U17?s are Culliton Cup Champions

April 28, 2024

The u17 Culliton Cup final kicked off in Navan where the tempo was instantly set. It took the size-dominant Dundalk 15 minutes to open the scoring. Despite determined defending from the front row of Noah Ryan, Ruairí “Butcher” D’Arcy and Aaron McGauran, Dundalk pushed over for 19 unanswered points. With the first half coming to a close, Mullingar gained possession through the backfield cover of Cillian Traynor and Shane Maloney. Eventually, with a well executed lineout and team play, Callum Mulligan punched through to open Mullingar’s account for the day. The teams went in at the half with a score line of 19-7 in Dundalk’s favour.


The second half opened with Dundalk continuing their power game to score out wide early. 24-7 down, Mullingar needed a big reply to keep themselves in the hunt. This is exactly what Leke Mogaji provided with a stellar individual effort going 70 meters up the pitch, leaving several defenders in his wake. Mullingar faced a setback when Dundalk quickly responded and added another 7 points to their total and were forced to substitute Kylan Heffernan and Cormac Maher. 


The substitutes of Darragh O’Brien and Killian O’Halloran aided the newly invigorated Mullingar. 

With a fire lit in their bellies from a disallowed try, the Mullingar outfit set out to turn the tide. The well oiled halfback pairing of James Flynn and outhalf Peadar Glennon ensured quick ruck ball and distribution, to give Mullingar their best shot at a comeback. Captain Rory O’Brien eventually put through Darragh Weblin with a silky, delayed pass to give the Mullingar supporters something to believe in. 


Time was scarce and a 31-21 scoreboard still needed to be climbed. The restart found the electric Glennon who is Leinster development bound for the summer. In this moment he summoned every bit of his amazing footwork and strength that he had showcased throughout the game, as he launched forward giving Mullingar huge momentum. 


Flynn, at scrum half continued his quick ruck ball and fed Lochlann O’Reilly who shot a quick pass to Brook Glennon allowing him to crash over just right of the sticks a mere minute after the restart. Smelling blood Mullingar were hungry for more and now only 3 points down. An offside restart was just the mistake Dundalk couldn’t afford. Strong carries from 1-15 continued to build Mullingar’s territory until Callum Mulligan, also Leinster development bound, powered over for the winner to the sounds of a now ecstatic Mullingar side line. Glennon rounded out his MOTM performance by adding the two final points to Mullingar’s winning margin of 35-31 and bringing his own tally to a perfect 5/5 off the tee.


Unfortunately, with a match this tight, not every player can get minutes, but a team does not win a final without huge contributions from the whole panel including Cody Maher, Seamus Reilly, James Faulkner, Seán McNamee and Jake Greene at training and matches throughout the season. This marked a well-deserved result for the team and Tony Doolin, who in his first year as their head coach, has continued to develop these players with his expert guidance and direction. The resilience needed to overcome a 17 point, second half deficit is not found often and all involved should be extremely proud of only the fourth ever Culliton Cup win in the club’s history.


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