St Michael’s College weathered an early storm to come through Terenure College in the Bank of Ireland Leinster Senior Schools Cup first round at Donnybrook Today.

Their lock Ryan Baird put down a marker with a thunderous tackle and ‘Nure answered in kind through centre Jack Walsh to let everyone know this would be a battle.

The competition at the breakdown was fierce, St Michael’s indiscretion offering out-half Jamie Devlin the chance to shoot three in the sixth minute.

‘Nure committed the cardinal sin, of not claiming the restart and their over-eagerness to rush up in defence resulted in a whistle for offside, centre David Ryan tying it up.

The adrenalin rush was causing problems as defences hammered up and attacks were slightly out of kilter. Second row Baird carried through soft shoulders and Ryan’s improvised kick made ‘Nure’s Luke Murnaghan scurry to shunt Andrew Smith into touch.

Traditionally, there is nothing ‘Nure love more than a scrap and this was certainly that, their pressure producing a lineout, 15-metres out. They were nice and composed in their driving game; centre Adam La Grue exploiting a gap on the fringes for the opening try, converted by Devlin for 10-3 in the 18th minute.

St Michael’s were having trouble getting into rhythm, poaching a penalty only to lose the subsequent lineout and knock-on in contact. Their prop Chris Hennessy showed the way forward with a huge hand-off before La Grue almost seized on a loose pass and Devlin slipped a grubber through to put Terenure hot on attack.

St Michael’s wing, Smith went in where it hurt to win a penalty at a ruck. Ryan executed a kick to touch. Hooker Lee Barron found Baird at the lineout and the maul was irresistible from 15 metres for Barron to splash down on the half hour and for Ryan to convert.

The Aylesbury Road School’s full-back Mark O’Brien hit top gear, not for the first time, on a breakout and it was ‘Nure’s discipline that caved in for Ryan to strike from the right for a 13-10 lead at half-time.

The game came alive again when Ryan’s penalty from the right rebounded from the left upright for flanker Scott Penny to win the race to ground out a try, Ryan converting for 20-13 in the 38th minute.

This was met with a collective ‘so what’ from ‘Nure as they landed the blows to force a penalty which Devlin squeezed between the sticks.

Then, Ryan charged up the middle, Smith danced inside, Baird straightened the line and centre Chris Cosgrave stepped off his left for a terrific team try for 25-13 in the 45th minute.

There was a sense of St Michael’s gradually taking control, despite the loss of Scott Penny to injury.

Baird sprung forward with real speed and their defence looked in-synchronisation across the field. There was a Dardis half-break that threatened until the link to Luke Grady could not be made.

It would take something special to close the gap and Dardis almost produced it with a delicious tumbling kick that had St Michael’s in a spot of bother.

From there, the boys in Blue moved downfield and stayed there to eke a hard-earned win. Final score St Michaels College 25 Terenure College 13.

St Michael’s College: Mark O’Brien; Jeff O’Loughlin, Chris Cosgrave, David Ryan (capt), Andrew Smith; Jay Barron, Rob Gilsenan; Jack Boyle, Lee Barron, Chris Hennessy, Matthew Healy, Ryan Baird, Jody Booth, Scott Penny, Dan O’Donovan.

Replacements: Mark Hernan for Penny 50 mins; John Fish for Healy 59 mins; Adam Peat for Boyle 65 mins; Pierce Feeney for L Barron, Des McCarthy for Gilsenan both 67 mins; Niall Carroll for Ryan, Eddie Kelly for Smith both 68 mins.

Terenure College: Sam Dardis; Luke Murnaghan, Adam La Grue, Jack Walsh, Harry Boyden; Jamie Devlin (capt), George Morgan; Levi Vaughan, Ben Morris, Sam McCoy, Eoghan Doherty, Aaron Deegan, Jack Townsend, Jack Cooke, Conor Shenton.

Replacements: Adam Dunne for Morris ht; Sean Daly for McCoy 48 mins; Henry Roberts for Walsh, Matthew O’Shea for Morgan, Luke Grady for Boyden all 50 mins; Jack Walsh for Devlin 56 mins; Paddy Heneghan for Townsend 60 mins; Tom Cadell for Doherty 64 mins.

Tomorrow see’s Blackrock College take on Castleknock College in Donnybrook at 3pm.  Passes to Leinster Schools Game can be purchased in Spar Shop, Donnybrook and admission to each game can be paid on the gate.