Leinster Schools Senior Cup Quarter-Final: St Mary’s College V Cistercian College Roscrea – The Irish Examiner – February 21 2018

St Mary’s College edge Roscrea in nine-try thriller

Leinster Senior Schools Cup quarter-final: St Mary’s College 32 Cistercian College Roscrea 29

They played their part in a pulsating encounter at Donnybrook yesterday, but Cistercian College Roscrea’s Leinster Schools Senior Cup campaign ultimately ended in a quarter-final defeat to an impressive St Mary’s College.

Two tries in the space of four minutes by Roscrea duo Michael Milne and Tadhg Bird set-up a grandstand finale, before a brace of Eoin Carey scores ultimately decided the outcome of this nine-try thriller.

Mary’s had opened the scoring through an early Ruairi Shields penalty, but following a protracted move inside the 22, full-back Bird released winger Jay Culleton for an unconverted Roscrea try.

Their lead was shortlived, however, as Mary’s scrum-half Adam McEvoy dived over after 11 minutes via a five-metre attacking scrum. A routine Billy Foley penalty for Roscrea ensured the sides were on level terms (8-8) at the break.

Thanks to converted touchdowns by Tim MacMahon and Gavin O’Brien, Mary’s opened a 14-point gap on the resumption.

Roscrea refused to throw in the towel, though, and the outstanding Milne drove over the Mary’s line on 51 minutes. Bird’s superb solo try on the right wing (supplemented by a Foley conversion) left the tie delicately poised, but Mary’s held their nerve under intense pressure. Carey crossed over in the 59th and 67th minutes, and while Milne claimed his second try in stoppage-time, it served as a mere consolation for Roscrea.

Scorers for St Mary’s College: E Carey 2 tries, A McEvoy, T MacMahon, G O’Brien try each, R Shields pen, 2 cons.

Scorers for Cistercian College Roscrea: M Milne 2 tries, J Culleton, T Bird try each, B Foley pen, 3 cons.

ST MARY’S COLLEGE: R Shields; H Conway, M McEvoy, T MacMahon, E Carey; S Bourke, A McEvoy; S O’Reilly, G O’Brien, C McElearney, I Wickham, S Heeran, O Byrne, H McSweeney, N Hurley.

Replacements: J Nolan for Byrne (42), E Franklin for A McEvoy (69), E Massey for McElearney, J Walsh for Bourke, P Masterson for MacMahon (all 70).

CISTERCIAN COLLEGE ROSCREA: T Bird; J Culleton, C Izuchukwu, D Kilgallon, E Browne; B Foley, L Crowley; J Wycherley, J Cahir, M Milne, L Culleton, D Maher, J Corcoran, G Meagher, N Moylett.

Replacements: R Lomas for Corcoran (h-t), D Tynan for Kilgallon, J Matthews for Crowley (both 53), D Power for Maher (60), J Cronin for Meagher (63), C Bradshaw for Cahir, B Murphy for J Culleton (both 69).

Referee: B Cuttriss (LRR).

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Airtricity League Round-Up Number 1: The Kildare Nationalist – February 20 2018

SOCCER: AIRTRICITY LEAGUE ROUND-UP

Shaw’s Rovers shocked by Bohs while Byrne signs in at Dundalk

By Daire Walsh

THERE were mixed results for the Airtricity League’s Kildare contingent on the opening night of the Premier Division last Friday evening.

With a number of high-profile transfers during the off-season, anticipation was high ahead of the 2018 campaign.

A few days after winning a domestic double with Cork City, Greg Bolger agreed terms with Shamrock Rovers – and he was subsequently joined at the Tallaght Stadium by former Republic of Ireland international Joey O’Brien.

Defending champions Cork strengthened their hand by bringing the likes of Peter Cherrie, Colm Horgan (brother of Daryl) and Graham Cummins into their ranks, while Dundalk have searched for greater depth in a bid to regain their top-flight crown.

Following much speculation, Kill’s Sam Byrne arrived at Oriel Park on a six-month loan deal from Everton, with a view to a potential permanent transfer in July. Byrne – a brother of Leinster winger Adam – had been training with Stephen Kenny’s squad ahead of their league opener against Bray Wanderers and was included on the bench after receiving clearance to play.

The ex-Manchester United youth star will have to bide his time before properly nailing down a place in the Dundalk starting line-up. The Lilywhites’ mixture of experience and youthful exuberance couldn’t break down a stern Bray defence, though, which prompted Byrne’s 81st-minute introduction in place of the highly-rated Jamie McGrath.

Robbie Benson, Dean Jarvis and Kristian Adorjan all had decent opportunities, but netminder Gary Rogers was pressed into action late on to deny Aaron Greene. With this mind, Dundalk may well be content to come away with a sharing of the spoils in a scoreless affair.

It promises to be another fascinating season for Newbridge Town alumni Gary Shaw, who operated in a lone striker role for Rovers’ big derby encounter with Bohemians at Dalymount Park. Shaw played the full 90 minutes in a game that promised so much for the Hoops, who ultimately ended in a 3-1 defeat to their bitter rivals.

The 25-year-old centre-forward played a significant role in the away side’s only goal of the game, which broke the deadlock at the midway point in the opening half.

Shaw got his head to a diagonal free-kick by Bolger, and this was followed an overhead kick from Graham Burke. His extravagant effort bounced off the woodwork, but Ronan Finn was on hand to fire home the rebound on the half-volley.

Indeed, moving past the hour mark, Stephen Bradley’s outfit remained in the ascendancy. Bohs eventually levelled through Dan Casey, though, and he completed the scoring after Paddy Kavanagh had also found the back of Kevin Horgan’s net.

Meanwhile, Athy’s Rory Feely had greater fortune at the RSC, where Waterford United heralded their return to the Premier Division with a 2-1 victory over Derry City. Feely (who is originally from the Munster city) was selected at right-back for the Blues, who recovered from an early deficit to take all three points courtesy of goals from Gavan Holohan and Dean O’Halloran.

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Rugby Column Number 108: The Kildare Nationalist – February 20 2018

RUGBY

Byrne returns as Leinster move to the top of PRO14 table

By Daire Walsh

COURTESY of a 20-13 win against the Welsh outfit at the RDS on Saturday afternoon, Leinster moved to the summit of the Guinness PRO14 Conference B table ahead of Scarlets.

The Blues missed out on a chance to leapfrog last season’s PRO12 winners when they suffered a last-gasp defeat to Edinburgh eight days earlier, but they bounced back to record their 12th success of the current campaign.

Kill’s Adam Byrne made his long-awaited return from injury in the Edinburgh game as a late replacement, and for the first time in over three months, he was selected in Leinster’s starting line-up. The back-three of Byrne, Jordan Larmour (who made his international bow at home to Italy on the previous weekend) and James Lowe offered the hosts a strong attacking outlet, while an early injury set-back thrust the province’s latest debutant into the limelight.

Having sat out Leinster’s defeat to Edinburgh, Skerries native Ciaran Frawley replaced Rory O’Loughlin in midfield with just 13 minutes gone in the Ballsbridge arena. They had already fallen behind to a Johnny McNicholl try by the time of his arrival, before Lowe restored order to the proceedings with a brace of tries in the 18th and 34th minutes.

Neither of these efforts were converted, and thanks to Dan Jones’ earlier two-pointer, Leinster’s interval lead stood at 10-7. Though the foreign player rule has led to some selection complications for Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster, Lowe has made a seismic impact during his short time with the Blues.

His record of five tries from six appearances marks him out as one of the most effective wingers in the league, and he turned provider for Luke McGrath’s try straight after the restart. Leinster were trying to avenge their semi-final defeat to Scarlets in the same venue last May, and a Frawley bonus kick created an even greater distance between the sides.

Yet, the final outcome wasn’t yet placed beyond doubt, especially with Eadestown native Tadhg Beirne produced another eye-catching display for the visitors. Jones’ place-kick split the posts at the end of the third-quarter, setting up a barnstorming conclusion to a compelling contest.

A Frawley three-pointer made certain of Leinster’s latest triumph, but from the final kick of the play, Jones secured a losing bonus point for the Scarlets.

Leinster will be back in action this Friday at home to the Southern Kings, who are still searching for their maiden win in the northern hemisphere. Naas’ Jordan Duggan is expected to feature on the same evening for the Ireland U20s at nearby Donnybrook.

They host Wales in the first of three home international for Irish sides, with the meeting of Joe Schmidt and Warren Gatland’s respective teams at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday topping the bill. Joey Carbery and Fergus McFadden may well be in contention for selection, and a busy weekend will be completed by the Ireland Women’s showdown with their Welsh counterparts at Donnybrook on Sunday afternoon.

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Adult Football League Division Two Round-Up (February 18): Dublingaa.ie – February 20 2018

AFL DIV. 2 ROUNDUP – 18TH FEBRUARY

ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND-UP: FEBRUARY 18

By Daire Walsh

With their sights set on an automatic return to the top-flight, it proved to be a productive weekend for Clontarf and Skerries Harps in the Adult Football League Division Two.

A local derby encounter with Scoil Uí Chonaill was the perfect test of ‘Tarf’s 2018 credentials, and they dug deep to secure a 1-10 to 0-7 win. Scoil – held a two-point advantage (0-4 to 0-2) at the midway stage in this opening round contest.

In the continued absence of inter-county star Jack McCaffrey, ‘Tarf needed someone to step up to the mark on the resumption. When the sides met two years ago in the league, it was a late Kevin Lillis point that ultimately decided a close-run affair.

The former Dublin minor footballer once again led the way for his side in this encounter, as his second half goal propelled Clontarf to a morale-boosting success.

Blunden Drive was the venue for a showdown between O’Toole’s and Skerries, whose relegation play-off defeat to Cuala last October signalled their return to the second-tier.

They hit the ground running against their northside counterparts, though, and eventually claimed an emphatic 2-13 to 0-8 triumph.

Elsewhere, Templeogue Synge Street and St Mary’s, Saggart also made perfect starts to their own league campaigns at the expense of St Patrick’s, Palmerstown and St Anne’s respectively.

Fresh from his excellent performance against Donegal in the Allianz League at Croke Park, Dublin star Niall Scully lined out in the half-back line for Templeogue. However, they still maintained considerable firepower in attack, with Killian O’Gara amassing an outstanding personal tally of 1-6.

Pat’s have enjoyed some compelling battles with TSS in the past, but at the end of their clash in Dolphin Park, the home team had all of 14 points to spare (3-12 to 0-7).

Mary’s also produced a memorable performance on home soil against Anne’s, and their 2-17 to 0-7 success ensures they are just ahead of Templeogue on score difference at the summit of the table.

Raheny are just behind the league’s pace-setters in third place, after they overcame the challenge of newly-promoted Ballyboughal (3-12 to 1-6).

Naomh Mearnóg also emerged from the weekend’s action with flying colours – a 2-13 to 0-16 home win over Fingallians giving them cause to rejoice.

Early goals by Alan Doyle and Niall Murphy offered Mearnog a strong platform in Portmarnock, and with Shane Carthy, Oisin Taylor, Michael Gibbs and Matthew Shortall also finding the target, they led by seven points (2-7 to 0-6) at the break.

A plucky Fingallians kept themselves in contention during an engrossing second half, and brought the gap down to three points on the hour. However, thanks to earlier contributions from Carthy, Taylor and Jamie Storey, MearnUg came out on top.

Meanwhile, Whitehall Colmcille came through a tricky home assignment against Fingal Ravens (0-12 to 0-9) and Na Fianna ‘B’ played out a low-scoring draw with Round Tower Clondalkin at St Mobhi Road (0-8 apiece).

Posted in Gaelic Football | Comments Off on Adult Football League Division Two Round-Up (February 18): Dublingaa.ie – February 20 2018

Adult Football League Division One Round-Up (February 18): Dublingaa.ie – February 20 2018

AFL DIV. 1 ROUNDUP – 18TH FEBRUARY

ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND-UP: FEBRUARY 18

By Daire Walsh

Ballyboden St Enda’s issued a serious statement of intent on Sunday morning at Pairc Ui Murchu, where they recorded an emphatic 3-12 to 0-9 victory over Ballymun Kickhams in the opening round of the new Adult Football League Division One.

Under the guidance of current Meath supremo Andy McEntee, Ballyboden secured the top-flight crown in 2016. They were eager to lay down marker in Anthony Rainbow’s first competitive fixture as manager of the southside club, and they settled immediately with a well-worked point from Ross McGarry.

‘Boden were missing county star Colm Basquel through injury, but his brother Ryan stepped up to the plate in his absence. His 0-2 salvo preceded an excellent effort by marauding wing-back Darren O’Reilly, before Ballymun finally opened their account courtesy of a Dean Rock free.

However, James Madden subsequently registered the opening goal of the game at the end of the first-quarter and Ryan Basquel also found the back of the ‘Mun net.

A purple patch by the visitors produced points from Dean Rock (three) and Paddy Small, but after Declan O’Mahony added his name to the scoresheet, Ballyboden brought a 2-7 to 0-5 lead into the interval.

With Michael Darragh MacAuley introduced for the beginning of the second half, it was expected that the hosts would continue to push forward. Indeed, when former Dublin hurler Simon Lambert raised a green flag on the stroke of 40 minutes, it effectively placed the final outcome beyond doubt.

Rock’s accuracy from placed-balls (he kicked six frees in total) helped ‘Mun to eat into their deficit, only for full-back Cathal Flaherty, Ryan Basquel and Barra McGarry to re-establish ‘Boden’s superiority on the day.

They will be back in action on Sunday week against Kilmacud Crokes, who played out an entertaining draw with St Brigid’s at Russell Park (1-9 apiece). The Glenalbyn men are seeking to defend their league crown in 2018.

However, following unanswered scores by Paddy Andrews, Colly Carr and Lorcan McCarthy, they were four points in front (0-6 to 0-2) after 25 minutes of play. Crokes remained in contention towards the break, in what was Robbie Brennan and Johnny Magee’s first outing as joint-managers.

They received a lifeline in form of a goal at the tail end of the opening half, but there was enough time for McCarthy to edge Brigid’s into a 0-7 to 1-3 interval cushion. With Jack Mullins keeping close tabs on Paul Mannion, Crokes were reliant on the dead-ball prowess of Mark Vaughan when the action resumed.

The former county star gave the visitors a slender advantage, but this was soon wiped out by Philly Ryan’s expertly-converted penalty. Crokes refused to throw in the towel, though, and they ultimately shared the spoils with their Navan Road counterparts.

Kevin McManamon played a starring role for St Jude’s in their 0-17 to 2-5 success over Na Fianna at Tymon North on the same day. Their Mobhi Road opponents opened up an early four-point lead (1-1 to 0-0), but with Ciaran Fitzgerald and Niall O’Shea delivering strong defensive displays, Jude’s soon settled into a familiar rhythm.

Cork’s Niall Coakley, McManamon and Ronan Joyce all found the range, as the home team held a 0-9 to 1-2 advantage at the midway point in the contest. Another scoring burst after the restart breathed fresh life into the Na Fianna challenge, before six points in succession afforded Jude’s some much-needed breathing space – and a pathway to a commanding triumph.

Elsewhere, a Ciaran Kilkenny goal was decisive in Castleknock’s 1-15 to 0-15 win at the expense of Naomh Olaf at Somerton Park. Thomas Davis (0-14) and Ballinteer St John’s (2-8) played out a stalemate at Kiltipper Road, while Lucan Sarsfields had five points to spare (0-11 to 0-6) against Cuala at Hyde Park.

It was also a positive start to the league for St Vincent’s and St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh, who enjoyed respective victories over St Sylvester’s (3-10 to 0-14) and Naomh Maur (2-12 to 1-11).

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Leinster Schools Senior Cup Quarter-Final: St Mary’s College V Cistercian College – The42.ie – February 20 2018

Mary’s survive grandstand finale to see off gallant Roscrea in nine-try thriller

St. Mary’s are into the Leinster Schools Senior Cup semi-finals after a high-octane encounter with the 2015 champions.

St Mary’s College 32

Cistercian College Roscrea 29

Daire Walsh reports from Donnybrook

There was little to separate the sides throughout the course of this engrossing contest at Donnybrook Stadium, but in the end, it was St Mary’s College who booked their place in the Leinster Schools Senior Cup semi-final at the expense of a committed Cistercian College Roscrea.

After Tim MacMahon and Gavin O’Brien crossed early in the second half, Mary’s had placed themselves in pole position for a spot in the last four. Sizeable contributions from Michael Milne and Tadhg Bird got Roscrea back on track – only for a brace of Eoin Carey tries to effectively determine the final outcome of this nine-try thriller.

Five-time champions Mary’s had opened the scoring through an early penalty by Ruairi Shields, but following a protracted move inside the 22, fullback Bird released winger Jay Culleton for an unconverted Roscrea try.

Their lead was a short-lived one, though, as Mary’s scrum-half Adam McEvoy dived over on 11 minutes via a five-metre attacking scrum. Shields’ wayward bonus effort at an awkward angle was a minor let-off for Roscrea – who subsequently moved back on level terms at 8-8 courtesy of a routine Foley penalty.

Both defences started to get on top as the half progressed before Mary’s found the way over the whitewash on 33 minutes.

However, much to the delight of the Roscrea supporters, the pass to the waiting Carey was deemed to have gone forward. Yet Mary’s maintained this attacking momentum upon the resumption, as the excellent MacMahon grabbed a breakaway score at the end of a lung-bursting run on 40 minutes.

A Shields two-pointer followed for the Rathmines school, and he also supplied the extras to hooker Gavin O’Brien’s powerful finish to open up a 14-point gap between the sides. Roscrea, though, refused to throw in the towel, and the decision to switch the outstanding Milne to the back row started to pay dividends.

At the end of another sustained move, Milne (a survivor from Roscrea’s last final appearance against Belvedere two years ago) drove over the Mary’s line in clinical style.

The boys from the Offaly-Tipperary border were gradually rediscovering their confidence and Bird’s superb solo try on the right-wing – supplemented by a Foley bonus strike – set-up a grandstand finale to a pulsating encounter.

Mary’s held their nerve under intense pressure, however, and Carey touched down in the 59th and 67th minutes to finally to kill off the Roscrea challenge.

There was enough time for Milne (try) and Foley to add to their impressive personal tallies – 10 and nine points respectively – but it is St Mary’s who will join Blackrock College and Belvedere College in the penultimate round of the competition.

St Mary’s College scorers

Tries: Eoin Carey (2), Adam McEvoy, Tim MacMahon, Gavin O’Brien

Penalties: Ruairi Shields (1)

Conversions: Ruairi Shields (2)

Cistercian College Roscrea scorers

Tries: Michael Milne (2), Jay Culleton, Tadhg Bird

Penalties: Billy Foley (1)

Conversions: Billy Foley (3)

ST MARY’S COLLEGE: 15. Ruairi Shields; 14. Hugo Conway, 13. Michael McEvoy, 12. Tim MacMahon (23. Peter Masterson 70’), 11. Eoin Carey; 10. Sean Bourke (22. Joe Walsh 70’), 9. Adam McEvoy (21. Eoin Franklin 69’); 1. Sean O’Reilly, 2. Gavin O’Brien, 3. Conor McElearney (17. Elliot Massey 70’), 4. Ian Wickham, 5. Sean Heeran, 6. Oscar Byrne (19. Joe Nolan 42’), 7. Harry McSweeney (captain), 8. Niall Hurley.

CISTERCIAN COLLEGE ROSCREA: 15. Tadhg Bird; 14. Jay Culleton (22. Ben Murphy 69’), 13. Cormac Izuchukwu, 12. Diarmaid Kilgallon (Darragh Tynan 53’), 11. Evan Browne; 10. Billy Foley, 9. Liam Crowley (Jack Matthews 53’); 1. Josh Wycherley, 2. Jerry Cahir (Caoimhghin Bradshaw 69’), 3. Michael Milne (captain), 4. Lucas Culleton, 5. David Maher (19. Daniel Power ’60), 6. James Corcoran (17. Ryan Lomas half-time), 7. Gavin Meagher (20. Joseph Cronin 63’), 8. Neal Moylett.

Referee: Brendan Cuttriss (Leinster)

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Leinster Schools Senior Cup Quarter-Final: Belvedere College V Newbridge College – The Irish Examiner – February 20 2018

Three in-a-row chasing Belvedere College finish off Newbridge in style

Leinster Schools Senior Cup quarter-final

Belvedere College 23

Newbridge College 7

Daire Walsh

Donnybrook

A powerful final-quarter showing helped Belvedere College secure their place in the last-four of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup yesterday.

A stunning Donal Conroy try moved Newbridge into the driving seat at the start of the second half, but the defending champions never looked back after regaining the lead after 50 minutes at Donnybrook.

Belvo are chasing a third consecutive crown at this grade, but had to bide their time before breaking the deadlock.

Neil Howard replaced injured lock Alekseiy Soroka during the first half, and following a period of sustained pressure in stoppage-time, he crossed the Newbridge line to give Belvo a 5-0 interval lead.

Newbridge had produced patches of good rugby in the opening period, though, and Conroy’s converted intercept try raised the possibility of an upset just after the resumption.

Yet, Lacey (a Dublin minor footballer in 2017) settled the Belvo nerves with a routine penalty, and this was quickly followed by James Gleeson’s clinical finish for a try on 55 minutes.

Newbridge were still in contention, but another successful Lacey place-kick increased the gap.

A superb Matthew Grogan try placed the outcome beyond doubt, as Belvedere College marched on to the penultimate stage.

Scorers for Belvedere College: N Howard, J Gleeson, M Grogan try each, D Lacey 2 pens, 1 con.

Scorers for Newbridge College: D Conroy try, L Maloney con.

BELVEDERE COLLEGE: D Lacey; A O’Grady, M Grogan, C Mulvaney, A Loughrey; J Leonard, T Walsh; J Gleeson, L Harmon, C Cagney, A Soroka, J Murphy, G Hill, A Coleman, R Byron.

Replacements: N Howard for Soroka (27), P Lysaght for Walsh, J Meagher for Leonard (both 49), J Bell for Gleeson, M Gallinski for Cagney, C Scott for Murphy (all 56), A Synnott for Harmon, G O’Brien for Grogan (both 68).

NEWBRIDGE COLLEGE: D Conroy; C Creedon, K Fitzgerald, E Conroy, D O’Connor; L Maloney, J Doyle; T Grant, L Kelly, L Rigney, D Morrissey, C Prendergast, O Halpin, H O’Neill, M Cleary.

Replacements: R Scully for Rigney (39), M Moynihan for Halpin (45), C McGroary for O’Neill (49), T Sheedy for E Conroy (56), D Caulfield for O’Connor, G McNelis for Kelly (both 61), S Cahill for Creedon (66), R Finan for Doyle (70).

Referee: G Conway (LRR).

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Shane Williams Q & A Piece: The Irish Examiner – February 20 2018

Williams: Ireland don’t have many faults but Gatland finds a way

With 58 tries from 87 test appearances for Wales, Shane Williams has an unquestionable reputation as one of rugby union’s most lethal finishers.

As well as featuring on three British & Irish Lions tours, the Swansea native also collected two Grand Slams during a glittering international career.

Williams was in Dublin yesterday ahead of his home country’s Six Nations clash with Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. He sees optimism among his compatriots but fears Ireland may prove too strong.

Who would you put your money on for Saturday’s game?

A: At the moment, I think Ireland have had to work the hardest in the Six Nations. It was a hell of a comeback against France, and to go through 40-odd phases and do that really sums up [Jonathan] Sexton and Ireland for me. They’re just confident. They believe they can do it, and I think it’ll take a hell of a team to beat them in Dublin at the moment.

Unfortunately, I think it will just be a little bit too much for Wales. I hope I’m wrong, and I have been wrong a number of times before. But for me, I think Ireland have probably played the best rugby in this Championship so far.

What is the mood in the Welsh camp following the 12-6 loss to England?

A: There is a lot of optimism in Wales, which is a strange thing when Wales lose. It is normally doom and gloom in the country after Wales loses. But we have to be optimistic. We have played some good rugby in this Championship, put Scotland to the sword when everybody had Scotland as favourites. Went up to Twickenham really confident, but while they didn’t play their best rugby and they narrowly lost that game, we all know the drama that went with it and Warren believed they should have won that game.

Does Warren Gatland have Ireland’s number considering his past successes against them?

A: He has done really well over the last few years, because he is a good coach. He studies teams. picks their faults and areas in which they can be attacked – and sometimes it works. Tactically Ireland are a very good side. They don’t have many faults or many chinks in the armour there I suppose, but he sometimes seems to find a way there. He will probably be quietly thinking he has the same this week.

There is already talk about Ireland’s final round game against England being a Grand Slam decider. Is it dangerous to be looking that far ahead?

A: Wales will be hoping that Ireland are doing that, focusing on the England game and then they can come in under the radar and spoil the party. But, you look at that Irish team. Joe Schmidt is a very shrewd character. He probably won’t even mention England to the lads. the likes of Sexton and [Rory] Best, all the experience they have. I am sure all focus is on beating Wales on the weekend and worry about England when it comes.

You have spoken highly of Munster and Ireland winger Keith Earls. Do you think he is getting better with age?

A: He will and I think he has. I think he’s been playing exceptionally well in this Six Nations. Like I say, he’s been around a long time and you almost forget about Keith Earls with the wingers that Ireland have had. But he’s the one that always seems to get selected. We forget how many tries he scores, but his work-rate is phenomenal.

Having played against him, a real pain in the backside to keep your eye on, which for me says he is a very good winger. I played my best rugby 30 years plus. He’ll be more experienced and he’ll get quicker. He’s obviously got a great skillset and he’s playing in a good Irish side as well, which always helps.

What have you made of the Munster-bound Tadhg Beirne during his time in Wales with the Scarlets?

A: He’s a great player. He’s probably been the player of the last season for the Scarlets. They’ll be really gutted that he’s coming back over the water. He’s a little bit different, isn’t he? He’s a good second row, he scrummages well, he gets round the field and has some great handling skills. I think the way the Scarlets have played has brought out the best in him, probably.

Perhaps a lot of people were saying he should have had the opportunity for Ireland, but I think his time will come. He’s a little bit different to a lot of the second rows out there at the moment.

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Leinster Schools Senior Cup Quarter-Final: Blackrock College V St Gerard’s College – The Irish Examiner – February 19 2018

Late Madigan drop-goal sees Blackrock break Bray hearts

Leinster Schools Senior Cup quarter-final

Blackrock College 19

St Gerard’s College 17

Daire Walsh

Donnybrook

Stephen Madigan came to the rescue for Blackrock College at Donnybrook Stadium yesterday. His superb 62nd-minute drop-goal helped the south Dublin outfit to overcome the stubborn challenge of St Gerard’s College, Bray in the quarter-final of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup.

The 68-times champions were staring defeat in the face when they trailed their counterparts by 11 points (14-3) at the break. However, with James Tarrant and Madigan leading their charge, they eventually advanced to the last four of the competition.

Gerard’s deservedly took the lead in the 15th-minute. After he picked up possession five metres from the Blackrock line, outside centre Oliver Haydock grounded the ball against the padding for a deadlock-breaking score – which he also converted.

It was expected that this would be a wake-up call for ‘Rock, but they instead fell further behind just shy of the half-hour mark.

After catching his own chipped kick close to the opposition posts, Cormac Foley touched down beyond the whitewash in spectacular style. Their was enough time for their opponents to open their account through a Tarrant penalty at the tail end of the half, and the reliable out-half added a brace of successful place-kicks just after the resumption.

Gerard’s subsequently lost full-back Max O’Reilly to the sin-bin, but in his absence, Haydock’s coolly-converted penalty settled them back into the proceedings. ‘Rock received a new lease of life at the beginning of the final-quarter, when Madigan dotted down in the left corner, and his outstanding touchline conversion set up a grandstand finale.

With the clock moving beyond 60 minutes, ‘Rock established territory deep inside the Gerard’s half. This allowed Madigan to move back into the pocket, and he split the posts from outside the ’22’ to edge his side in front for the very first time.

This was a cruel blow for a Gerard’s team that secured the Leinster Senior League crown. But at the end of a compelling battle, it was Blackrock who prevailed.

Scorers for Blackrock College: S Madigan try, con, d/goal, J Tarrant 3 pens.

Scorers for St Gerard’s College: O Haydock try, 2 cons, pen, C Foley try.

BLACKROCK COLLEGE: S Madigan; R Madigan, L Turner, T Maher, H Donnelly; J Tarrant, R Barron; H O’Malley, S Molony, T Clarkson, S O’Brien, J Stapleton, J Dixon, J Loscher, M McGagh.

Replacements: G Jones for R Madigan (16-23), C Duffy for O’Malley, L O’Reilly for Barron (both 43).

ST GERARD’S COLLEGE: M O’Reilly; M Freeley, O Haydock, C Foley, P Opperman; D O’Brien, J O Caoimh; D Carroll, R Byrne, A O’Reilly, D Ahern, D McGovern, C Byrne, E Baxter, R Wilson.

Replacements: T Cahill-Hannigan for Baxter (61), B Watson for O’Brien (63), Baxter for Ahern (68), Ahern for Wilson (69).

Referee: B MacNiece (LRR).

Posted in Schools Rugby | Comments Off on Leinster Schools Senior Cup Quarter-Final: Blackrock College V St Gerard’s College – The Irish Examiner – February 19 2018

Leinster Schools Senior Cup Quarter-Final: Blackrock College V St Gerard’s College, Bray – The42.ie – February 18 2018

Blackrock College avoid quarter-final upset thanks to late drop-goal

St Gerard’s of Bray were on the verge of a major shock but ultimately missed out on a semi-final spot.

Blackrock College 19
St Gerard’s School 17

A MAJOR SHOCK was on the cards for the majority of this absorbing encounter at Donnybrook Stadium, but following a superb 62nd-minute drop-goal by Stephen Madigan, Blackrock College edged past St Gerard’s School, Bray in the quarter-final of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup.

The 68-time champions were staring defeat in the face when they trailed 14-3 at the break, after Oliver Haydock and Cormac Foley had both crossed over for Gerard’s. The north Wicklow boys remained in the ascendancy at the beginning of the final-quarter, before Stephen Madigan’s try offered Blackrock a new lease of life.

They gradually increased the pressure on Gerard’s as the final whistle approached, and Madigan’s timely intervention ensured that they ultimately booked their place in the last-four.

Gerard’s were viewed as rank outsiders heading into for this encounter. However, with Leinster underage star Ethan Baxter and hooker Robert Byrne driving forward at will, they deservedly took the lead in the 15th-minute.

After he picked up possession five metres from the Blackrock line, outside centre Haydock grounded the ball against the padding for a deadlock-breaking score — which he also converted.

It was expected that this would be a wake-up call for ‘Rock — whose most recent Senior Cup success was back in 2014 — but they instead fell further behind just shy of the half-hour mark.

After catching his own chipped kick close to the ‘Rock posts, Foley touched down beyond the whitewash in spectacular style. Another bonus strike by his midfield partner stretched the Gerard’s advantage to all 14 points — although their opponents finally opened their account through a Tarrant penalty at the tail end of the half.

A reinvigorated ‘Rock cut the gap to five points just after the resumption with a brace of successful place-kicks by the reliable Tarrant, and subsequently gained a temporary numerical advantage when Gerard’s full-back Max O’Reilly was sent to the sin-bin.

Gerard’s responded well in his absence, though, and Haydock’s coolly-converted penalty on 45 minutes helped them to settle back into the proceedings. By the time of O’Reilly’s return, ‘Rock were still searching for a way through a stubborn opposition defence.

Their persistence eventually paid off in the form of a Madigan try in the left-corner, following excellent approach work from Tarrant and replacement scrum-half Louis O’Reilly. Mafigan’s outstanding touchline conversion cut the gap to the bare minimum (17-16), setting the game up for a grandstand finale in the process.

With the clock moving beyond 60 minutes, ‘Rock established territory deep inside the Gerard’s half. This allowed Madigan to move back into pocket, and he split the posts from outside the ’22’ to edge his side in front for the very first time.

This was a cruel blow for a Gerard’s team that secured the Leinster Senior League crown back in December, but at the end of a compelling battle, it was Blackrock who prevailed.

Blackrock College scorers
Tries: Stephen Madigan
Penalties: James Tarrant [3 from 3]
Conversions: James Tarrant [1 from 1]
Drop-goal: James Tarrant [1 from 1]
St Gerard’s College scorers
Tries: Oliver Haydock, Cormac Foley
Penalties: Oliver Haydock [1 from 1]
Conversions: Oliver Haydock [2 from 2]

BLACKROCK COLLEGE: 15. Stephen Madigan; 14. Rory Madigan (22. Gavin Jones 16’-23’), 13. Liam Turner (captain), 12. Tom Maher, 11. Harry Donnelly; 10. James Tarrant, 9. Ross Barron; 1. Hugo O’Malley (17. Cian Duffy 43’), 2. Sean Molony, 3. Thomas Clarkson, 4. Sean O’Brien, 5. Jack Stapleton, 6. Josh Dixon, 7. Jack Loscher, 8. Michael McGagh.

ST GERARD’S COLLEGE: 15. Max O’Reilly; 14. Morgan Freeley, 13. Oliver Haydock, 12. Cormac Foley, 11. Paddy Opperman; 10. David O’Brien (22. Ben Watson 63’), 9. Jack O Caoimh; 1. David Carroll, 2. Robert Byrne, 3. Adam O’Reilly, 4. Donal Ahern (7. Ethan Baxter 68’), 5. Daniel McGovern, 6. Charles Byrne, 7. Ethan Baxter (captain) (20. Thomas Cahill-Hannigan 61’), 8. Rory Wilson (4. Donal Ahern 69’).

Referee: Brian MacNiece (Leinster Rugby Referees).

About the author:

Daire Walsh 
Posted in Schools Rugby | Comments Off on Leinster Schools Senior Cup Quarter-Final: Blackrock College V St Gerard’s College, Bray – The42.ie – February 18 2018