Leinster Schools: St Michael’s set up semi-final clash against Blackrock

Clongowes Wood College beaten in quarter-final in Energia Park

St Michael’s College 27 Clongowes Wood College 17

St Michael’s set up the mouth-watering prospect of a Leinster Schools Senior Cup semi-final against Blackrock.

It means Newbridge and Gonzaga will lock horns in the other semi-final as the quarterfinals concluded at Energia Park on Monday afternoon.

A lung-bursting break by Clongowes prop Max Duggan was the first sign of a crack in two determined defences, soon followed by a St Michael’s manoeuvre in which wing Larry Kirkham probed for an opening.


The light blues narrowed their focus on a drive inside the 22 before spreading the ball left from a scrum for fullback David Lucey to somehow ground the ball in the eighth minute.

Clongowes were finding it difficult to earn position until centre Callum McDonald put lock Blayze Molloy into open country, the final pass picked off by a back-pedalling defence.

When Clongowes decided to run the gauntlet, a ruck battle went the way of St Michael’s, Jules Fenelon pulling his shot left and wide.

Tom Stewart’s acrobatic block of a restart on the 22 and captain Mark Canniffe’s wonder pass for captain James White kept the pressure on.

Flanker Dermot Collins shot through a hole at the back of a lineout only for Wilhelm de Klerk to nab centre McDonald on the floor.

Canniffe flattened Daniel Baugh and James Sherwin almost had an interception in a hard-up defence that didn’t account for Kelly’s surge.

The Clongowes captain was wrapped up by Kirkham and de Klerk’s long kick turned defence into attack.

Kirkham almost got away on the right from Lucey’s long, left-handed pass. De Klerk stooped to force a penalty on the floor for Fenelon to make it 8-0 on half-time.

From the kick-off, Harry Mallon’s clearance was blocked by Sherwin, the scrumhalf latching on to the loose ball for a body-blow of a try, converted by Fenelon.

Clongowes left-wing Oscar O’Brien stole a ball at the ruck, flanker Dermot Collins was quickly on to a loose ball, but St Michael’s openside Rory Brown was on hand to snuff out the attack.

A spill in midfield sparked a swift counter, Fenelon swinging a long, inviting pass that Kirkham took to the house for 20-0 in the 43rd minute.

Once again, Clongowes front row forwards engineered an opening for Alex Hemeryk and Gavin Keane sliced through in midfield.

Finally, the last pass went to hand when Keane flashed the ball for Daniel Baugh to shoot over on the left in the 58th minute.

St Michael’s couldn’t convert from a five-metre lineout, flanker Matthew Roche-Nagle giving life to Clongowes’ attack with a stunning burst from deep.

They stayed on message, using the lineout to set up a maul and a series of close-range drives for loose-head Wyse to touch down in the 64th minute.

The influential de Klerk was able to exploit space on the outside with a kick for Charles Foley to score for Fenelon to convert.

True to form, Clongowes kept on coming for Conor Lysaght to claim the try and for Tom Murtagh to convert from the right.

Scorers: St Michael’s – D Lucey, J Sherwin, L Kirkham, C Foley try each; J Fenelon pen, 2 cons. Clongowes Wood – D Baugh, J Wyse, C Lysaght try each; T Murtagh con.

St Michael’s College – D Lucey; L Kirkham (C Foley 58), J Fenelon, M Canniffe (E Black 69), P Wood; W De Klerk, J Sherwin (C O’Connor 69); B Howard (T Murray 69), T Stewart (T Begley 69), R Coogan (D Maguire 69), D Walsh, M O’Reilly (F McKenna 69), J White (Capt) R Brown (B O’Donoghue 58), S Corrigan.

Clongowes Wood – P Spillane; D Baugh, H Roche-Nagle, C McDonald (G Keane 43), O O’Brien (B McCarthy 43); H Mallon (J Moynihan 52), T Murtagh; J Wyse (L Murtagh 69), K Ugwueru (M Doyle 52), M Duggan (A Hemeryck 43), B Molloy (M Coveney 64), A Kelly (Capt), M Roche-Nagle, D Collins (C Lysaght 66), D Daly.

Referee – P Haycock, Leinster Branch.