Michael’s secure place in Senior Cup semi-final
February 8, 2016 12:00 am client
Andy Skehan’s St Michael’s became the first to qualify for the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup semi-final at Donnybrook on Monday.
This really is getting towards the business end of the competition and Terenure had to make-do without their main threat Sam Dardis from full-back.
There was ripping intensity fright from the off, Terenure lock Rory Byrne leaving the pitch as early as the fourth minute.
The first clean break was decisive as St Michael’s full-back Jack Kelly split the midfield and arced around the last defender for a stunning try in the eighth minute.
‘Nure showed signs of settling to their task, running a play right until it was shovelled into touch.
From there, St Michael’s flanker Oisin Dowling provided clean ball off the top.
It was moved swiftly and sweetly for number eight Barry Fitzpatrick to execute a master give-and-take with wing Christopher Carey for another try out of the top drawer for 10-0 in the 12th minute.
It was a case of shellshock for Terenure.
They barely survived prop Ronan Kelleher’s drive to the corner when centre Ian O’Kelly’s direct line was too much for the defence.
Out-half Harry Byrne added the conversion for 17-0 in as many minutes.
Then, a nice variation on the trademark Leinster wrap-around was used as a decoy to send Kelly hoovering up the yards for a fourth try converted by Byrne.
When Terenure held onto the ball, they became a different force.
Centre Stevie Barry drove it up. Prop Jack Boyden nearly got away down the short side.
It all held the attention of the Michael’s defence until the quick release across the line put flanker Conor O’Sullivan through a hole.
He couldn’t quite defeat Kelly in a one-on-one. They came again from out-half Byrne’s try-line fumble.
The scrum was called. Out-half Mark Kirwan had a go and lock Adam Melia was there to take the ball home.
Scrum-half Fabian converted to leave ‘Nure with a 17-point deficit to deal with at the break.
The serious wind prompted Terenure to kick long and low on the slick surface.
St Michael’s countered with ball-in-hand skill from centre James Hickey and the brilliant Kelly.
A tremendous offload from lock Jack Dunne put St Michael’s on the front-foot again. Fitzpatrick’s flat pass put James Hickey away to the right corner.
It was starting to look like a repeat of the first-half when Ian O’Kelly broke away. John Murphy was clean in the tackle.
There looked to be little on when Terenure centre Stevie Barry exploited space from an inside ball. Wing Zak Vaughan was muscular in the carry.
Prop jack Boyden’s body angle onto the ball was good enough for a fine try, converted by Fabian for 29-14 in the 54th minute.
Terenure were looking good for greater gains when David Ryan stopped O’Sullivan in his tracks and lock Ryan Baird rattled Barry.
Their captain Jack Dignam was dishing out some punishment of his own as the winners came again through Kelly.
For all the positivity, the structure of the game began to disintegrate as the inevitability of ‘Nure’s exit and Michael’s passage crystallised.
At Donnybrook – ST MICHAEL’S COLLEGE 29 (J Kelly 2 tries; J Hickey, I O’Kelly, B Fitzpatrick try each; H Byrne 2 cons); TERENURE COLLEGE 14 (A Melia, J Boyden try each; M Fabian 2 cons).
St Michael’s: Jack Kelly (capt); Michael Heaney, James Hickey, Ian O’Kelly, Christopher Carey; Harry Byrne, Tomas Killeen; Ronan Kelleher, Stephen Judge, Samuel Griffin, Ryan Baird, Jack Dunne, Oisin Dowling, Scott Penny, Barry Fitzpatrick.
Replacements: Jeff O’Loughlin for Carey 39 mins; David Ryan for Byrne, Milo O’Donohoe for Griffin both 43 mins; Peter O’Beirne for Killeen 52 mins; Max Kennedy for Judge, Luke Duffy for Kelleher, Andrew Courtney for Dunne all 62 mins.
Terenure: John Murphy; Christian Collins, Stevie Barry, Ted O’Donoghue, Zac Vaughan; Mark Kirwan, Mark Fabian; Jack Boyden, Jacob Henry-Hayes, Sean Collins, Rory Byrne, Adam Melia, Jeff Clarkin, Conor O’Sullivan, Jack Dignam (capt).
Replacements: Jack O’Hare for Byrne 4 mins; Jack Cadell for Clarkin 33 mins; Adam la Grue for Kirwan, Callum Ashmore for C Collins both 47 mins; Sean Patchell for S Collins 50 mins; Ciaran Cahill for Fabian 57 mins; Harry O’Neill for Henry-Hayes, Rory McGrath for Melia both 62 mins.
Referee: Brian MacNiece, Leinster Branch.