Cathal Brugha stay the course to claim Bro, Philip Cup in Dublin
CATHAL Brugha won the first event in the Triple Crown of Irish men's senior water polo competitions when they retained the Bro. Philip Cup by beating Sandycove 13-7 in the final at the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin at the weekend.
It was a long hard day for the winners who had to play three full length games in less than 12 hours.
They began with a very comfortable 26-5 win over an understrength Clonard side.
That game began at 9am and the next game at 2pm against St Vincent's was a much different proposition.
It went to a penalty shoot-out after the teams were level at the end of normal time and, not for the first time in a long and distinguished career, it was Chris Hodgkinson who came to Cathal Brugha's rescue with a brace of outstanding saves.
The final at 7pm was a bit of an anti-climax as Brugha were the stronger and fitter of two tired teams and duly won 13-7.
Coach Peter Cassidy was a realistic but happy man.
''Today is history and we are now firmly focussed on the National League and Irish Senior Cup," he said.
Peter, who recognises talent when he sees it, has unearthed another gem in 17-year-old Adam Cushley, who got a couple of goals and picked up a gold medal in his first senior competition.
**Five local boys were in Watford for the ASA Regional Championships, where they finished in fifth place after wins over Scotland (5-3) and Wales (9-3) and losses to winners and runners-up, England North East and London.
Clonard's Caleb Bowden is making a habit of picking up MVP awards and he was at it again as the unanimous choice for the Ireland team winner.
He was joined on the team by Clonard team-mates Fionn and Fergal McConvey, Jacob Duffin (Grads) and former Lisburn swimmer Andrew Edgar (Brugha).
**Congratulations to former Irish water polo international Sarah Keane who has been elected as President of the Olympic Council of Ireland (IOC).
She is currently the CEO of Swim Ireland and was until fairly recently still playing water polo at club level.