Cleary a driving force as Michael’s brush Mary’s aside for final spot

St Michael’s College 21 St Mary’s College 6

They were quickly into their stride when full-back Michael Twomey countered with pace. That paved the way for man-of-the-match Conor Cleary and Alex Byrne to make the hard yards before open side Rajan Reilly, up in support, crashed over the line. Wing Noel Reid converted for a 7-0 lead.

But Mary’s responded swiftly and Killian Finlay’s well-taken drop goal reminded the winners there would be no let-up from Mary’s.

Then, Patrick Mallon went over for another converted try, set up by the power of forwards Leonard and Byrne.

The frantic pace continued and then Mary’s had their turn when out-half Niall Cowhey struck a penalty to reduce the gap to 14-6 in the 19th minute.

It stayed that way to the break, although Michael’s went close. However, Cleary’s driving run setting up a clear overlap was wasted by poor passing.

St Michael’s started the second half as they did the first. Scrum-half Robert Shanley scrambled to the line for their third try in the 44th minute and the ever-reliable Reid kicked the conversion.

From there on, St Michael’s controlled the ball, with their big forwards, Leonard, Byrne, Mallon and captain Tyrone McKillen always on hand to take up possession.

St Mary’s open side Padraig Lalor worked himself to a standstill, but his side just lacked penetration against a stonewall defence.

Scorers: St Michael’s College: R Reilly, R Shanley, P Mallon try each; N Reid 3 cons. St Michael’s College: N Cowhey pen; K Finlay drop goal.

ST MICHAEL’S COLLEGE: M Twomey; N Reid, C Cleary, N Reynolds, P Brophy; A Cummiskey, R Shanley; I Leonard, P Hynes, A Pollard, A Byrne, K McKenna, P Mallon, R Reilly, T McKillen (capt).

Replacements: M Kelly for Pollard 42 mins; S Tallon for Leonard 69 mins.

ST MARY’S COLLEGE: D Hudson; C Quinn, J Buggy, C McGlade, R Crotty; N Cowhey, K Finlay; M McKay, E Moran, D Kennedy, J Slowey, P Gannon, S Timmons, P Lalor, K Gallivan (capt).

Replacements: J McGrath for McKay 11 mins; M Sexton for Hudson 49 mins ht; M Callinan for Kennedy, D Wilson for Slowey both 61 mins; A Hogan for Buggy, S McArdle for Timmons both 68 mins; D Beirne for Finlay 69 mins.

Referee: E O’Dowd, IRFU.

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