St Mary’s advance to Senior Cup quarter-finals
February 1, 2017 5:10 pm Site Editor
There was an intensity right from the kick-off as a cluster of bodies in blue and black flew into the air in search of the ball.
The commitment to contact and avoiding it was there, although the greasy ball quickly became a problem.
It had a low-scoring look about it, even though Newbridge College centre Daragh Ryan and St Mary’s full-back Eamonn Byrne and centre Myles Carey threatened the gain line.
Flanker Cian Prendergast was a source of clean lineout ball for The ‘Bridge.
They just weren’t able to move out of their own half as St Mary’s hit hard all across the pitch.
Moreover, number eight Ronan Watters and flanker Sean Heeran began to make dents with the ball.
They looked ripe to pick up the first points but for a knock-on by Heeran, allowing scrum-half Luke Maloney to clear expertly.
St Mary’s continued to handle more of the ball and make more of the mistakes, albeit under pressure.
The game was crying out for a game manager to put boot-to-ball, win territory and apply direct pressure through one-out runners.
St Mary’s would have none of it. They kept moving the ball and prop Niall McEniff gave them momentum down the left.
Number eight Ronan Watters battered away two defenders and patience was the key to the door.
Eventually, out-half Tom Murray’s cut-out ball enabled wing Hugo Conway to make the right corner.
Wing Ruairi Shields converted from under the stand for 7-0 in the 29th minute.
This was the signal for Newbridge to come knocking as prop Ben Howlett and wing Kevin Kyne powered onto the shoulder of fly-half Ben Caulfield.
They had the benefit of time inside the 22 without the precision to cut open a sound defence.
St Mary’s exploded into the second-half, props James Coolican and McEniff leading the charge for Shields to cross for 12-0 in the 38th minute.
Then, the game was put to bed when McEniff bumped off Jonathan Deane for the third try in the 42nd minute.
Newbridge’s Patrick Ryan and Cian Prendergast worked their socks off and the backs continued to probe in the face of a rigid St Mary’s defence.
Left wing Kevin Kyne flew through the middle to go close and captain Robert Wynne almost got away with the line in the vacinity.
When that didn’t work out, St Mary’s moved forward for replacement Adam McEvoy to crash over for Shields to convert.
There was consolation for Newbridge from Kyne’s power surge and scrum-half Luke Maloney’s conversion.
ST MARY’S COLLEGE 24 NEWBIRDGE COLLEGE 7
At Donnybrook – ST MARY’S COLLEGE 24 (R Shields try, 2 cons; H Conway, N McEniff, A McEvoy try each); NEWBRIDGE COLLEGE 7 (K Kyne try; L Maloney con)
St Mary’s: Eamonn Byrne; Hugo Conway, Craig Kennedy, Myles Carey, Ruairi Shields; Tom Murray, Daragh McDonagh; Niall McEniff (capt), Richie Bergin, James Coolican, Conor McElearney, Liam Corcoran, Sean Heeran, Harry McSweeney, Ronan Watters.
Replacements: Niall Hurley for Heeran 43 mins; Alex Dix for Conway 54 mins; Ciaran O’Meara for Coolican, Ian Wickham for McElearney, Adam McEvoy for McDonagh all 60 mins; Gavin O’Brien for Bergin, George Hassett for McEniff, Brian McMahon for Carey all 65 mins.
Newbridge: Tom Connolly; Jonathan Deane, Karmon Fitzgerald, Daragh Ryan, Kevin Kyne; Ben Caulfield, Luke Maloney; Ben Howlett, Robert Wynne (capt), Niall Stapleton, Theodore Hovenden-Kelly, Dylan Morrissey, Cian Prendergast, Harry O’Neill, Patrick Ryan.
Replacements: Enda Dowling for Ryan ht; Larry Kelly for Howlett, Patrick O’Brien for Caulfield both 39 mins; Eimhin Conroy for Deane 51 mins; Cian Murphy for Connolly 58 mins; Joshua Peacock for Wynne, Dominic Doyle for Stapleton, Oisin Halpin for Prendergast all 66 mins.
Referee: Brian McNiece, Leinster Branch