Centre pairing Peter Sullivan and Gary Fearon were the star performers at Donnybrook on Friday, when their combined total of 30 points helped St Andrew’s College to progress to the quarter-finals of the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools’ Senior Cup at the expense of King’s Hospital.

In contrast to the wintry showers that graced the latter stages of Thursday’s game between Clongowes Wood College and Castleknock College in the same venue, the conditions had significantly improved for the final first round tie of this year’s competition.
Both sides displayed a willingness to drive at their respective opponents during the early exchanges, although there wasn’t much room for either to manufacture the kind of move that might break the deadlock.
With most of the first-quarter action taking place in the middle-third of the pitch, it came as no surprise to see the opening score of the contest coming from a place-kick. King’s Hospital centre Paul McCullagh stepped forward to negotiate a tricky 30-metre penalty from a left-hand angle, but his eventual kick cleared the posts with several metres to spare.
The concession of this score would have come as a disappointment to Andrew’s, who had already developed some promising passages of play. However, they responded to this set-back by crossing over for their first try on the stroke of 20 minutes.
A powerful break from No 8 Jonny Guy forced King’s Hospital on the back-foot, and despite halting Guy’s progress just shy of the line, Sullivan was on hand to finish off the move with a powerful drive.
Sullivan was off-target from the bonus kick that followed his own five-pointer, but when Andrew’s were awarded a penalty inside the King’s Hospital 22-metre-line just five minutes later, he comfortably slotted his strike between the uprights.
As the half wore on, Andrew’s were beginning to get a measure of their Palmerstown counterparts, and with Sullivan, full-back Joe McDonagh and captain Fearon all exerting their influence, they were threatening to break through for a second try.
King’s Hospital did hold firm in this regard until the break, but another close-range Sullivan three-pointer meant that Andrew’s held an 11-3 cushion heading into the second period.
The Booterstown outfit maintained this momentum when the action resumed, and following further excellent approach work by the impressive Guy, McDonagh raced through for a well-executed touchdown in the left-corner.
After Sullivan’s touchline conversion drifted wide of the mark, Andrew’s immediately forced King’s Hospital on the back-foot again. Indeed, McDonagh was primed to secure his second try of the half via a Sullivan off-load, only for the pacey number 15 to be halted inches from the line.
This attack ended with Andrew’s prop Andrew O’Flaherty conceding a penalty for an off-the-ball incident with Daniel Courtney, but this only acted as a brief reprieve to King’s Hospital.
Following several consecutive attacking phases inside the King’s ‘22’, Fearon supplied the finishing touches to join his midfield partner, Sullivan, in the try-scoring stakes. Sullivan subsequently added two points to his personal tally in spectacular fashion, as Andrew’s increased their lead to all of 23 points.
It was becoming a damage limitation exercise for King’s Hospital at this point, and despite their best endeavours, they couldn’t prevent Guy from securing the score that his performance deserved on the hour mark.
A fifth try arrived through Fearon (his second) three minutes from the end, before Matthew Bursey broke away for a King’s Hospital consolation score at the very end of normal time.
This was a minor issue on a memorable day for the Andrew’s faithful, however, and following this morale-boosting triumph, they will now face Newbridge College at the last-eight stage of the Cup.
At Donnybrook – St Andrew’s College 40 (G Fearon 2 tries; J McDonagh, J Guy try each; P Sullivan try, 3 cons, 3 pens); The King’s Hospital 10 (M Bursey try; P McCullagh pen; D Courtney con)
St Andrew’s College: J McDonagh; S Balance, P Sullivan, G Fearon, S Smith; R Nicoll, J Black; R Bradley, L Judge, R O’Flaherty; B Ryan, N Hibberd; Z Henry, B Nolke, J Guy.
Replacements: H O’Byrne-Cullinane for Ryan, A Waller for Hibberd, C Sinnamon for Balance, all 62 mins, D Wilson for O’Flaherty, T Byrne for Henry, B Arrowsmith for Black, all 67 mins, W Wood for Judge, W Holland for Nolke, both 70 mins.
The King’s Hospital: D Courtney; D Boles, P McCullagh, W Potterton, D Smith; R Lawless, R Sharkey; J White, J Perry, C Petit; F Shilling, J O’Reilly; S Kane, S Charman, M Bursey.
Replacements: T Doyle for Kane 46 mins; L Morgan for McCullagh 47 mins, OJ Onolememen for White, C Murphy for Charman, both 62 mins, D Corr for Smith, J Aurndel for Murphy, both 70 mins.
Referee: K Beggs, Leinster Branch.