Michael’s edge victory as brave Roscrea fall short

Cistercian College Roscrea came up shy in a pulsating Leinster Schools Senior Cup first-round replay at Maynooth yesterday.

There may not have been many scoring opportunities created, but this was a thrill-a-minute encounter between two schools that went at each other with total commitment.

In fact, the only try of the game proved to be enough for St Michael’s, their outstanding Ireland schools loose forward and captain Dan Leavy appearing on the shoulder of number eight Donagh Lawler to drive to the line in the 13th minute.

Stand-off Ross Byrne converted to make it 7-0 to repair his confidence from an early penalty miss.

At this point, the Dubliners looked to have control. But the concession of this try triggered a characteristically cohesive response from Roscrea. They took over the game through the better technical work of their forwards.

Roscrea out-half Ciaran Gaffney’s penalty came back off an upright but he later successfully reduced the deficit with a 48th-minute penalty.

He had two more chances in the 51st and 58th minutes. However, the unpredictable wind and cold conditions made penalty kicking something of a lottery.

This seemed to infuse St Michael’s with energy and they were not to be breached, turning back Roscrea around the fringes to edge a match that could have gone either way.

In the end it was St Michael’s who took the spoils.

ST MICHAEL’S: C Diamond; B McDermott, R Kavanagh, B Holland, A Leavy; R Byrne, N McCarthy; A Barr, H Murray, J Lawless, R Molony, A Coleman, J Murphy, D Leavy (capt), D Lawlor.

Replacements: C Fagan for McDermott (34), S Harold for Molony (ht), D Coulson for Lawless (45), G Kelly for Murray (54).

CISTERCIAN ROSCREA: P O’Dwyer (capt); F Higgins, C Brennan, M Mellotte, M Fitzgerald; C Gaffney, G Ryan; S Moran, S Cody, O Heffernan, A McGrath, E Quirke, R Enraght-Mooney, R Moloney, S O’Brien.

Replacements: M Kelly for Fitzgerald (34).

Referee: G Glennon.

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