John Maher’s double secures Clongowes’ path past Wesley

Kildare school’s defence tested throughout entertaining encounter

Wesley prop  Sam Illo is tackled during the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup first-round game against  Clongowes Wood  at Donnybrook. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Wesley prop Sam Illo is tackled during the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup first-round game against Clongowes Wood at Donnybrook. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Clongowes Wood College 20 Wesley College 7

It took the opportunism of John Maher to guide Clongowes Wood into the Leinster Schools Senior Cup quarter-finals at Donnybrook on Wednesday.

The beginning was everything to Wesley, if they were going to spring a major surprise.

It didn’t look too good when David Wilkinson struck an eighth-minute penalty for the Clane school.

Wesley worked their way back into the game through the leadership of captain Jamie Kavanagh, the explosive carrying of prop Sam Illo and kicking of scrumhalf Jack Atkinson.

This was far from a foregone conclusion as they shelved indifferent form this season to leave it all out there.

They could have been discouraged when Clongowes lock Hugh Lonergan caused the defence to converge and Maher stepped off his right foot twice for a fine try to make it 8-0 at the interval.

Wesley were renewed in their mission, their fullback Jamie Metchette’s break and low kick forcing an attacking scrum.

They just could not crack open Clongowes at close quarters, despite the best efforts of tighthead Illo and flanker Alfred Oropo.

The will of Wesley to keep coming was something to behold as was the commitment of Clongowes to keep turning them away right on the line.

It was a sustained piece of give and take that ended with the winners clearing the ball.

Not long after, their scrumhalf Ross MacGoey broke away into the left corner for what was a real kick in the guts for Wesley in the 49th minute.

There was more than a ripple of excitement when Illo blasted through two defenders for Adam Campion to convert.

The prospect of a hectic climax was soon removed when Maher seized on loose play to pick up his second try, Wilkinson converting for what would turn out to be the final points of the game.

SCORERS – Clongowes: J Maher 2 tries; R MacGoey try; D Wilkinson pen, con); Wesley College: S Illo try; A Campion con

CLONGOWES: J Maher; L McDermott, J Carroll, F Kiernan, M Galvin; D Wilkinson, R MacGoey; B Dooley, E Noone, R McMahon; C Doyle, H Lonergan; D McCormack, T Gilheany, T Coghlan (capt).

Replacements: G Dowling for Lonergan (temp, 21 mins); T O’Brien for Galvin (58); H Phillips for Kiernan, T Power for Lonergan (both 62); G Dowling for Doyle (66); C Duff for Dooley (69).

WESLEY: J Metchette; A Campion, H O’Hagan, T Elliot, L Fitzpatrick; J Vard, J Atkinson; C Gilmer, J Kavanagh (capt), S Illo; J Brownell, K Wallace; A Oropo, R Chandler, D Dooley.

Replacements: L Sutton for Elliot (46 mins); Z McMullin for Vard (59); H Grant for Brownell, I Momoh for Gilmer (both 60); J Fish for Chandler, A Galbraith for Campion (both 66); S van Breda for Kavanagh (68).

Referee: C Hogan (Leinster).

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