The city of Glasgow will be represented in the Scottish Schools’ Under-18 Cup Final for the first time since St Aloysius were last there in 1996 as Mark McKenzie’s men secured a well-deserved victory over a Dollar Academy outfit who will rue their lack of accuracy at key moments.
That last success from the west was before the big independent schools started competing in the competition during the 1997-98 season, and for St Aloysius to reach the final this year with a relatively limited player pool is an excellent achievement.
“Dollar are in the top schools’ rugby conference and they have been doing well in that, so we knew it was going to be really tough,” said former Scotland A cap McKenzie, who has been director of rugby at the school since 2011. “But we believed we had a good group of boys who would give it their best shot and we were quietly confident.
“I don’t think we could cope with it every week, because we don’t have a big enough squad so injuries and fatigue would take its toll. But five or six of the boys out there were involved in the team which won the Under-16s Cup two years ago, and that’s why they are here again – they’ve got great spirit and they just won’t give up.”
The hosts were 19 points down at half-time without having troubled the scoreboard, thanks to tries from visiting hooker Patrick Norris, scrum-half John Brawley and lock Toni Mudoti.
Dollar grabbed a lifeline at the start of the second-half when Max Williamson rumbled over and Jamie McIlwraith converted, but immediately conceded three easy points to the boot of Adam Scott for a ruck offence.
Two more home tries from Dougal Sands and Jamie Cruickshank made it a three-point game but St Aloysius steadied themslves to hold on.