Since the foundation of the school rugby has been the main sport for boys. There are several teams in the school ranging from first to sixth year. Sligo Grammar School is renowned in Connacht as a strong team historically and this has continued in recent seasons with the school enjoying great success. In both 2010 and 2014 the Seniors won the Connacht Schools Cup!
We were the winners of the Connacht League cup in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
Since 2010 Sligo Grammar School has had six players capped for Ireland at U18 level. These were Aaron Spring, Danny Qualter, Thomas Ferrari, Gary McConnell, Shane Boyle and Matthew Cosgrove. Numerous SGS players have been capped for Connacht at U17, U18 and U19. At U20 level, SGS past pupil, Kuba Wojtkovicz was capped for Ireland in 2018.
This year Hubert Gilvarry, Kacper Palamarczuk and William Whelan were all capped by Connacht and Kacper got an Irish cap in October, against Italy.
The rugby players have weight training twice a week as well as strength and conditioning sessions and both have proved very popular and successful for our senior squad.
Our rugby pitch was revamped in 2013 and is in great condition despite the rain! With such fantastic new sporting facilities we expect our sports teams to do us proud in the hunt for silver-ware!
This was an outstanding yearfor rugby at SGS. The highlight was the winning of the Connacht Schools A Senior League in December with a hard-fought victory over Garbally College. The score: 21 – 12. After conceding two tries in the opening quarter, when they were down to 14 men due to a yellow card, SGS slowly found their way back into the match, and, just before half-time, Kacper Palamarczuk broke through the Garbally defence where he was tackled by the Garbally full-back about 10m from the try line. Fiachra Staunton, in support, picked up the ball and powered over the line despite the best efforts of two Garbally defenders. The try was converted by Hubert Gilvarry. This gave SGS great hope as they started into the second half. The forwards continued to dominate with powerful carries from Matthew O’Hara, David Barlow, Seán Nee and Adam Hunter. A further try from Kacper, superbly converted by Hubert Gilvarry, put the Grammar School 14 – 12 up. For the next 13 minutes the game was mainly played between the two 22’s and some excellent rugby was in evidence despite the wind and rain. With 5 minutes to go Garbally attempted a clearance from outside the 22 which was superbly blocked down by Fiachra Staunton. Garbally retrieved the ball but Adam Hunter turned it over in the middle of the pitch and the ball was moved quickly by Jacob Fleming. a ruck developed out wide and quick thinking by Kacper saw him accelerating through a gap in the Garbally defence to score a try under the posts. A conversion by Hubert left the score at 21 – 12. Three minutes later the final whistle blew to leave the Grammar School as League Champions. While this was truly a team effort with every member playing his part, there were outstanding displays on the day. There was precision line-out throwing from James Whelan and an excellent defensive display from his brother Will. The excellent performances from Matthew O’Hara and Mark McGlynn got them an invitation to train with Connacht U19s. Well done to the team and thanks to all the fantastic supporters who travelled. Thanks especially to their dedicated coaches James Gavin, Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill and Gavin Foley.
Having won the Senior Connacht Schools Rugby League in December the Senior team was ready for battle when they came back to school in January. A fantastic 22- 14 win at home in the Connacht Schools Cup Semi Final against Roscommon CBS meant a place in the final before St Patricks Day. A wonderful season ended in heartbreak, however, as SGS were narrowly beaten 14-12 on March 11th in Galway. The squad were ably led by William Whelan and Fiachra Staunton.
Each player can be proud that they won a Connacht League and gave everything to the cause throughout the year. A huge thanks to Mr Gavin, Gavin Foley and Diarmuid O’Dowd- Hill who coached them so well throughout the year.
The juniors had a good 2019/2020 season. Still a young squad, they won 3 of their 7 League matches with victories over the Bish and Jes from Galway and St. Muredachs College, Ballina. They had some narrow defeats and were beaten by the eventual winners of the Connacht Schools Junior Cup in the semi-final of that competition. Many of the boys are back again for next season and no doubt their time will come. Well done to Captain Alastair Hill. A big thanks to Mr. Staunton and Diarmuid O’Dowd- Hill for their coaching throughout the season.
The U14s Showed great commitment during the year. They won about 50% of their matches and were well captained by Isaac Marsden. As a team-building trip they were to go see Ireland v Italy at the Aviva Stadium, but that match was unfortunately called off due to Covid19. Never fear, boys, we’ll get there in the future! A big thanks to Mr Alan Brandon and Luke Sexton for coaching.
CAPPED FOR IRELAND!
Fifth year student Kacper Palamarczuk has this week been capped for the Ireland U18 rugby team. Kacper was on the U18 Irish team that played Italy at Badia Polesine, near Venice, Italy. Kacper was selected at no 6 in the back row. Ireland was leading 19–17 with one minute to go but in the last play Ireland had a scrum and unfortunately the box kick from the no. 9 was blocked down by an Italian player who ran the length of the field to score a try, leaving the final score at 22–19.
Kacper is pictured here being presented with his Ireland cap. Well done!
Well done to Kacper Palamarczuk and Eddie Coyle who were both selected for the Connacht U18 Rugby Team and to Hubert Gilvarry and Will Whelan who were selected for the Connacht U19 Team.
Sligo Grammar School Senior Rugby Team once again grew facial hair for charity! The boys went about growing a variety of beards, moustaches and goatees in aid of the Movember charity. The charity raises funds to increase awareness of mens health among men themselves and it funds various mens health charities. The senior boys rose over €900 for the charity.
On Wednesday 3rd April the Sligo Grammar School U18s won the Plate in the IRFU School National Sevens Rugby Competition. In the quarter final they defeated Bandon Grammar School, Munster Senior Cup Semi-Finalists, by 6 tries to 2. In the semi-final they played Castletroy College, Limerick, and, after going 14 – 0 down, SGS came back to win 19 – 14. It was a great end to the year for the rugby seniors. The U14s had a fantastic season, losing only one of their 10 games in the U14 Connacht A League. They are a promising team and are looking forward to next year – especially their European tour in February! In the Connacht Schools Cup, our Juniors had a good cup win over Summerhill College and lost narrowly to Marist College, Athlone, at which point they exited the Schools Cup Competition. In Senior Cup Rugby, we lost the semi-final to Garbally College, the eventual Cup winners.
On Wednesday 3rd April the Sligo Grammar School U18s won the Plate in the IRFU National Sevens Rugby Competition. In the quarter final they defeated Bandon Grammar School, Munster Senior Cup Semi-Finalists, by 6 tries to 2. In the semi-final they played Castletroy College, Limerick, and, after going 14 – 0 down, SGS came back to win 19 – 14. The turning-point of that game was a try scored and converted by Hubert Gilvarry, just before half-time. Two minutes into the second half Mark McGlynn got a break-away try which was converted by William Whelan, to tie the score 14-all. In a nail-biting finish, following a sweeping move involving all players, James Whelan finished in the corner with a one-handed try, to give the Grammar School victory. In the final they faced Newbridge College, Leinster, whom they defeated 36 – 14. This game was never in doubt after a blistering start when Fiachra Staunton scored a try after making a break from 40 metres out. This was quickly followed by a try from James Whelan which was converted by his brother Will, bringing the score to 12 – 0. Almost immediately after this Fiachra Staunton broke through again and scored under the post. From the re-start Kacper Palamarczuk caught the ball and, with help from Matthew Earley, set up a ruck where the ball was moved quickly by Andrew Ward out to Hubert Gilvarry who scored the Grammar School’s fourth try of the half, to bring the score to 24 – 0. Just before the break Newbridge scored and SGS continued to dominate thanks to two further tries from James Whelan, with Newbridge getting a consolation try towards the end. The Grammar School had made 5 changes by this time, bringing on Joseph Asare, Matthew O’Hara, Lucas Codyre, Sean Ndego and Mark McMcGlynn. Overall this victory today was achieved by a great team performance from everyone on the panel.
The squad was: Joseph Asare, Sam Atumonyogo, Lucas Codyre, Matthew Earley, Jacob Fleming, Hubert Gilvarry, Mark McGlynn, Sean Ndego, Matthew O’Hara, Kacper Palamarczuk, Fiachra Staunton, Andrew Ward, (Captain), James Whelan, William Whelan.
Congratulations to 5th year student, Hubert Gilvarry who made the Connacht Schoolboy Team of the Year, by virtue of his performance for SGS in this year’s Connacht Schools Cup Competition. The Team of the Year is sponsored by the Irish Independent. Hubert was presented with a team jersey on Saturday 13th April at the Sportsgrounds, Galway before the Connacht/Cardiff Blues Pro 14 Game, which was won by Connacht, 29 – 22.
This November the Senior Rugby Team took on the Movember challenge! The Movember Foundation is a global organisation committed to changing the attitude to and awareness of men’s health, from cancer to mental health. During the month of November men all around the world take up the challenge to grow moustaches or beards and raise funds for the charity through donations and sponsorship. Our rugby boys did their best to grow facefulls of hair for the month. Some had an easier time of it than others, but all did their best and raised a spectacular €1,110 for the charity!
Well done to Kacper Palamarczuk, Matthew Earley and and Hubert Gilvarry who represented Connacht U18 Rugby at the Inter-Provincial tournament held in University of Limerick. The boys were in camp with the rest of the Connacht Team for 10 days during August. Connacht went on to defeat Munster Leinster and Ulster to win the competition. All three will be part of SGS Senior Squad for the upcoming 2018/19 season.
RUGBY SEVENS FINALISTS!
On Thursday 10th May Sligo Grammar School U17 Rugby Sevens team returned home from an All Ireland Schools Sevens Finals as National runners-up. The team travelled to Terenure College RFC, Dublin to represent Connacht along with three other schools from the province and proceeded to beat all comers until they were finally vanquished by St Muirdeachs, Ballina. In an exhausting day of matches they beat Drogheda Grammar School, Nenagh CBS, Marist College, Athlone and Ballingcollig Community School. The team played magnificently well but by the time the final match came along sheer exhaustion and a mere 10 minutes break between the final group game and the tournament final played a part in their ultimate defeat. Overall it was a great experience and the tournament was well organised by the IRFU. The players are looking forward to the 2018/19 season. Well done to team captain Andrew Ward and his squad. A big thank-you to Mr Gavin and Mr Staunton for taking them to the competition.
This year the rugby season got off to a good start. In the Connacht League we lost one match to Garbally College which was enough to knock us out of the competition. The senior team this year is a very young one with 8 of the squad still only 16 years of age. The team has great potential for the future and displayed some of that in their first Connacht Schools Cup match against Summerhill College in Sligo RFC. The SGS team won the game 15 – 9. They face Coláiste Iognáid (Jes) in January at home. Jes are the favourites to win the group so our seniors will have a tough fight ahead of them. The Junior rugby team has had a dificult year so far. They won one of their League matches and have won their first Cup match agaist Castlebar. Their next Cup match is against strong favourites, Garbally College in January. This year’s U14 team is exceptionally enthusiastic with great numbers turning out to training.
Senior rugby players Graham Kerr and Kuba Wojtkowicz were selected for the Connacht Schools Rugby Team of the Year and were presented with their jerseys in Galway in April. Kuba was also named both the Connacht Provincial Player of the Year and the Ulster Bank All-Ireland Division 2C Player of the Year. He was presented with his award by Joe Schmidt at the Aviva in May. Both boys have worked hard at their game over the last 6 years and richly deserve their awards. Well done!
Once again, after an unbeaten run, the Senior Cup Team won the Connacht Schools League Cup. This is the second year running that they won the League Cup. The cup was formally presented to the team at the last assembly of the year as were the individual medals.
Unfortunately, this year neither of our teams made it to the Connacht Schools Cup finals. In January the Junior Cup Team started their Connacht Cup campaign against St. Joseph’s College, Galway (Bish) in what was a brilliant performance. They won 33 – 7. They went on to play Roscommon CBS but lost that match. in Ferbane they won by 3 points to Gallen Community School. Their campaign came to an end in Galway with a loss against Garbally College. Despite a strong campaign the Senior Cup Team did not qualify for this year’s final. They won their first match against Marist College, Athlone and went on to beat the Bish 33 – 18 in their second match. On 25th January they played Summerhill College at home with the whole school out supporting the boys. They fought hard and played a great match but lost the battle. As a result they lost home advantage for the semi-final and had to play Coláiste Iognáid in Galway where they were beaten.
Live to fight another day!!
Four of Sligo Grammar School’s Senior rugby team were lucky enough to be chosen to represent Sligo Rugby Club – and their school – at Connacht Level. Kuba Wojtkowicz, Christian Neilsen, Graham Kerr and Niall Gray trained and played with Connacht throughout last summer (2016) and during the year, Unfortunately injury prevented Chriatian from playing from October on but he’s on the mend and looks forward to a summer of Connacht rugby. Well done to the boys and good luck to them all.