Skerries advance to Vinnie Murray Cup Semi-finals
January 14, 2016 12:00 am client
CUS made more chances, but Skerries took most of theirs to make the Bank of Ireland Vinnie Murray Cup semi-final at Donnybrook on Thursday.
A needless penalty offered Skerries the opening to get into the game, but they couldn’t find touch.
There was better cohesion in their next movement, quick short passes allowing wing Daniel Dowling to blaze a trail towards the 22.
Their eagerness to move the ball almost got them in trouble twice, wing Robert McKey seeing the sense of kicking the ball low in behind.
CUS were not shy about seeing and taking space, their unsympathetic passing being their downfall.
A turnover at ruck time and centre James Cox picking the ball off his toes were rewarded by left wing Cody Barton’s scything break which almost led to a try in the left corner.
Once CUS got into their phases, they looked extremely effective, centre Conor Byrne cutting back against the grain onto a short ball from fly-half David O’Leary, full-back Nick King straightening the line for Byrne to scamper around the outside for a tremendous try for 5-0 in the 16th minute.
Skerries won a kicking mini-battle to set up a lineout 15 metres out. They sucked in numbers and released the ball for wing Dowling to square it with a clinically finish.
The optimistic outlook continued as Skerries centre Lorcan Jones shot through the middle from deep.
CUS held their line and made more modest progress for Barton to slice the posts for 8-5 in the 26th minute.
They came again for Barton to slide a penalty just left and wing Dylan Collum to get bustled into touch by Dowling.
Skerries couldn’t escape and they were almost made to pay the price when CUS flanker Adam Fleming couldn’t control a loose ball at the tail of a lineout.
The pressure did produce another penalty. This time the corner was sought out. The lineout was sacked, but prop Sam Butler was inches from glory.
It was becoming a case of missed chances. Full-back King was held up over the line as the half-time whistle blew.
As a consequence, Skerries found the front foot right away from wing Robert McKey’s burst. When they couldn’t get joy, centre Lorcan Jones dropped a goal to level it in the 41st minute.
This was the signal for CUS to come forward and earn a penalty which Barton could not land.
A long ball forward from out-half Dean Lacey allied to McKey’s chase of a lost cause and his driving shoulder into Collum shook the ball free for centre Ruairi Woods to jump on the loose ball for a try and a first-time lead in the 46th minute.
They were on the march again when CUS’s King stepped into intercept a dangerous attack.
It just delayed the onset of Skerries next attack which scrum-half Michael Woods turned into three points.
He was soon back for more on the back of CUS indiscipline to make it 19-8 from the left in the 55th minute.
There was still enough room for CUS to mount a comeback. Wing Collum popped up on the left to pose problems with his footwork.
They latched onto a misfiring lineout to take the ball to within inches of the line. Woods got his hand in to disrupt a CUS scrum ball.
Eventually, the chain of Byrne and locks Bill Perryman and Luke O’Higgins locked down a badly needed try to make it a one-score game in the 62nd minute.
An electrifying counter from Collum galvinised CUS and the same man was a fingertip away from taking in fly-half David O’Leary’s cross-field kick.
They worked the ball back to the openside where O’Higgins was lurking to speed into the 22 where he was met with a stunning, ankle-low tackle by full-back Hugo Lennox.
That was as close as they came.
SKERRIES CC 19 CUS 13
At Donnybrook – Skerries CC 19 (D Dowling, R Woods try each; M Woods 2 pens; L Jones try); CUS 13 (C Byrne, L O’Higgins try each; C Barton pen)
Skerries: Hugo Lennox; Robert McKey, Ruairi Woods, Lorcan Jones, Daniel Dowling; Dean Lacey, Michael Woods; Benjamin Guildea, Conn Marrey, Mark McElroy, Jim Mulvany, Eoghan Attley, Jake Deering, Tom Carroll, George Harrington.
Replacements: Cormac Hogan for Guildea 24 mins; Rian Murphy for Deering 54 mins.
CUS: Nick King; Dylan Collum, Conor Byrne, James Cox, Cody Barton; David O’Leary, Alex McDonnell; Harry Bodkin, Brian Sheil, Sam Butler, Luke O’Higgins, Bill Perryman, Jacob Maguire , Adam Fleming, Shane Power (capt).
Replacements: Ian Banahan for Bodkin 38 mins; Mark Dent for Barton, Johnnie Shiel for Maguire both 57 mins; Brian Minihane for McDonnell 65 mins.
Referee: James Fitzgerald, Leinster Branch