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Terenure and champions Gonzaga book their places in Leinster quarter-finals

Leinster Schools Senior Cup round-up: Gonzaga score 45 points in the first half against St Fintan’s

Terenure College 22 Kilkenny College 7

Dan Martin finally ended Kilkenny’s robust, resilient challenge with a 66th-minute try at Energia Park in Donnybrook on Thursday as Terenure booked a place in the Leinster Schools Senior Cup quarter-finals.

Seán Skehan’s side came into the game with the reputation as a dark horse and started well enough for Casper Gabriel to nail a penalty for a high tackle.

Kilkenny openside Joe Landers was picture perfect in poaching a penalty on the floor, but Daniel Benn pushed his kick right of the sticks. When Kilkenny’s Joe Landers earned the right for Daniel Benn to reply, the scrumhalf missed to the right.

A familiar pattern was evolving. Terenure were keen to counter; Kilkenny content to cut them down and capture a penalty.


When Paddy Curry was impeded by Glenn O’Rourke, Terenure turned down a certain three for something more emphatic, another sign that taking your points is unfashionable these days.

Ivor Fenton made two bursts through arm tackles in creating the go-forward for captain Patrick Bramley, a dangerous attack snuffed out by Dan Martin’s groundwork.

The metronomic boot-to-ball of Gabriel was a weapon to gain field position, the latest rangefinder facilitating a maul which Kilkenny manipulated into a turnover.

However, they were five metres from their own line. A botched scrum gave Mike Murphy all the encouragement needed to wrestle a try, for Gabriel to land the touchline conversion to make it 10-0 in the 27th minute.

The dominant tackling of Harry Peavoy and the collective grit of Kilkenny was keeping them in the game. Just about.

A brutal, pulverising Terenure attack in which runners hit the line with speed and aggression was neutralised by the strength of Charlie Bramley. But the Dubliners had position, possession and a more direct method of making ground through their big men.

Kilkenny needed to make something happen. Suddenly, the passes began to stick. Landers ripped off a run. ‘Nure prop Adam Cooper was binned for his work at a ruck.

The Kilkenny lineout operated and the pack swarmed around to drive over the line for replacement Jason Shirley to flop down, Benn converting for 10-7 in the 46th minute.

Fullback Curry’s committed fetch was barely interrupted by Fenton’s contact, enough to draw a penalty which Gabriel slipped left of the uprights

The problem for Kilkenny is that they could not secure field position, again driven back for Gabriel to wipe a pass right for Ethan Balamash to dive over on the hour.

The stranglehold continued. Terenure’s pack cranked up the pressure. Their backs returned relieving kicks with interest.

The inevitable had to happen, Martin getting in among the forwards to muscle in a try, converted by Gabriel.

SCORERS – Terenure: M Murphy, E Balamash, D Martin try each; C Gabriel pen, 2 cons. Kilkenny: J Shirley try; D Benn con.

TERENURE: P Curry; C Gallaher, D Martin, L Moran, G O’Sullivan; C Gabriel, E Mallen; A Cooper, M Egan, O Storey; J Mooney, J Carter; M Murphy, L Friery, L Wardick (capt).

Replacements: L Kearney for Storey (40 mins); L McNiff for Carter (51); E Balamash for Gallaher (57); H Weber for Friery (61); L Zelman for Egan, P Kelly for Cooper, G Morgan for Moran, M Kennedy for Martin (all 66).

KILKENNY: H Brown; J Bennett, G O’Rourke, I Fenton, M Bird; J Campion, D Benn; T Smith, S Bayley, R Powell; H Peavoy, G Atkinson; C Bramley, J Landers, P Bramley (capt).

Replacements: J Shirley for Bayley (39 mins); M Corbett for Landers (60); G Agar for Powell, T Berry for Bird (both 61); B Deacon for Bennett (64); A Burgess for Smith, I Caldbeck for C Bramley, R Hawkins for Been (all 66).

Referee: M Forrestal (Leinster).

Gonzaga College 50 St Fintan’s High School 12

Defending champions Gonzaga College produced a devastating first-half performance at Lakelands Park on Thursday to safely advance into the quarter-final stage of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup.

Lining up with nine players that featured at some point in their historic final win over Blackrock College at the RDS last March, Gonzaga broke the deadlock against St Fintan’s with just six minutes gone on the clock – fullback Noah Byrne breaking through a defensive gap for a converted try.

Flanker Josh Mulligan also dotted down off a lineout maul just shy of the first-quarter mark, in advance of outhalf Daragh O’Dwyer securing tries in the 21st and 24th minutes. Byrne subsequently bagged his second score of the contest moments later, before Aidan O’Flanagan and JP Breslin also added their names to the scoresheet to propel Gonzaga into a seemingly unassailable 45-0 interval lead.

It had been a tough opening period for Fintan’s, but with a strong breeze now blowing in their favour, there was a chance for them to establish attacking territory on the resumption. Indeed, following much persistence, hooker Rory O’Connor Hehir touched down on 42 minutes to finally open the Sutton side’s account.

This bolstered their confidence and when secondrow Luke Ingle kicked to touch off a penalty five minutes later, O’Connor Hehir doubled his personal tally for the day with a clinical finish off an ensuing set-piece move.

Although Gonzaga were now being caused a number of problems by their determined counterparts, the Ranelagh men remained firmly in control of this tie. Having gone more than 30 minutes in the second half without adding to their points haul, Mulligan claimed his second try of the action in the closing stages to ease the title holders over the line and into the last eight.

SCORERS – Gonzaga College: D O’Dwyer 2 tries, 5 cons; N Byrne, J Mulligan 2 tries each, A O’Flanagan, JP Breslin try each. St Fintan’s High School: R O’Connor Hehir 2 tries, L Ingle con.

GONZAGA COLLEGE: N Byrne; JP Breslin, A O’Flanagan, P Masterson, B Colbert; D O’Dwyer, T Brophy; S Heneghan, L McLaughlin, J Sheil; M Kennedy, M Tyrrell; J Mulligan, G O’Grady, C Kennedy.

Replacements: J O’Dwyer for Brophy (45 mins); M Bruton for Tyrrell (47); Z Mulligan for Colbert (56); M Doherty for Kennedy (63); B Lynch for O’Flanagan (65); J Brophy for McLaughlin, W McMahon for Sheil (both 67); B McCarthy for Heneghan (68).

ST FINTAN’S HIGH SCHOOL: R O’Shea; T Young, M Haas, G Nostro, O Kelly; B Barnes, H Dummer; T O’Connor Hehir, R O’Connor Hehir, P Palazzetti; M Bolger, L Ingle; T Juvara, B Dillon, S Cantwell.

Replacements: S O’Leary for Dumme (h-t); F Derry for Cantwell, S Ecock for T O’Connor Hehir, F McDonald for Barnes (all 55 mins); F Cullen for Palazzetti (60); R Curley for Young (63); J Burke for R O’Connor Hehir (67).

Referee: J Flynn (LRR).

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