South-East 33 Metro 12

South-East wasted no time in establishing their credentials on the opening evening of the Bank of Ireland U-16 Shane Horgan Cup at Cill Dara RFC on Wednesday.

They had a standout performer in out-half James Curry and a penetrating runner in full-back Ryan Donohoe in support of a quick-striking three-quarter line.

The impact of the backline was reflected through the try-scoring prowess of centres Luke Chatten and Daniel Norval and wing Finn Soraine, all puncturing Metro for Curry to convert all three.

Metro did not go down meekly, holding the upper-hand in the scrum where the front row union of Ponamu Palazzetti, Alex Murgatroyd and Hugh Heagney really exerted pressure.

They used the lineout to set up a sustained attack in which the backs used the wide ball to stretch South-East and the forwards used the pick-and-go to stress them in closer until Simon Cantwell broke the whitewash for 21-5 at the break.

South-East stepped up the pace in the third quarter, the forwards laying the bricks for flanker Eoin O’Doherty to ground the ball, Curry landing the conversion.

Curry’s creativity in getting the backline moving could not hide his individual talent for seeing a gap and taking it, the out-half picking up the fifth try.

The set-piece provided Metro’s best route to the line. Jack Marnell was prominent all through. Cantwell made ground with the ball in hand.

From a scrum, out-half Billy Stanbridge found Ryan Ovenden hitting the line at pace for a lovely try which Standbridge converted.

Scorers – South East: J Curry try, four cons; L Chatten, F Soraine, D Norval, E O’Doherty try each. Metro: S Cantwell, R Ovenden try each; B Stanbridge con.

South-East – Ryan Donohoe (Enniscorthy); Finn Soraine (Enniscorthy), Luke Chatten (County Carlow), Daniel Norval (Wexford Wanderers), Noah Oglesby (County Carlow); James Curry (Wicklow), Brian Minihan (New Ross); Luke Hearne (Wexford Wanderers), Patrick Cox (Enniscorthy), Kirill Dovbijenko (Kilkenny), James Kehoe (County Carlow), Zach Kenny (Wicklow), Will Jones (Gorey), Eoin O’Doherty (Wexford Wanderers), Naoise Wheeler (Wicklow)

Replacements – Aaron Hughes (Wicklow), Senan Keating (Tullow), Caleb Oglesby (County Carlow), Joshua Burke (Arklow), Ted Donohoe (Kilkenny), Bill Blyth (Enniscorthy), Warren Hubbard (Wicklow), Diarmuid Brady (Gorey).

Metro – Gerard Hallinan (Barnhall); Carl Morrison (Lansdowne), Ryan Ovenden (Greystones), Ben Barnes (Suttonians), Brian Waugh (Malahide); Billy Stanbridge (Malahide), Lucas O’Donnell (Seapoint); Ponamu Palazzetti (Suttonians), Alex Murgatroyd (Coolmine), Hugh Heagney (Coolmine); Michael Bolger (Suttonians), Brian Downing (Seapoint); Jack Marnell (Seapoint), Noah Tyrrell (Malahide), Simon Cantwell (Suttonians).

Replacements – Dylan Clarke (Coolmine), Lance Soriano (Clontarf), Oisin Dooley (DLSP), Adam Coffey (Suttonians), Brendan McSorley (Malahide), Matthew Loughney (Suttonians), Gavin O’Dowd (Lansdowne), Luca Sloan (Westmanstown)

North Midlands 43 Midlands 5

The North Midlands got better as the game wore on to dominate Midlands in the second part of the Bank of Ireland U-16 Shane Horgan Cup double-header.

The Midlands came to play and started with real intent, forcing their rivals onto the back foot as No 8 Callum Mulligan set the tone for their carrying game.

The ability to absorb pressure was an impressive feature of the North Midlands game across the park, the back row of Joshua Ward, Rory Walsh and Cian Crampton covering a lot of ground.

Not content to sit back, North Midlands built their way into the first quarter, moving into the right area of the field through the influence of half-backs Ryan Murphy and Oisin Hade before putting their foot on the gas in attack.

They fought through a stubborn defence to strike for two tries by No 8 Crampton and second row Conor Butler, both converted by Hade.

It looked like it would stay that way until scrum-half Murphy stole over for the third try, again converted by Hade, for 21-0 on the stroke of half-time.

Midlands had enough wherewithal to make headway, their continuity resulting in an unconverted try by Mulligan.

He wasn’t the only one to resist the inevitable as scrum-half Jack Gorman’s fast service put the ball on a plate for out-half Ronan Hooper.

Midlands suffered the loss of players to injury which compromised their game plan. The winners didn’t have to be asked twice to take advantage of that misfortune.

By the end, hard-working Crampton and the excellent Murphy both bagged a double. Centres Ruaidhri Lawlor and Daragh Culligan added one each as they struck for four tries in the second period.

Scorers – North Midlands: C Crampton, R Murphy two tries each; C Butler, R Lawlor, D Culligan try each; O Hade four cons. Midlands – C Mulligan try.

North Midlands – Finn Keogh (Newbridge); Theo Adams (Portlaoise), Daragh Culligan (Naas), Ruaidhri Lawlor (Athy), Charlie Croke (Naas); Oisin Hade (Portlaoise), Ryan Murphy (Cill Dara); Oisin Carroll (Cill Dara), Finn Craig (Naas), Brody Gilligan (Portlaoise); Conor Clarke (Cill Dara), Conor Butler (Naas); Joshua Ward (Naas), Rory Walsh (Athy) Cian Crampton (Naas)

Replacements – Christopher Larn (Athy), Gareth Davitt (Clane), Reece Hickey (Clondalkin), Cian Butler (Portlaoise), Callum Dooley (Cill Dara), Hayden Casey-Gray (Athy), Liam King (Naas), Daniel Henry (Athy)

Midlands – Michael Dooley (Birr); Fionn Joyce (Birr), Peadar Glennon (Mullingar), Jack Marshall (Birr), Cillian Traynor (Mullingar); Ronan Hooper (Tullamore), Jack Gorman (Edenderry); James Roe (Tullamore), Sean Nolan (Roscrea), Jack Byrne (Edenderry); Ifeoluwaleke Mogaji (Wilson’s Hospital), Josh Kelleghan (Edenderry); Jan Palacz (Roscrea), Oisin O’Shea (Roscrea), Callum Mulligan (Wilson’s Hospital)

Replacements – Michael Loughnane (Roscrea), Andrew Murray (Roscrea), Killian Smyth (Mullingar), Shane McGuigan (Longford), Kien Egan (Tullamore), Darragh Walsh (Longford), James Flynn (Mullingar), Cian Furlong (Wilson’s Hospital)