing only for Sutton prop Jack Aungier to level things just before the break. Tied at half-time the game was won in what is termed the ‘championship minutes’ – just after halftime - as Sam Osborne struck twice after great lead up play involving a variety of players.
James McCourt converted the second, which was to prove vital. Barnhall, all power and abrasion fought back and struck twice themselves to set up an incredible last few minutes. Working their dangerous left wing into space again (one of many threats in blue), things looked to be swinging towards the ‘Blue Bulls’ but for substitute Sean Cribbin, returning from a broken hand, to pull a last ditch ‘Stringer-esque’ tap tackle out of the bag. Suttonians held on, just about, under severe pressure, and the match was won 17-15.
Credit must go to Barnhall for an absorbing contest played in wonderful spirits, and a mention for referee Michael Gaffney of Coolmine who did an excellent job. Well done to Suttonians ‘98s’, champions once again – the commitment of all 35 players earning the reward.
Thanks in particular to the Suttonians parents for their fantastic support all season and for many years.