Leinster Schools Senior Cup: St Mary’s in four-try win over Newbridge
Rathmines school progress to second round after solid performance at Donnybrook
Niall McEniff played a captain’s role for St Mary’s College in their defeat of Newbridge at Donnybrook. Photograph: Inpho
By the end, they did it with a good deal in hand as two tries in four minutes early into the second half put a seal on the four tries-to-one victory.
In the beginning, the commitment to keeping ball in hand flew in the face of the greasy conditions. Neither school was inclined to kick the ball as anything other than a last resort.
However, the Rathmines nursery’s persistence through loosehead McEniff’s burst and number eight Ronan Watters’ battering-ram run created the space on the outside for outhalf Tom Murray to send wing Hugo Conway into the corner. Ruairi Shields’ conversion made it a seven-point game in the 29th minute.
It was still all to play for as long as Newbridge could wrestle away control up front. This never looked like happening as props James Coolican and McEniff hammered away for Shields to find a chink of light on the left. Then, McEniff’s bump on Jonathan Deane and run-in secured the third try in the 42nd minute.
Newbridge’s Patrick Ryan and Cian Prendergast did what they could in the face of insurmountable odds before St Mary’s moved menacingly forward for replacement Adam McEvoy to find the line for Shields to convert.
The Kildare school eventually found what they were looking for from Kevin Kyne powerful burst and scrumhalf Luke Maloney’s conversion.
ST MARY’S: E Byrne; H Conway, C Kennedy, M Carey, R Shields; T Murray, D McDonagh; N McEniff (capt), R Bergin, J Coolican, C McElearney, L Corcoran, S Heeran, H McSweeney, R Watters. Replacements: N Hurley for Heeran (43 mins); A Dix for Conway (54 mins); C O’Meara for Coolican, I Wickham for McElearney, A McEvoy for McDonagh (all 60 mins); G O’Brien for Bergin, G Hassett for McEniff, B McMahon for Carey (all 65 mins). NEWBRIDGE: T Connolly; J Deane, K Fitzgerald, D Ryan, K Kyne; B Caulfield, L Maloney; B Howlett, R Wynne (capt), N Stapleton, T Hovenden-Kelly, D Morrissey, C Prendergast, H O’Neill, P Ryan. Replacements: E Dowling for Ryan (h-t); Larry Kelly for Howlett, P O’Brien for Caulfield (both 39 mins); E Conroy for Deane (51 mins); C Murphy for Connolly (58 mins); J Peacock for Wynne, D Doyle for Stapleton, O Halpin for Prendergast (all 66 mins). Referee: B McNiece, Leinster Branch.