Two past pupils of St. Joseph’s, Ciarán Flanagan and Michael Varley (who still have brothers in the school) won All-Ireland gold for Dublin in Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare on Thursday, 4th April in under 15 doubles when they defeated Cork in the All-Ireland Under 15 Doubles Final. In the past both Michael and Ciarán won the school league – a sign of things to come !
The match against Cork’s Kevin O’Connell and Darragh Moynihan was a thriller which saw Dublin take the first game 15-10 after leading throughout much of that game. In the second game Dublin again powered ahead with an early lead but Cork clawed their way back into the match with some fine play, in particular from O’Connell. Both sides served for the game at 14 each but Cork closed it out with a powerful serve from Moynihan.
In the tie-breaker there was some fine play from both sides with Michael Varley being put under severe pressure from powerful Cork serves to his left hand. However, he kept his nerve and returned most of them to enable Dublin take an early lead. Ciarán Flanagan’s powerful serve and safety play, in particular his finely measured roof shots which repeatedly paid dividends, ensured that Dublin’s early lead was retained. However, Cork remained very much in contention throughout the game. Michael Varley’s volley shots and a crucial right corner kill which rolled out to the opposition at 13-9 saw Dublin serve for the match. The final rally of the match was nerve wracking for players and supporters with a miss by Cork seeing Dublin clinch the title.