29 Jan Senior Schools Cup Review
Terenure College Triumphant in Donnybrook.
St Mary’s College and Terenure College faced off in what was one of the most highly anticipated schools cup games that has ever past the white lines of Donnybrooks outstanding 4g pitch. St Mary had a narrow win earlier this year against Terenure , in a game that was hindered by the brutal weather conditions. We couldn’t of asked for a better way to start this year’s competition, with a classic south Dublin derby. Donnybrook was filled with school kids dreaming that it would be their schools name that would be engraved in the cup. Terenure started the game with huge intensity and aggression Mark Fabian gave Terenure the start they wanted when he slotted over the first penalty of the game. St Mary’s luck changed when Ternure’s Jack Boyden was sent to the bin. St Mary’s started to threaten the nure’s 22. Alexei Schuster’s boot put St Mary’s into the lead going into half time.
The second half was almost a replica of the first with Terenure breaking the defensive line on a number of occasions. The first try came from a well-worked move of the line out and Terenures Zac Vaughan finished it coolly in the corner. Fabian could do no wrong and slotted the conversion from a difficult angle to leave the scores at 10-6. The biggest talking point then came with ten minutes to go. Colm Dardis got the most fortunate bounce of the ball to glide underneath the post and give Terenure an 11-point lead. Credit to Mary’s who never gave up and where finally rewarded with a try from Tomas Tierney. With a gap of six between the teams with 5 minutes remaining on the clock, Donnybrook was an tense place to be a supporter never mind a player . It was Terenure flying winger Zac Vaughan struck again with a brilliant try to secure a place in the quarterfinals for Terenure College and break Mary’s hearts.
St. Mary’s College 11 – 24 Terenure College
Roscrea are dreaming of the Double
The shocking conditions meant this was always going to boil down to a war of attrition between two packs of Cistercian College Roscrea and Kilkenny College.
Kilkenny’s Joshua Miller missed an early penalty but soon landed a drop-goal. Roscrea’s impressive full back Alan Tynan levelled after Kilkenny were penalised for collapsing a scrum. Miller put Kilkenny back in front in the 21st minute with a penalty but Roscrea’s forwards were looking dangerous, and with half time approaching, from a five metre scrum, No 8 Simon Meagher broke, fed scrum-half Keith Kavanagh and his pop pass sent Michael Milne over. Tynan’s conversion from wide on the right made it 10-6 at the break.That lead was extended seven minutes after the restart when prop Dylan Murphy broke away from a driven lineout to score.
Cistercian College Roscrea 22-6 Kilkenny College
Belvedere College cruise past Newbridge College
Belvo had the luxury of being able to call upon plenty of players who featured in last year’s campaign and although that eventually worked in their favour, there were plenty of signs of nerves early on. A try in each half from powerful loosehead prop Daniel McCaffrey ensured that there was to be no upset this time around as Newbridge had no response to the pace and power of an impressive Belvo side.Hooker Cian Galvin got over for his side’s first try after 13 minutes and a Conor Jennings conversion set out their stall early on.
Belvo’s offloading game was at times a joy to watch with their excellent scrum-half Paraic Cagney perfectly demonstrating that when he put Jennings over in the corner just two minutes later.Hugh O’Sullivan was lively from full-back all afternoon and but for a last-ditch tackle, he would have gotten over for a third try in what was a rampant spell for Belvo.
They didn’t have to wait long to do so however and this time it was McCaffrey who benefited from another brilliant break and offload by Cagney. Jennings converted for a 19-0 lead and there was still time left in the half for Belvo to put the contest to bed.Newbridge were really struggling to contain Belvo’s quicksilver backline and their heads dropped when they conceded a fourth unanswered try.O’Sullivan made another darting break through the middle and James McKeown was on hand to finish off a sweeping move.Jennings’ conversion left his side 26-0 to the good at the break and he picked up where he left off after the restart when he fired over a penalty.
Ten minutes later, McCaffrey put the gloss on the scoreline when he punished Newbridge’s defence (which was out on its feet) with his second try of the game.Try as they might, the Kildare school just couldn’t get a foothold in the game with No 8 Patrick Ryan working tirelessly to try and haul his side back into the contest.Belvo were afforded the luxury of emptying their bench as their attentions quickly turned to the last eight.
Newbridge College 0 – 34 Belvedere College
Gonzaga College march on
Second-half tries from replacements Harry O’Grady and Alex McEvoy were crucial at Castle Avenue on Thursday afternoon, when Gonzaga College defeated Wesley College in a tense opening round Leinster Schools’ Senior Cup tie.
Playing on the impressive all-weather surface in Clontarf RFC, Wesley broke the deadlock on ten minutes, as pacey winger Tim Spencer raced under the posts after he intercepted an attempted pass from Gonzaga’s Oran James.
This try was supplemented by a Bill Corrigan conversion, but following excellent approach work by James and Micheal O’Kennedy, Gonzaga centre Harry Brennan crossed over on the left-flank for a converted touchdown.
Brennan was the stand-out performer for the Ranelagh school, but even though his lung-bursting runs kept Wesley on their toes, the sides remained on level terms (7-7) at the midway point in the action.Gonzaga were close to moving into the ascendancy from another incisive attacking move ten minutes after the restart.
Wesley ultimately turned over their southside rivals, though, and thanks to a successful Adam Curry penalty, they had regained the lead on 49 minutes.Indeed, courageous defensive work helped them to frustrate their opponents on a number of occasions, but persistence finally paid off for Gonzaga on the hour mark, when substitute hooker McEvoy finished off a dangerous move on the left-hand side.James subsequently added the bonuses to this five-pointer in spectacular style, and although Wesley stayed within touching distance, Gonzaga’s victory (and passage into the last-eight) was finally secured courtesy of an O’Grady try deep into second-half stoppage-time.
Gonzaga College 19 – 10 Wesley College
Clongowes making a first round statement against Kings Hospital
The scoreline was perhaps a little harsh on KH but in truth, they simply ran out of steam against a much more abrasive outfit. Led by their powerful No 8 Sean McCrohan, Clongowes were forced to remain patient and although they fell behind twice in the first half, they were 13-8 to the good at the break, and KH would fail to score for over 40 minutes of play.
With scrum-half Scott Le Roux dictating the opening stages with clever box-kicking, KH deservedly went in front through a Paul McCullagh penalty. Miles O’Connor, who was impressive throughout, almost immediately hit back with a try only to be denied by a brilliant last-ditch tackle in the corner. Denied Clongowes weren’t to be denied after 23 minutes, however, when Florence McCarthy collected McCrohan’s perfectly weighted offload to score.
Benjamin O’Shea fired over the conversion – he would go on to kick 13 points. O’Shea tacked on two penalties before the interval but in between, Sean Goodburn had responded with a try for KH after a well worked five-metre lineout. O’Shea pushed Clongowes into a 16-8 lead shortly after the restart as his side began to up the intensity.
O’Connor was rewarded with a fine performance when he broke clear to dot down and by that stage, KH knew the game was up. Patrick Nulty added a third try after 53 minutes when he burrowed his way over, with O’Shea adding the extras.Brian Maher rounded off the scoring in a comfortable second half for Clongowes when O’Connor put him over out wide. Clongowes came up agonisingly short in last year’s semi-final and although they will know that much tougher tests lie ahead, they passed the first one with relative ease.
Clongowes Wood College 33 – 8 King’s Hospital