Newbridge suffered a major setback inside the opening minute when right-wing David Murphy was forced off injured.
Roscrea quickly took the lead courtesy of Tim Foley’s seventh-minute penalty, before the league champions hit back when hooker Conor Johnson touched down to the right of the posts. Colm Doyle’s bonus kick was off-target, though. However, persistence eventually paid off for Roscrea, as Mattie Keane combined brilliantly with back-row partner Simon Meagher for a magnificent 19th minute try. Foley’s second effort at the posts was successful. No 8 Dan Trayers also supplied the finishing touches to a pushover five-pointer, and just shy of the half-hour mark, Alan Tynan’s lay-off enabled Daniel Keane to cross the whitewash on the left-wing. This extended Roscrea’s lead to 15 points and a rout looked on . However, excellent Newbridge captain Jimmy O’Brien had other ideas, and thanks to his seven-point salvo three minutes before the interval, the south Kildare school had reduced the deficit to a manageable 20-12.
Newbridge looked set for a timely-boost on 53 minutes, when flanker Robert Buckley attempted to pick out the raiding Ruairi Cleary on the right-flank. The Newbridge replacement ultimately knocked-on at the vital moment.
But the two-time winners displayed remarkable character to cut Roscrea’s lead to the bare minimum on the hour mark. At the end of prolonged move inside the opposition ‘22’, Jake Howlett sniped through underneath the posts, and courtesy of a routine conversion by his midfield partner O’Brien, a nail-biting finale lay in store.
However, Roscrea dominated possession during the closing stages, and they held out for victory by the slenderest of margins and now meet Belvedere College in the final.
Scorers for Cistercian College Roscrea: M Keane, D Trayers, D Keane try each, T Foley pen, con.
Scorers for Newbridge College: C Johnson try, J O’Brien try, con.
CISTERCIAN COLLEGE ROSCREA: T Carroll; D Keane, R Wharton, T Foley, J Murphy; A Tynan, K Kavanagh; L Walsh, E Maher, D Murphy; F Wycherley, A Browne; S Meagher, M Keane, D Trayers.
Replacements: K Cahir for Browne (h-t), B Diffley for M Keane (55), P Gavin for Meagher (63), S Kilgallen for Wharton (65), P O’Shea for J Murphy (69).
NEWBRIDGE COLLEGE: M Delaney; D Murphy, J Howlett, J O’Brien, C Stapleton; T Murphy, C Doyle; J Duggan, C Johnson, D Breen; A Mahony, B Larkin; T O’Neill, R Buckley, P Ryan.
Replacements: R Cleary for D Murphy (1), M Joyce for Mahony (44), R Culliton for Buckley (67).
Referee: G Conway (Leinster Branch).