College boys squeezed out
Newbridge go under to Gerard’s in Junior final
LEINSTER SCHOOLS JUNIOR LEAGUE FINAL
NEWBRIDGE COLLEGE……………………………. 16
ST GERARD’S BRAY…………………………………. 21
By Daire Walsh
Number 8 Patrick Ryan crossed the whitewash in stoppage time at the end of the second period, but it proved to be a case of too little, too late for Newbridge College in Templeville Road last Wednesday afternoon, as a strong final-quarter showing ensured that St Gerard’s, Bray emerged victorious in a riveting Leinster Schools Junior League decider.
Winger Johnny Deane almost broke through for an opening try three minutes in following excellent work by out-half Tom Connolly and centre Kevin Kyne.
His considerable threat was snuffed out in this instance, but the Gerard’s rearguard were powerless to stop him just two minutes later when an enterprising run from deep led to the opening score of the tie. Deane evaded a series of Gerard’s tackles on the touchline, and eventually touched down to the right of the posts.
Gerard’s were starting to play with more cohesion moving into the second-quarter, but Newbridge increased their advantage as Connolly converted a 22m penalty. It was all going rather smoothly for Newbridge as the interval approached.
In the 29th minute, Marc Baker opted to kick for touch rather than aim for the posts, and it turned out to be a wise decision as hooker Christopher Finnegan drove over in the right corner. Newbridge’s cushion had been reduced to three points (8-5) as the action resumed.
Gerard’s did restore parity when Baker found his range off a place-kick from a distance of 30 metres.
Newbridge regained the lead when Connolly split the posts from a three-point opportunity.
Gerard’s quickly re-asserted themselves thanks to a routine Baker penalty on the 50-minute mark and two minutes after Gerard’s developed a fine move that ended with flanker Stephen Bourke squeezing through on the left-wing for his team’s second unconverted try of the outing.
As the final minutes ticked by, Gerard’s strike again, this time through second-row Tom Dempsey, who found space to power over.
Once more Baker couldn’t add the bonuses to this try, but despite getting in for another five-pointer courtesy of Ryan three minutes into time added on, Newbridge ultimately came off second best in this Junior decider.
NEWBRIDGE COLLEGE: Ben Caulfield; Johnny Deane, Kevin Kyne, Daithi Murphy, Cian Murphy; Tom Connolly, Daragh Ryan; Thomas Grant, Rob Wynne, Dylan Morrissey; Luke Heffernan, Ewan Morrin; Patrick O’Brien, Ben Howlett, Patrick Ryan.
Replacements: Conor Timmons for Howlett (47), Luke Morris for Caulfield (47), Niall Stapleton for Wynne (62).
ST GERARD’S BRAY: Max Geoghegan; Andrew Kingston, Ben Geoghegan, Cian O’Flaherty, Jack Dunne; Marc Baker, Cormac Foley; Caleb Powell, Christopher Finnegan, Callum McGloughlin; Tom Dempsey, Tadgh Morrisroe; Stephen Bourke, Sam Kenny, Daniel Power.
Replacement: Jamie O’Sullivan for M Geoghegan (41), Liam Noonan for Powell (57).
Referee: Helen O’Reilly (Leinster Rugby Referees).