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Blue magic as St Mary's edge seven-try thriller with St Andrew's

Jordan Larmour’s presence on the St Andrew’s sideline couldn’t tip the balance their way as the Rathmines school powered to victory.

File photo: Ruair Shields on senior cup duty last year.
File photo: Ruair Shields on senior cup duty last year.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

St Mary’s College: 29

St Andrew’s College: 18

Sean Farrell reports from Donnybrook

ST MARY’S BOOKED their place in the Leinster Schools Senior Cup second round draw with an impressive display of attacking talent that forced five tries against St Andrew’s.

Andrew’s more than held up their end of their bargain in a thrilling contest that had them well within touching distance until the death thanks in no small part to superb goal-kicking from out-half Aaron O’Neill.

During a frenzied opening where both teams beared their teeth, the Rathmines school were first to trust their pack to turn the screw with the maul. The power looked set to yield results,  but the foot rose off the pedal too soon and Andrew’s defence was able to force a turnover penalty from the back-line move.

From that base, Andrew’s opened the scoring, scrum-half Daniel James ghosted around the blindside of a midfield ruck and chipped ahead down the touchline. Prop Jack O’Brien, already sporting a claret-tinged bandage from an early bloody nose, powered over in the right corner to make the pressure count.

Within three minutes though, Mary’s were humming again. Scrum-half Adam McEvoy broke down the right flank and managed to pop the ball back for Hugo Conway to run in the levelling try.

Fullback Ruairi Shields converted to give his side the lead and he was soon lining up a second conversion after lovely hands from hooker Gavin O’Brien set wing Eoin Carey away to finish a fantastic 23rd minute move.

O’Neill, ably assisted by kicking tee delivery boy Jordan Larmour, kept the Booterstown men in touch with a superb angled 35 metre penalty. But the deficit grew again before the interval as Mary’s ran a clever trick play that allowed Shields jink, change direction in an instant and superbly and power to the try-line. The only flaw, the converting kick which he cracked off the post.

With the score reading 17 – 8 entering the second half, Sean Bourke initially settled in to a confident rhythm, managing Mary’s game with smart passes and timely kicks in behind. Unfortunately for him, one pass went badly astray and laid the platform for Andrew’s to push their way back in the game. Thanks to terrific work from the excellent Stephen Keane and Maqhawe Siqcau, James was able to dummy and sneak in for his side’s second try.

That was Keane’s final involvement at full capacity though. The big eight attempted to carry a lame ankle through the aftermath of the score, but departed with his team under the posts after Ian Wickham stormed in for a fourth Mary’s try to make the gap seven points again.

Yet still Andrew’s showed no sign of waning resolve, O’Neill smashed over a terrific penalty to make it a four-point game and, with 15 minutes to play, fullback Reece Jordan brought the ground to its feet with a dazzling run from his own half and out of contact that Larmour, from his vantage point on the sideline, would have been proud of.

The solid blue line of Mary’s – often easily confused with the chequered blue and white jersey of Andrew’s – held firm in that defensive set, and as bodies cramped up approaching the end up an absorbing high-tempo contest, it was the D6 school who had the territory and pack to close it out with one last score from Gavin O’Brien.

Scorers

St Mary’s College:

Tries: H Conway, E Carey, R Shields, I Wickham, G O’Brien

Conversions: S Shields (2/5)

Penalties: R Shields (0/1)

St Andrew’s College:

Tries: J O’Brien, D James

Conversions: A O’Neill (1/2)

Penalties: A O’Neill (2/2)

St Mary’s College: Ruairi Shields, Hugo Conway, Ben McDonnell, Timothy MacMahon, Eoin Carey, Sean Bourke, Adam McEvoy (Eoin Franklin ’52): Sean O’Reilly, Gavin O’Brien, Conor McElearney; Sean Heeran, Ian Wickham, Joe Nolan (Oscar Byrne ’52), Harry McSweeney (Capt.) Niall Hurley (Jack Grant ’60).

Replacement not used: Craig Walsh, Elliot Massey, Eoin Byrne, Peter Masterson, MIchael McEvoy.

St Andrew’s College: Reece Jordan, Nathan Murphy, Zane McClatchie-Ombina, Patrick Perrem, Luke Hoade (Alexander Wallace ’69), Aaron O’Neill, Daniel James:  James Boag, Maqhawe Siqcau, Jack O’Brien (John Hewson ’55) , Ben Crowley, Andrew Sullivan (Capt.); Sam Gleeson, Rory Simington, Stephen Keane (Charlie Turner ’48).

Replacements not used: Matthew Jordan, Joshua Kuh Hogan, Robert Halpenny,  Harry Kirk, Nicholas Owens

Referee: Cillian Hogan

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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