St Michael’s College 25 Terenure College 13
St Michael’s gradually got to grips with a ferocious Terenure challenge to make it into the Leinster Senior Cup quarter-final at Donnybrook on Monday afternoon.
This encounter never lacked in fizz or fight as the two sets of forward went at each other with total commitment right from the start.
Terenure's new coach John Coffey has introduced a wide game that complements their embedded, time-honoured love of the battle.
Indeed, they looked the more at home with the hard-hitting opening quarter, their three-quarters looking to hit into any moving targets.
They took St Michael's out of their comfort zone for captain Jamie Devlin to strike a sixth minute penalty.
But, they made the mistake of not fully focusing on a 'next play' mentality, coughing up the restart for David Ryan to square the game.
The ’Nure looked dangerous on the ball and fullback Sam Dardis’s line kicking put them in position for an attacking lineout.
They were deliberate and direct in their pursuit of go-forward ball, centre Adam La Grue exploiting the fringe for a try converted by Devlin for 10-3 in the 18th minute.
St Michael’s were having trouble getting into a rhythm, poaching a penalty only to lose the subsequent lineout and knock-on in contact.
It took a textbook poach by wing Andrew Smith to pick up a penalty which Ryan angled into touch.
From there, Lee Barron found Ryan Baird soaring at the lineout, hooker Barron coming round in support to claim the ball and the try for Ryan to convert from the left on the half hour.
The Ailesbury Road school’s fullback Mark O’Brien accelerated away from defenders to cause a penalty which Ryan nailed for a 13-10 lead at half-time.
On return, St Michael's got more than they could have planned for when Ryan's penalty came back off the left post for openside Scott Penny to grab and ground, Ryan converting for a 20-10 lead in the 38th minute.
This was met with a collective ‘so what’ from ’Nure as they landed the blows to force a penalty which Devlin squeezed between the sticks.
Then, Ryan charged up the middle, Smith danced inside, Baird straightened the line and centre Chris Cosgrave stepped off his left for a terrific team try to make the score 25-13 in the 45th minute.
It was a blow ’Nure never recovered from as they spent most of the final quarter in their own half unable to find a way back.
ST MICHAEL'S COLLEGE: M O'Brien; J O'Loughlin, C Cosgrave, D Ryan (capt), A Smith; J Barron, R Gilsenan; J Boyle, L Barron, C Hennessy; M Healy, R Baird; J Booth, S Penny, D O'Donovan.
Replacements: M Hernan for Penny (50 mins); J Fish for Healy (59); A Peat for Boyle (65); P Feeney for L Barron, D McCarthy for Gilsenan (both 67); N Carroll for Ryan, E Kelly for Smith (both 68).
TERENURE COLLEGE: S Dardis; L Murnaghan, A La Grue, J Walsh, H Boyden; J Devlin (capt), G Morgan; L Vaughan, B Morris, S McCoy; E Doherty, A Deegan; J Townsend, J Cooke, C Shenton.
Replacements: A Dunne for Morris(h/t); S Daly for McCoy (48 mins); H Roberts for Walsh, M O'Shea for Morgan, L Grady for Boyden (all 50); J Walsh for Devlin (56); P Heneghan for Townsend (60); T Cadell for Doherty (64).
Referee: M Casey (Leinster Branch).