Seventh heaven for clinical Clongowes

IT was as the bookmakers predicted; a seventh Leinster Schools’ Senior Cup title for Clongowes Wood College whose 14 points salvo in the opening minutes of yesterday’s decider at the RDS proved decisive.

Revenge for defeat by St Michael’s three years ago was indeed sweet as the determined County Kildare school romped to victory by taking chances early and late in the game to pull off a comprehensive victory.

Yet it wasn’t always as one-sided as the scoreline suggests, St Michael’s giving as good as they got for much of this all-action game before finally having to accept defeat when Clongowes full-back Stephen MacAuley went in for two brilliantly executed second-half tries.

With Clongowes spurred on by a powerful pack, with captain Robert Hynes, Ian Prendeville, Conor Gilsenan and Jordan Coughlan constantly to the fore and with the back division marshalled brilliantly by Garret O Suilleabháin, there was little St Michael’s could do to stop this game from running away from them.

Early promise from Mark Corballis, the occasional surge from Cathal Marsh and total effort from captain Emmet MacMahon and Daniel Leavy up front just wasn’t quite enough to allow St Michael’s prosper on this occasion.

There could hardly have been a more dramatic start with two tries inside the opening six minutes.

Within 90 seconds, Clongowes winger Oscar O Suilleabháin plundered possession by blocking an attempted clearance from St Michael’s full-back Cormac Diamond; his brother Garrett reacted fastest to pick up and score; for good measure he also added the conversion. The goal-kicker also succeeded with the conversion of a second try from prop Ian Prendeville in the sixth minute.

The action continued unabated with St Michaels’s Corballis causing endless problems before his side got a whiff of power with a 15th minute try. Cleverly winning quality possession from a line-out, they moved the ball wide and after a couple of phases, out-half Marsh sent centre Mark Craig in for a try at the posts with the number ten converting.

Clongowes failed to nail a penalty opportunity through centre O Suilleabháin and they then had to survive further pressure from the attack conscious St Michael’s back division for whom Corballis, Alex Kelly and Marsh were hugely creative. That creativity even extended to an amazing run from flanker Leavy after 21 minutes that almost yielded a further try.

But they were not to be denied another score and the extra points came via a Marsh penalty three minutes from the break to bring the score back to 10-14, a very unlikely looking outcome given their disastrous start.

Sadly, they lost that impetus again when Clongowes elected to go for broke after being awarded a 34th minute penalty. Captain Hynes won the line out and prop Prendeville ploughed over for this second try with O Suilleabháin tacking on the extra points for a 21-10 lead that St Michael’s only pegged back through a further penalty from Marsh with the last kick of the opening half to leave the score at 21-13.

Clongowes upped the ante early in the second-half when O Suilleabháin had another penalty and the big pack got down to the serious business of winning and keeping possession and dominating territory whilst facing into the wind.

St Michael’s needed a score urgently but unfortunately they weren’t going anywhere.

Then Clongowes struck for a try with full back MacAuley darting in at the corner for a try that O Súilleabháin converted for an unassailable 31-13 advantage with 17 minutes left on the clock.

It got even better when MacAuley raced in for his second and O Súilleabháin converted to make it 38-13 before St Michael’s responded with a try from David Egan, converted by Marsh.

CLONGOWES WOOD COLLEGE: S MacAuley; O O Suilleabháin, J McMahon, G O Suilleabháin, A Thompson; D Quirke, D O’Meara; E Byrne, E Lewis, I Prendeville; T Beirne, R Hynes (capt); C Gilsenan, N McCarthy, J Coughlan.

Replacements: S Burke for McCarthy (61), T Collis for Byrne (66), S O’Keeffe for Lewis, M Maxwell for Egan (both 67), N Jones for McMahon (68), S O’Riordan for O’Meara (69), Thomas Byrne for Tadgh Byrne (70).

ST MICHAEL’S COLLEGE: C Diamond; M Corballis, A Kelly, M Craig, D Egan; C Marsh, L McGrath; K Duffy, F Barry, D Reynolds; E MacMahon (capt), S O’Connor; D Leavy, C Kenna, P Dix.

Replacements: S Hogan for O’Connor, S McGarry for Dix (both 54), A Murphy for Barry (57).

Referee: J Carvill (ARLB).

More in this section

CourtsRugbyPerson: Stephen MacAuleyPerson: Robert HynesPerson: Ian PrendevillePerson: Conor GilsenanPerson: Jordan CoughlanPerson: Garret O SuilleabháinPerson: Mark CorballisPerson: Cathal MarshPerson: Emmet MacMahonPerson: Daniel LeavyPerson: St MichaelPerson: ClongowesPerson: Oscar O SuilleabháinPerson: Cormac DiamondPerson: GarrettPerson: St MichaelsPerson: CorballisPerson: MarshPerson: Mark CraigPerson: Ó SuilleabháinPerson: Alex KellyPerson: LeavyPerson: HynesPerson: PrendevillePerson: MacauleyPerson: David EganPerson: S MacauleyPerson: O O SuilleabháinPerson: J McMahonPerson: G O SuilleabháinPerson: ThompsonPerson: D QuirkePerson: D O’MearaPerson: E ByrnePerson: E LewisPerson: I PrendevillePerson: T BeirnePerson: R HynesPerson: C GilsenanPerson: N McCarthyPerson: J CoughlanPerson: S BurkePerson: McCarthyPerson: T CollisPerson: ByrnePerson: S O’KeeffePerson: LewisPerson: M MaxwellPerson: EganPerson: N JonesPerson: McMahonPerson: S O’RiordanPerson: O’MearaPerson: Thomas ByrnePerson: Tadgh ByrnePerson: MichaelPerson: C DiamondPerson: M CorballisPerson: KellyPerson: M CraigPerson: D EganPerson: C MarshPerson: L McGrathPerson: K DuffyPerson: F BarryPerson: D ReynoldsPerson: E MacMahonPerson: S O’ConnorPerson: D LeavyPerson: C KennaPerson: P DixPerson: S HoganPerson: O’ConnorPerson: S McGarryPerson: DixPerson: BarryPerson: J CarvillEvent: Leinster Schools’ Senior CupOrganisation: ClongowesOrganisation: Clongowes Wood CollegeOrganisation: RDSOrganisation: County Kildare schoolOrganisation: St MichaelOrganisation: ARLB
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