Kilkenny knock out Pres Bray to book spot in last eight of Schools Cup

Sean Naughton comes out on top in battle of Leinster U18 outhalves with Jack Murphy

Kilkenny College 23 Presentation College Bray 10

Kilkenny College booked their spot in the last-eight of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup with a convincing 13-point triumph against Presentation College Bray at Energia Park in Donnybrook on Monday afternoon.

In addition to tries in each half from Harry Rogers and Mark Stanley, the dependable Sean Naughton contributed 13 points off the kicking tee for the victors. Hard-working lock Billy Corrigan crossed the whitewash for Pres Bray just past the hour mark, but it wasn't enough to halt the progress of their Noreside counterparts.

Kilkenny had displayed their intent from the very opening moments of the contest with outside centre Glenn O'Rourke making huge ground after intercepting a loose opposition pass. Naughton subsequently broke the deadlock with a fourth-minute penalty and even though Jack Murphy responded with a similar effort for Pres Bray, it was Kilkenny who were making the greater attacking inroads.

When the ball broke free at the end of a quick counter in the 14th-minute, team skipper Rogers touched down for a five-pointer that was converted in clinical fashion by Naughton. The Kilkenny number ten has been challenging his opposite number Murphy for a starting place in the Leinster U18 side this season and his routine place-kick on 19 minutes created further daylight between them and the Wicklow outfit.

Some strong defensive work from Pres Bray prevented a second try before the interval, but Kilkenny nevertheless had a 13-3 cushion at their disposal on the restart.

They were never truly in danger of relinquishing this lead, though patience was required from the Marble County men. Despite Stefan Hillebrand and Dean Symes having golden opportunities to add their names to the scoresheet, Pres Bray managed to close out the space on the Kilkenny wingers.

Towering second-row Stanley eventually showed the backs how it’s done with a powerful finish off a lineout maul in the 49th-minute. Naughton added five more points to his already impressive personal tally to effectively place the outcome beyond doubt.

To Pres Bray’s credit, they couldn’t battle until the very end and left the south Dublin venue with their heads very much held high. Following a prolonged spell of attacking pressure, Corrigan powered over for a try to the right of the posts that was supplemented by a Murphy bonus strike.

Tougher tests may lie in wait for Kilkenny, but this was certainly a good start from their perspective.

Scorers: Kilkenny College: H Rogers, M Stanley try each, S Naughton 3 pens, 2 cons. Presentation College Bray: B Corrigan try, J Murphy pen, con.

Kilkenny College: A Moore; D Symes, G O'Rourke, H Rogers, S Hillebrand; S Naughton, C Kennedy; A Whatchorn, A Botha, A Shirley; M Stanley, P Bramley; S Dudley, Z Furlong, S Smyth.

Replacements: A Cope for O'Rourke (54 mins), L Kemp for Whatchorn, J O'Sullivan for Stanley, R Lalor for Dudley, J Corbet for Hillebrand (all 59 mins).

Presentation College Bray: G Rochford; J Kenny, F Treacy, L Smith, L Devitt; J Murphy, C Bourke; C McGrath, F Pyper, J McDonald; B Corrigan, R Mackey; N McNulty, S Nolan, E Kelly.

Replacements: W Seymour for Rochford (19 mins), D Henry for Smith, (half-time), C Eddy for Bourke (57 mins), B Murphy-Morgan for Mackey ( 61 mins).

Referee: S Holt (LRR).

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