St Mary’s College overcome tricky start to beat CUS

Vinnie Murray Cup finalists threatened to pull off surprise result when they led 14-5

St Mary’s College 46 CUS 24

St Mary’s College overcame a tricky start at Lakelands Park on Thursday afternoon to comfortably defeat Catholic University School (CUS) in the opening round of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup.

Having secured a spot in the competition as a Vinnie Murray Cup finalist, CUS threatened to pull off a surprise result when they led 14-5 just past the first-quarter mark. However, the powerhouse duo of Andrew Sparrow and Evan Moynihan got Mary’s motoring and they ultimately progressed thanks largely to ruthless scoring blitzes either side of the interval.

There was just over a minute gone on the clock at the home of Terenure College RFC when CUS winger Matthew Clarke crossed the whitewash for a converted score at the end of a fast-paced move. Their Rathmines counterparts subsequently responded with a Sean O’Leary finish off a lineout maul, only for CUS to issue a further statement of intent in the form of a Harry Lynch seven-point salvo.

It is 20 years since Mary’s last won the Senior Cup - when current Ireland senior captain Jonathan Sexton was pulling the strings at outhalf - and they needed to dig deep in order to keep their quest for a sixth title alive. Yet there wasn’t any sign of panic within their ranks and, following unanswered converted tries courtesy of Sparrow and flanker Tom McEniff, they had turned things around to lead 20-14 at the break.

With momentum behind them, Mary’s pushed on after the resumption with the influential Moynihan dotting down twice in the space of just four minutes. Even though Lynch slotted over a penalty in between these scores, the outcome had effectively been placed beyond doubt.

CUS did grab a late five-pointer through Rian Treacy, but with Gavin Mulvihill and Aaron O’Brien adding their names to the scoresheet either side of this effort, St Mary’s advanced in fine style.

Scorers

St Mary's College: D Gilbourne penalty, four conversions, E Moynihan two tries, S O'Leary, A Sparrow, T McEniff, G Mulvihill, A O'Brien one try each.

CUS: H Lynch one try, penalty, two conversions, M Clarke, R Treacy one try each, J Grant conversion.

Teams

St Mary's College: J Brennan; Z Hopkins, R Moore, E Moynihan, S Kennedy; D Gilbourne, G Mulvihill; F King, S O'Leary, A Sparrow; D Leane, L Policky; A O'Brien, T McEniff, L McGauran.

Replacements: C Treacy for Mulvihill (41 mins); L Manselli for McEniff, P O’Beirne for Moore (both 44 mins); T O’Shea for King, L Jennings for Leane (both 53 mins); R Smyth for O’Leary (65 mins); Mulvihill for Treacy, D McNulty for Kennedy (both 69 mins).

CUS: J Grant; M Clarke, R Treacy, S Ryan, C Goode; H Lynch, G Phelan; J Lockhart, L Maguire, C Lohan Kilraine; G Deering, Samuel Byrne; H Quigley, L Sherwood, A Tonge.

Replacements: Sean Byrne for Lynch (57 mins); D Larkin for Deering (58 mins); E Judge for Lockhart, R Maguire for Quigley (both 60 mins); O Manks for Samuel Byrne (63 mins); R Dowling Mahoney for Clarke (65 mins); N Cox for Phelan (71 mins); J O’Connell for Ryan (73 mins).

Referee: P O'Connor (Leinster).

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