Clongowes hold off Kilkenny College to advance in Leinster Schools Senior Cup

Newbridge and Belvedere through, but St Andrew’s and Castleknock must meet again

William Connors of Clongowes is tackled by Sam Pim of Kilkenny College during the Leinster Schools Senior Cup match at NUI Maynooth. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

William Connors of Clongowes is tackled by Sam Pim of Kilkenny College during the Leinster Schools Senior Cup match at NUI Maynooth. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.


Clongowes 34, Kilkenny College 15: Ireland Schools coach Noel McNamara’s Clongowes Wood side had to shake off the biting cold and their own inaccuracies to overcome Kilkenny in the Leinster Schools Senior Cup first round at NUI Maynooth yesterday.

This was one of three out of six first-round matches to survive the brutal weather conditions. For this very reason, it was a stop-start affair, wing James Lappin’s third-minute try putting the Clane school on the front-foot.

The Kilkenny boys knew they would have to make their tackles and take almost everything that came their way. They made their own luck for centre Dylan Kelso to snatch an opportunist try, captain Craig Miller converting for 7-5 in the sixth minute.

Clongowes put the ball through the hands, producing the best try of the game by wing Cian O’Donoghue, Craig Miller hitting back to make it 12-10 from a 21st minute penalty.

The binning of Clongowes captain Fergal Cleary could have been a way back into the lead for Kilkenny. But Cleary returned without a point conceded before fullback Alan Hughes kicked a penalty and number eight Mark Jones pounced for a try to make 20-10 at half-time.

The combination of O’Donoghue’s strength in the tackle and Cleary’s eye for space created the opening for lock Jake Kennedy to make the line.

O’Donoghue scored the fifth try deep into the final quarter ahead of Jason Melbourne’s fine consolation finish into the right corner in injury-time.
Newbridge College 14, Cistercian, Roscrea 3: Converted tries in the 21st and 41st minutes saw Newbridge College deservedly advance in the Leinster Senior Cup at the expense of a highly-committed Cistercian College, Roscrea side at the Oak Park grounds in Carlow yesterday.

Newbridge opened the scoring when outhalf Jimmy O’Brien made a break from the Cistercian 22 and outstripped the Roscrea cover for a try, converted by winger Joe D’Arcy. Almost immediately Roscrea hit back for outhalf Tim Foley to kick their only points from a superb 40-metre penalty.

It remained 7-3 at half-time but six minutes into the second half, Newbridge secondrow Conor Doyle crashed over for a try. D’Arcy again converted.

Roscrea never gave up and with captain and flanker Marc Kelly outstanding, they laid siege to the Newbridge line in the game’s final play in search of a consolation try. But superb defence from Newbridge denied them before, deep in injury time, Newbridge managed to secure their own put-in at a scrum, which signalled the end of a thrilling game.
Castleknock College 15, St Andrew’s 15: St Andrew’s secured a dramatic draw with the final kick of the game to force their first-round clash with Castleknock to a replay yesterday.

Outhalf Jack Balburnie showed nerves of steel to land the all-important penalty and get his side out of jail after St Andrew’s conceded two late tries when leading 12-3 with 15 minutes remaining,

It took a massive effort from the Castleknock forwards to score their first try with 10 minutes left and when kicker Geoff Brookes missed the conversion, it looked ominous.

Yet the ’Knock forwards came again and another huge surge saw Niall O’Riordan cross the whitewash to give his side a 13-12 lead. Brookes converted and Castleknock could sense victory but their lead was gone in 60 seconds.

St Andrew’s claimed the restart and won a penalty 40 metres out. A hush descended as Balburnie lined up the kick and despite the tension, the talented number 10 slotted a sweet shot between the posts.

It was his fifth and most important penalty of the day.
Belvedere College 28, Wesley College 3: Second-quarter tries by Adam Foy and Josh Hutchinson provided the catalyst for Belvedere College in Balbriggan yesterday, as they progressed to the quarter-final stage with a comprehensive victory over Wesley College.

The north Dubliners broke the deadlock after 27 minutes when scrumhalf Foy charged down an attempted Wesley clearance before touching down. Outhalf Conor Jennings converted as he did when Hutchinson crossed via a majestic reverse pass by Seán Long.

A successful close-range penalty by James O’Donovan offered Wesley a glimmer of hope upon the resumption, but the result was put out of doubt mid-way through the second half when fullback Seán McCullagh broke through impressively for another converted. Secondrow Cameron McCrum secured the fourth try seven minutes from time.