Gerard’s pass Wilson’s Hospital test in Vinnie Murray Cup
January 8, 2015 12:00 am client
Holders St Gerard’s were put to the pin of their collar by a well-drilled Wilson’s Hospital in the Bank of Ireland Vinnie Murray Cup first round at Donnybrook on Wednesday evening.
The Bray School shrugged off the wet conditions to go straight into their phase play and Wilson’s were more than willing to oblige them in contact, their hooker Andrew Payton blasting into the tackle.
The incessant pressure asked questions of Wilson’s defence and they eventually gave away a penalty wing Ben Kealy could not convert.
Full-back Mark Gallagher broke tackles, flanker Robert Toal-Lennon straightened up the attack and centre Andrew Lynch looked destined to score until Hos’ full-back Ian McCormack shook the ball out of his grip.
The Hos’ defence was heroic. St Gerard’s Zach Collis-Lee was stopped short by Elo Njeze and lock Guy Martin was double tackled on the five-metre mark.
Something had to give. The breakthrough came down the right flank when the ball was put through on the floor for wing Ben Kealy to gather for the first try in the 24th minute.
There was almost a sudden shift in momentum when Wilson’s number eight Ruadhan McDonnell seized on a loose ball only for his footwork to let him down.
McDonnell was back causing havoc at a lineout as Wilson’s forced errors from handlers. But, they had to make use of the ball too with fly-half Stephen Gill holding a footballers’ touch.
However, St Gerard’s hit home with their second try, a carbon copy of the first, out-half Mark Baker this time showing the pace and control to score in the right corner for 10-0 at the break.
Wilson’s were growing into it, in terms of territory. Full-back McCormack checked his run and prop Ross Curran thundered forward. Tight-head John Nixon was next up to have a crack at the line.
They earned a penalty in the shadow of the posts and went for glory. Loose-head Curran rolled his way over, losing the ball in placement. They had to be patient.
Wilson’s struck against the head at the scrum and drew another penalty. This time, centre Matthew Coade pumped his legs to make it and Gill’s conversion made it 10-7 in the 46th minute.
There is nothing like a try to lift confidence. It was game on.
The response was emphatic. St Gerard’s Sean O’Reilly powered around the side of a ruck and the tight-head carried high but strongly for his second try in five minutes to make it 24-7 in the 55th minute.
Wilson’s weren’t finished. Number eight McDonnell’s show and go put them on the front-foot. Coade was hauled down ten metres out. A tap penalty was swiftly moved into space, courtesy of McDonnell’s long floater, for left wing Stephen Hyde to finish low.
At Donnybrook – St Gerard’s School 24 (S O’Reilly 2 tries; B Kealy try, 2 cons; M Baker try); Wilson’s Hospital 12 (M Coade, S Hyde try each; S Gill con).
St Gerard’s: M Gallagher; B Kealy, A Lynch, A Simmonds, Z Collis-Lee; M Barker, T Foley; S O’Shaughnessy, D Power, S O’Reilly, G Martin, M O’Toole, R Toal-Lennon, D Smith (capt), R Delany.
Replacements: J Maguire for Shaughnessy ht; S Gallagher for Power 51 mins; K McCarthy for Baker 60 mins, M Dalton for Gallagher 61 mins.
Wilson’s: I McCormack; E Njeze, M Coade, J Butler, S Hyde; S Gill, D McHugh; R Curran, A Payton, J Nixon (capt), J Gambo, J Gordon, A Crowe, M Dunlop, R McDonnell.
Replacements: J Powles for Crowe 16 mins; J Shekleton for Butler 39 mins; D Eziashi for Gambo 53 mins; B Wilson for Njeze 58 mins.
Referee: J Le Lievre, Lenster Branch.