Vinnie Murray Cup semi-final preview: Kilkenny v CUS
January 25, 2017 7:00 am Site Editor
Kilkenny College had to absorb the disappointment of not making it directly into the Senior Cup through the League and refocus on the Vinnie Murray.
It may be no bad thing as they have had the chance to build form and cohesion from their quarter-final against Wilson’s Hospital.
Kilkenny looked very impressive in putting down eight tries with the direct approach of number eight Reuben Pim, flanker Stuart Dudley and hooker Stephen Gray backed up by the balance of out-half Josh Miller’s tactical appreciation.
The outstanding presence of the serious gas on the outside of wings Tamalori Awonusi and, in particular, Luke Sonilenla, an impressive physical specimen, is an exciting outlet for their attacking strategy.
CUS are well-coached by former British & Irish Lion Eric Miller in dishing up 77 points in their first two rounds for the concession of just seven.
The defence and attack are working in relative harmony as number eight Adam Fleming leads them in both areas.
The cool play-making of their captain David O’Leary is at the core of what they do well, moving forward with a clear plan.
Prop Harry Opperman, hooker Jacob Maguire, flanker Sean Mullen and Fleming should not be underestimated in what is a unit in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Kilkenny College (Probable): Mark Braithwaite; Tamalori Awonusi, Andrew Ross, Jason Rothwell, Luke Sonilenla; Josh Miller (capt), Luke Kerr; David Young, Stephen Gray, Owen Edgehill, Gavin Parr, Sam Smith, Stuart Dudley, Andrew Florio, Reuben Pim.
CUS (Probable): Ronan O’Leary; Kevin Minihane, Liam Howley, Cody Barton, Christopher Aboud; David O’Leary (capt), Alexander Langan-McDonnell; Harry Opperman, Jacob Maguire, John Cole, Victor Nwali, James Horgan, Sean Mullen, Eoin McLoughlin, Adam Fleming.
PATHS TO THE SEMI-FINAL
First Round: Kilkenny bye; CUS 47 St Conleth’s 7.
Second Round: Kilkenny 54 Wilson’s Hospital 3; CUS 30 Good Counsel 0.