The final of Irish rugby’s amateur club game took place on Sunday in a repeat of last year’s final between Clontarf and Cork Constitution.
In 2016, there was incredible drama as Clontarf edged out their southern rivals in an enthralling 28-25 victory. However, this time around it was Con who exacted revenge as a nail-biting second half saw them emerge as 25-21 winners.
The amateur club game in Ireland has decreased in popularity since the onset of professionalism and the continued success of the Irish provinces has been a major factor in this.
However, the club game still holds a very special place in the hearts of the Irish rugby public and it still serves a purpose. Just ask Ireland international, Joey Carbery, who announced himself to everyone when he put in an outstanding performance for Clontarf in last year’s final.
Since then, Carbery has gone on to be a crucial component of a Leinster squad vying for a PRO12 triumph while also adapting to the international game with absolute ease.
As a result, Sunday’s final at the Aviva Stadium offered the opportunity to showcase some talent which may have gone unnoticed.
Joe Schmidt was speaking to RTÉ Sport at halftime during Sunday’s final and he namechecked a number of players who left an impression on him.
“I mentioned Mick [McGrath] and Matt [D’Arcy], both have been involved in PRO12 action and young [Tomás] Quinlan, I could well see him being involved. He’s been involved in the Munster Academy. There’s a few different academy guys in the game today, Mick Kearney, obviously in the second-row for Clontarf, he was playing a couple of weeks ago for Leinster.
“So you know, there is a good smattering of guys who are on the cusp of the professional game and there’s a couple of guys who are probably going to make it there.”
— Seán McMahon (@Sean_McMahon89) May 7, 2017
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