Christopher Cosgrave was the star turn in St Michael’s moving on to the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Junior Cup semi-final at Donnybrook on Wednesday.
St Michael’s started out at a rate of knots, testing the fabric of the Nure defence in close and out wide with wing Zach Harrison and centre Cosgrave looking dangerous in possession.
The latter’s outside arc and short ball for full-back Mark O’Brien applied enough pressure to force a penalty which Cosgrave struck in the sixth minute.
From the restart, they were refueled in time for Harrison to blaze away up the left and number eight Ben Gannon to eat up the ground.
It was spoiled by a side-entry into a ruck. It should have provided relief for Terenure. The ball failed to find touch and O’Brien went about countering.
The solid ‘Nure lineout and an over-enthusiastic defensive line from Michael’s offered up the chance to move beyond halfway. They just couldn’t make headway.
Tight-head Joshua Toland made two crucial charges that splintered Terenure and the ball was spun right for full-back O’Brien to make the line at the second attempt when not held in the tackle.
Cosgrave converted for 10-0 in the 13th minute.
It was more of the same from St Michael’s when Cosgrave’s timing of the pass was exquisite and prop Jack Boyle’s surge put them close enough until number eight Gannon was good enough to make the posts for Cosgrave to convert in the 19th minute.
Terenure just couldn’t get a grip on the game.
Hooker Levi Vaughan, full-back Matthew McGetrick and centre Ross McInnes took it in turns to break forward without any reward.
They looked to be in trouble again before wing Zach Harrison kicked out on the full from counter-attack ball.
It didn’t take Harrison long to make up for that from another sizzling Cosgrave pass, the centre adding two more from the conversion for 24-0 at the break.
Terenure came out transformed from flanker Sean Daly’s spectacular take of the kick-off.
There was intensity to their carrying as centres Alex Dempsey and McInnes and McGetrick made an impression. They just had problems protecting their ruck ball from the scavengers.
They needed a quick score to make a game of it. That is why St Michael’s celebrated lock Jonathan Fish’s turnover just as they looked like breaking in defence.
When next ‘Nure tried to move the ball out of defence, Cosgrave was there in a flash to intercept for seven points.
It took the core strength of Vaughan to cause a penalty at a ruck.
McInnes took off up the left. Number eight Charlie Harpur gathered in a clean lineout at the back. Conor Neill took the direct route.
It was all to no avail as Cosgrave stepped into his second interception for a clear run to the line for his conversion to take his personal tally to 23 points.
No sooner was he called ashore than wing Andrew Smith broke a tackle for the sixth try for fly-half Niall Carroll to convert.
The remarkably consistent Vaughan was nearly through the middle for ‘Nure, leaving McGetrick to streak away for a consolation try.
It got even better when Conor Neill’s pop pass put wing Dan Byrne into the sort of space he needed to beat the defence.
At Donnybrook – ST MICHAEL’S COLLEGE 45 (C Cosgrave 2 tries, pen, 5 cons; Z Harrison, M O’Brien, B Gannon, A Smith try each; N Carroll con); TERENURE COLLEGE 14 (M McGetrick try, 2 cons; D Byrne try).
ST MICHAEL’S COLLEGE 45 TERENURE COLLEGE 14
St Michael’s: Mark O’Brien; Andrew Smith, Christopher Cosgrave, Cian McGettigan, Zach Harrison; Niall Carroll, Robert Gilsenan; Jack Boyle, Lee Barron, Joshua Toland, Jonathan Fish, Luke Dunne, William Hickey, Mark Hernan (capt), Ben Gannon.
Replacements: Conor Frankling for Hernan 38 mins; Tim Gilsenan for McGettigan 40 mins; Oscar Hurley for Fish 47 mins; Edward Kelly for Cosgrave 48 mins; Benjamin Victory for Barron, Ben Gallagher for Boyle, Hugh McGovern for Toland, Charles Greally for R Gilsenan all 48 mins.
Terenure: Matthew McGetrick; Dan Byrne, Ross McInnes, Alex Dempsey, Eoin Molloy; George Morgan (capt), Brishan O’Brien; Adam Byrne, Levi Vaughan, Sam McCoy, Aaron Deegan, Jack Townsend, Sean Daly, Jack Cooke, Charlie Harpur.
Replacements: Ben Vaughan for Harpur 14 mins – temp; Henry Roberts for Morgan 21 mins; Adam Dunne for McCoy ht; Conor Neill for Dempsey 34 mins; Josh Keegan for A Byrne 47 mins; Niall Dowling for Townsend 48 mins; Luke McNamara for O’Brien 51 mins.
Referee: Barry O’Keeffe, Leinster Branch.