Cistercian College battle back to force replay with Newbridge College

Cistercian College, Roscrea 8 Newbridge College 8: Drama aplenty in Donnybrook yesterday in the Leinster Schools’ Cup semi-final , but no decision.

Cistercian College battle back to force replay with Newbridge College

Though it lacked shape, the game made up for it with some sublime pieces of individual skill with players like Roscrea’s number eight Dan Trayers and Newbridge inside-centre Jimmy O’Brien providing their fair share of sparks.

Both must now wait until next Monday (KO 4pm) to seek passage through to the March 17 final against Belvedere College.

Roscrea’s decades of frustration were all distilled into an opening fifteen minutes here yesterday in which they hammered repeatedly against the Newbridge line and yet somehow found themselves trailing 8-0.

Their early play was slick and purposeful. The physically imposing Trayers provided the fulcrum for punchy go-forward ball while half-backs Alan Tynan and Keith Kavanagh almost slipped through the Newbridge defensive net.

Twice they powered into the opposition 22 and on both visits they spurned difficult kicks at goal time and again to kick to the corner and target Trayers at lineouts. Five times in all they tried the tactic. Newbridge survived.

Newbridge were starved of both possession and territory in the first quarter, but made the most of the little they managed. Never more so than just five minutes in when they pounced on an overthrown Roscrea lineout.

Within a flash, O’Brien had scythed through and shipped off to his midfield partner Jake Howlett who enjoyed a clear run to the line and almost under the posts.

Scrum-half Colm Doyle somehow shanked the simple conversion wide. But Roscrea gradually lost their mojo as the half went on and paid further for it.

Rob Wharton straying offside while chasing a Garryowen midway through the half allowed Doyle to add another three points from a penalty and Newbridge maintained that 8-0 advantage through to the break.

Roscrea’s reaction to adversity was impressive yet again and Newbridge were caught cold on the restart with interminable pressure inside their own 22 eventually telling when Tim Foley tapped over an easy penalty.

That took a grand total of three minutes.

Another seven elapsed before the deficit was done and it emanated from Roscrea engineering a turnover in their own 22 and sending a relieving kick that rolled past the opposing five-metre line before Newbridge wing Colm Stapleton tapped to touch.

The resulting Roscrea lineout and maul that followed surprised no-one and it was scrum-half Kavanagh who wriggled over to level it and leave Foley with a kick that was perhaps a metre beyond his range.

All square then with 20 to play and that’s the way it stayed.

CISTERCIAN COLLEGE, ROSCREA: T Carroll; D Keane, R Wharton, T Foley, S Kilgallen; A Tynan, K Kavanagh; L Walsh, E Maher, D Murphy; F Wycherley, A Browne; S Meagher, M Keane, D Trayers.

Replacements: B Diffley for Meagher and J Murphy for Kilgallen (both 50); K Cahir for Keane (64); P O’Shea for Wharton (70).

NEWBRIDGE: M Delaney; R Cleary, J Howlett, J O’Brien, C Stapleton; T Murphy, C Doyle; J Duggan, C Johnson, D Breen; M Joyce, B Larkin; T O’Neill, R Buckley, P Ryan.

Replacements: A Mahony for Joyce, R Culliton for Ryan and D Walker for Buckley (all 64).

Referee: G Conway.

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