Terenure to meet Clontarf in Metro Cup final
April 11, 2022 5:56 pm Site Editor
Terenure College will play Clontarf in the Bank of Ireland Metropolitan Cup final at Energia Park (KO 7.30pm) on Friday, 22 April.
On Sunday, Terenure had to overcome a torrid test from Dublin University, while Suttoanians almost completed a miracle comeback against Clontarf.
Terenure College 10 Dublin University 3
This battle for supremacy in the Metropolitan Cup swung the way of Terenure at College Park on Sunday evening.
Over the course of the last two seasons, these two have wrestled control of the J1 league and cup from each other and this was an example of how thin the margin is between them.
The opening period was dominated by defences as Trinity captain Jody Booth led by example, while Niall Lalor and Daragh McDonnell in the pack and centre Sam Dardis stood out in that department for ‘Nure.
In the league final recently, Terenure’s edge at the scrum was a platform they did not waste.
This time around, Trinity tighthead Darren Magee rectified those concerns and the students more than held their own in that aspect.
In a game of few chances, the inability of either to move the scoreboard from difficult penalties, one on each side, led to a rise in the intensity and the tension as the half closed scoreless.
That man Lalor made a break and Trinity gave up a yellow card and penalty for Conor Pender to slip Terenure in front from a penalty.
It took a multi-phase attack to stress ‘Nure to the point of giving up a penalty which David Fitzgibbon landed to make it 3-3 in the 52nd minute.
In typical Trinity fashion, the students pushed the pace, going from deep in an attempt to prise open ‘Nure’s watertight defence.
When a breakdown in midfield occurred, Terenure seized on the loose ball with unsurprising glee.
A hack ahead had Trinity in scramble mode and Lalor won a race he was not favourite for as a by-product of just wanting it more, Pender’s conversion making it 10-3 midway through the half.
From there to the end, the home side exerted a lot of pressure, coming to dominate the territory.
They were even able to get over the line twice in the last five minutes, just unable to ground the ball to the satisfaction of the referee in what has become a real rivalry in the last year.
“It is a bit like the Ashes series and we retain the urn. We have won three out of the last five matches between the sides,” noted Terenure coach Ian Morgan.
“They won the Metro Cup in the first match. They beat us with a last-minute kick in the league at Lakelands. We did well against them in the league at Trinity. We won the league final on a flattering scoreline and tonight was as close as it gets.
“It is a testament to us that Trinity did not get over our line in the league final and in this semi-final. That was the difference.”
Clontarf 24 Suttonians 21
Clontarf were made to fight all the way to the finish by a resilient Suttonians at Station Road on Sunday afternoon.
A strange cross-field wind made it difficult to know which club benefited more from the elements, although the home side applied much of the pressure.
Suttonians were not able to take advantage, hammering away without much reward until Andy Ussher cracked the defence for Daragh Kelly to go over for Conor Jennings to convert in the 15th minute.
It could have been more were it not for ‘Tarf tighthead Dylan Lynch securing turnovers on the deck, scrum-half Peter Hoy imitating a flanker at the ruck and Vinny Gavin popping up with vital plays.
Clontarf grew into the game, moving upfield to sustain pressure, almost looking relieved to be out of their half.
It didn’t take long for their set-piece to have a say and penalties made progress easier in allowing them to create a try for Daniel Hawkshaw, Frankie O’Dea converting for 7-7 at the interval.
Just two minutes into the new half, Suttonians’ Micky McGiff committed a red card offence that preceded a period of dominance by Clontarf, resulting in a penalty by Hawkshaw.
A serious break by prop Alvin Amanianpong, which involved fancy footwork, was taken on by Hawkshaw and in for a try by Fiachra Smith, converted by Hawkshaw.
The extra man looked even more decisive when the pick-and-go was activated for James Horgan to touchdown, Hawkshaw’s extras making it 24-7 on the hour.
Somehow Suttonians summoned up the reserves of energy needed to mount an unlikely comeback.
The home side was given hope when, against the run of play, a kick over the top was taken in by Ronan Patterson, who still had plenty to do to beat the cover, Jennings converting.
Replacements were sent on to lift the tempo and quick taps were used for Liam Litchfield to cross close to the posts for another Suttonians converted try to narrow the gap to 24-21 in the 76th minute.
Suttonians were hot on attack, the adrenalin of the occasion overcoming the numerical disadvantage, as they pressed for the winning points.
They used penalties and width to stretch Clontarf, Kelly going close to his second try before a crucial turnover by Dominick Damianov sealed the tie.