POST-MATCH REACTION: NEWBRIDGE COLLEGE COACH DAVE BREW
Former stars inspiring current generation
By Daire Walsh
FOLLOWING the heroics of the senior squad in their semi-final seven days earlier, Newbridge College coach Dave Brew was delighted to see his side sealing the deal in the Leinster Schools Junior Cup last Tuesday.
Thanks to a stoppage-time try from Tadhg Brophy, ‘Bridge advanced to a March 22 showpiece against Blackrock College with a dramatic 24-19 victory over Terenure College at Energia Park in Donnybrook.
“To get to the final is a huge achievement. With the seniors going the way they’re going, it’s lovely to follow them into the final and see how we get on now. One more step. The school is an incredible place to be at the moment,” Brew remarked after the game.
Having made a dream start to the action with a Harry Farrell converted try in the fourth-minute, Newbridge were subsequently pegged back by their determined south Dublin opponents. With Eamon Geraghty and Yousif Ajina both crossing over, Terenure brought a 12-7 cushion into the interval.
Brew felt the Metropolitans negotiated the elements to good effect in the opening half-hour and generally posed a greater threat than St Michael’s College – whom Newbridge had defeated at the quarter-final stage.
“There was a big breeze blowing at our backs in the first half. We tended to hold onto the ball a little much. I’ve talked about us holding onto the ball, but on the day you play the conditions. For me, we kind of made it hard on ourselves. We should have kicked the ball into the other half and worry about it then.
“Terenure are a super side, I thought they were a much stiffer challenge than Michael’s. They brought a huge physicality to the game today. The day probably suited them with the breeze, the way it was.”
While it wasn’t all going according to plan for Newbridge, they remained calm and composed for the start of the second period. After issuing some final instructions to his troops, Brew was thrilled to see the Common outfit getting back on track with quickfire Farrell and Brophy tries.
“We hung in there. I thought we were clinical then when we did get an opportunity to go wide. I think you saw what we have to offer. The last message before they went out for the second half was ‘the score is 0-0. Go and win a half of rugby’. That was it.”
Newbridge have already begun preparations for what will be their first junior final appearance since 2012. On that occasion, they lost out narrowly (10-5) to a St Michael’s side that included current internationals James Ryan, Max Deegan and Ronan Kelleher.
Leinster’s Jimmy O’Brien featured at out-half for ‘Bridge eight years ago, while former Ireland great Jamie Heaslip was a prominent figure for their previous decider in 1998. Though the present crop are understandably in awe of this duo, Brew is always quick to remind them they were once in the position they currently find themselves in.
“We speak an awful lot about that. They see Jimmy O’Brien and they see Jamie Heaslip, these kind of guys. I remember having a conversation with them on our pitch about ‘you know, Jamie Heaslip was just a third year in the school and just a schoolboy when he was playing Junior Cup rugby’.
“When you’re playing these games, be very cognisant that future internationals are playing these matches. This is the top level of rugby that you can get. At their age, they are the future,” Brew added.