Fintan’s rally but Wesley advance in Vinnie Murray Cup
January 15, 2016 12:00 am client
A late rally from St Fintan’s was repelled by Wesley as they qualified for the Bank of Ireland Vinnie Murray Cup semi-finals at Donnnybrook on Thursday.
The boys from Sutton had the benefit of a first round fixture, but it was Wesley who were sharply into their patterns with smart passing. This was turned away by controlled aggression at the breakdown.
St Fintan’s were well able to use their size to generate momentum, full-back James McCourt’s hand-off catching the eye and scrum-half Sean Cribbin employed as their main playmaker.
An overthrown lineout was almost turned into five points by their flanker Cian Hynes. They had prime possession until incurring the wrath of referee Berney White for sealing off.
They came again from two more lineouts, working nice angles onto the ball and spreading it when appropriate. They were eventually turned over by the accurate ruck work of number eight Stephen May.
Wesley’s back chat cost them yardage before their loose-head Campbell Classon hauled Hynes into touch.
Centre Conor Byrne’s tumbling kick took St Fintan’s forward where they forced a knock-on at a lineout.
From there, they set in motion a lovely set play with wing Conor Moore coming close to a breakthrough. They came back the other way for hooker Killian Hickey to be met by centre William Hayden.
Wesley had trouble exiting their half. When they did, right wing Tim Spencer’s remarkable pick-up from out-half Adam Curry’s kick was foiled by a brilliant tackle by Danny Achimugu.
They had the consolation of being in the right part of the pitch.
They built enough pressure to squeeze a penalty out of Fintan’s and scrum-half Bill Corrigan kicked the points in the 27th minute.
This lead didn’t last long as Frankie O’Dea struck from over 40 metres on the right to make it 3-all on the half-hour for the least they deserved.
The battle for territory was beginning to balance out as Curry sent inside centre William Hayden through the middle. This was met with stern resistance by replacement full-back Mark O’Sullivan.
Then, O’Dea’s offload encouraged centre Darragh Kelly to shoot the gap and cause panic with his speed just before the half came to a conclusion.
The floodlights were in full glow just as a Curry high ball launched Wesley in the general direction of O’Dea, who spilled it.
They kept grinding away, looking for an opening in tight. When that didn’t work, the Sutton side patrolled them well out wide.
From a solid scrum, Wesley hit it up twice and then came around the corner for Corrigan to have a snipe and then Curry to find the line. Corrigan converted for 10-3 in the 44th minute.
Wes’ had their tails up. Flanker Ben Whitehead came hard, fast and direct. They got into space. When that was squeezed, Curry tickled a ball into touch.
They engineered a clever try when Curry attracted defenders to send left wing Alistair Quirke flying in at the corner to make it 15-3 in the 50th minute.
It was the trigger for Wes’ half-backs Corrigan and Curry to keep Fintan’s pinned back with a variety of kicks and take the game away from them.
They finally got their hands on the ball to spread it left were Tim Spencer was waiting to ambush Moore.
It looked for all the world like there was no way back into it.
However, St Fintan’s inside centre Conor Byrne provided inspiration when his footwork bamboozled Wesley for a superb try, converted by O’Dea to leave five points in it in the 63rd minute.
The excitement was at fever pitch. Wesley lock David Motyer nicked a lineout.
Curry looked to play the game in the right area, but Moore was taken high as he made his way out of defence.
Quirke was perfect in his one-on-one tackle technique on Daniel Achimugu and Wesley kept control well enough to see it out.
WESLEY COLLEGE 15 ST FINTAN’S HIGH SCHOOL, SUTTON 10
At Donnybrook – Wesley College (A Curry, A Quirke try each; B Corrigan pen, con); St Fintan’s High School (C Byrne try; F O’Dea pen,con)
Wesley: Alex Barlow; Tim Spencer, Daniel Gilmer, William Hayden, Alistair Quirke; Adam Curry (capt), Bill Corrigan; Campbell Classon, Andrew Egan, Sam Kenny, Luke Corish, David Motyer, Ben Whitehead, Matthew Guest, Stephen May.
Replacements: Conor Kirwan for Egan 62 mins; Andrew Lynam for Corrigan 66 mins.
St Fintan’s: James McCourt; Danny Achimugu, Darragh Kelly, Conor Byrne, Conor Moore; Frankie O’Dea, Sean Cribbin; Aziz Naser, Killian Hickey, Jack Aungier (capt), Harry Harrison, Conor Stokes, Simon Feeney, Cian Hynes, Declan Adamson,
Replacements: Mark O’Sullivan for McCourt 30 mins; Conor Mahon for Aungier 40 mins; Max Heyraud for Hickey, Tommy Moore for Feeney both 46 mins; Jack Brewer for Stokes 51 mins.
Referee: B Whyte, Leinster Branch.