6th Form Rugby is co-ordinated by Mr. Ivan Dunne. Training takes place on Tuesdays 3 -4.15pm, Thursdays 3-4.15pm and Saturdays from 10-11am. Head coaches are Luke Hickey, Mark Rooney, Breifne Ryan, Karl Curran, Mick Burke and Howard Beary.
In case of inclement weather: Tuesdays and Thursdays: A text will be sent by 2pm and boys are supervised until they are collected. 6th Form boys may walk or take the bus / dart home if they inform a teacher and if this is their usual means of transport home. Saturdays: A text will be sent by 8am.
Saturday 11th April:
2 teams in CUS Blitz this Saturday. Meet at Bird Avenue at 9.30am, finish 1.30pm approx. Please park at nearby cul de sac as there is no parking in the grounds due to building works. See teams below...
Coleraine Blitz Report
Willow Park “Lions”
Four 6th Form teams set off for Coleraine at 6am on Saturday morning. The early start was the first challenge of the day for the boys (and their parents!). After a little over three hours on the busses we arrived at the grounds and got the boys out onto the pitches as quickly as possible as the first kick off was at 10.15am. The defeat away to Methody was still fresh in the memory of the Lions and they knew the importance of having a sharp warm-up after a long bus journey. With matches being only 7 minutes a half the boys knew that they needed to be clinical with any chances they got and, after an excellent warm up, went into their first game full of confidence.
1st Group Match Willow Park 31 - 0 Cambridge House
The first match set the tone for the day as the Lions got off to a flying start. Tries from Ruairi Moore, Sean O’Brien and Ryan O’Connell gave Willow a comfortable half time lead in a match they dominated. Sean O’Briens try was the pick of the bunch as a well worked restart move led to Sean going the length of the pitch to score. There was some great back play by Ross O’Reilly that helped lead to second half scores by William Spain and Killian McQuaid that sealed the victory. Willow probably missed 1 or 2 opportunities but overall all performed well and gained a lot of confidence from the game.
2nd Group Match Willow Park 19 - 0 Bangor
The Lions won their second game of the day with some great running rugby that ended with tries for Ryan O’Connell and William Spain in the first half. Again Willows restarts were particularly pleasing, as a lot of practice had gone into this area all year, and Tom Dwan and Rhys Rowlands cleaned up almost everything (only 1 was missed in all 6 games). A pre planned move was called by Tom Dwan, after a penalty was awarded in the second half, which resulted in Matty McShane diving over the line from Conor McAleers inside pass to score and seal the result.
3rd Group Match Willow Park 17 – 0 Campbell College
Willow again came out on top in arguably the Lions toughest game of the day. Campbell were also undefeated and had an excellent 8/9 combination that threatened throughout. After losing captain Tom Dwan through injury Willow stepped up their play with great work at the breakdown by Patrick Doherty. JJ Acton managed to give Willow the lead with his first try of the day on the right hand wing, despite shaking like a leaf due to the cold! The second score was a bit more controversial as the referee awarded a penalty try as David Fitzgibbon was pushed trying to recover his own kick over the line. Tim O’Brien rounded off a great display by the forwards, in particular Luke Mion, by scoring off the back of a maul in the second half.
Quarter Final Willow Park 5 – 0 Sullivan
A single JJ Acton try separated the sides in the Quarter Final. Willow, still recovering from the lunch break and the dreaded hamburgers, started slowly but again controlled the match as Charlie Reilly directed the pack around the pitch. Willow did not have things their own way but defended and rucked bravely throughout to see them through to the semi-final.
Semi-Final Willow Park 22 – 0 The Royal School Armagh
The Semi-Final was played on a wider pitch than Willows previous matches and Charlie Reilly took full advantage. With their first two possessions of the match Willow ran in identical scores as they moved the ball into Ruairi Moore’s hands on the left wing and he showed blistering pace on the outside to finish. David Fitzgibbon and Sean O’Brien sealed a brilliant win for the boys as they continued their marked improvement in each game they played. Zach Kelly came on and hit everything that moved as Charlie Reilly used the wind well to ensure Willow played out the game in the opposition half. It was a very mature display as they made all the correct decisions without looking to the sideline for help.
Final Willow 29 – 0 RBAI
Willow invariably saved their best till last as their fitness shone through in the Final. Matthew Flynn scored first with a fantastic 60m break that showed both pace and power. Further scores by William Spain (who didn’t go looking for any gum shields on the day), JJ Acton (x2) and Luke Mion sealed a memorable win for the boys and continued Willows brilliant record in this competition. Sean O’Brien collected the man of the match award before Tom Dwan collected the trophy (To complete a mildly successful weekend for the family!) and it was great to see the lads get their reward for all their hard work this year. That their first reaction after the final whistle was to commiserate with the opposition also showed a great attitude within the group.
On a personal note, Mark and I have thoroughly enjoyed coaching the Lions this year. They have the makings of a great team and will go on to further success if they keep working as hard as they did this year and enjoying themselves while doing it. Charlie Reilly won our player of the tournament award. He played with great maturity all day and his game management and leadership were particular highlights for me. It’s highly satisfying as a coach when everything you work on in training comes off on the pitch and a lot of praise has to go to Matty and Tom who lead the team brilliantly.
Finally, I have to mention the other 3 Willow Teams in the blitz. Mr. Dunnes Crusaders, coached by Peter Condon, were unlucky to be knocked out after the group stages and were probably hampered by injuries to the Lions and Tigers. The Tigers, coached by Karl Curran and Breifne Ryan, were entered into the A Section for the first time ever. As expected the boys lifted their game and managed to win the Plate section of the blitz. The Tigers have a number of players who would be on any other schools A team and they proved that fact in Coleraine. The final Willow team deserves a special mention. The 4th team were entered as a result of the Tigers moving up a section and all I can say is, they did exactly as Mr. Crinion asked and put themselves down in the history books! Coached by Rory Crinion and James “Mourinho” Doherty the boys managed to win the B Section of the competition and completed the first ever clean sweep of trophies for Willow Park in the Coleraine Blitz. They showed the strength in depth in Willow Park and are a credit to the school. Thanks to Rory Crinion for organising everything (as always!) and to all the parents, especially those that travelled to Coleraine.
The Lions next game is this Friday the 22nd against London Irish and all support is appreciated.