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Barry settles helter-skelter clash as Gonzaga beat Castleknock

Gonzaga and Castleknock shared six tries in an entertaining back-and-forth tussle.

Gonzaga 26

Castleknock College 24

Sean Farrell reports from Castle Avenue

NUMBER EIGHT JACK Barry put in a captain’s performance as he led Gonzaga’s effort and scored two tries to edge a first-round Leinster Schools Senior Cup encounter with Castleknock.

Barry grounded the crucial late try which ultimately settled a frenetic affair, and his relentless work-rate ensured his presence was felt all over the park throughout a sun-kissed afternoon in Clontarf.

The Ranelagh school were run close in the end by a Castleknock side with a nose for the try-line. Fionn Gibbons ran in a terrific first-half score and his side led again in the second half through the boot of Adam Malone.

Castleknock players celebrate with the supporters FILE PHOTO: Castleknock players with supporters after last year's Junior Cup semi-final. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

It was the kicking accuracy of ‘Zaga scrum-half Jack Connolly which proved most telling however. He ensured the southsiders had a six-point lead to show for early territorial dominance.

Castleknock struggled to find an exit when Harry Colbert kicked their way until an electric 10th minute break from Ben Culliton on the right flank, the wing smartly cut his pass back inside for Gibbons to meet on the run and the centre was too strong to succumb to the final challenge.

Gonzaga’s running threats in Colbert and Karl Morgan enjoyed the 4G surface in Castle Avenue, and a breakaway midway through the first half forced a sin-bin for David Siupko before Connolly nudged his side back into the lead.

The margin looked even better for ‘Zaga by the half-time break as a powerful Henry Godson carry laid the groundwork for Barry to touch down his first bring the scoreboard to 16-7 as the teams gathered for the interval.

Gonzaga fans sing to their players after the game FILE PHOTO: Gonzaga players during the 2017 Senior Cup. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

The northside school broke out their biggest gun in an attempt to close the gap, and replacement tighthead Ben Griffin made a telling impact, delivering a constant source of gainlines, including a crucial carry 10 minutes into the second period to set up Paul McMenamin’s first score.

Having appeared in complete control, ‘Zaga saw Conor Hennessy go to the bin as they fell 16-17 down thanks to Colbert’s excellent strikes off the tee. However, they tenaciously set about halting the momentum and the pack’s effort were rewarded when Colbert and Morgan looked for a quick route wide and Fergus O’hOisin raced onto a grounded pass on his way over the line.

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On their next visit to the left corner, Gonzaga’s pack kept the ball in-house and Barry dotted down his second to make the gap 26-17.

Coming back once again would have been a tall order for Castleknock, they made a decent fist of it and the late score put a deserved narrow margin on the final scoreboard.

Scorers

Castleknock College:
Tries: F Gibbons, P McMenamin (2)
Conversions: Adam Malone (2/2), Louis McDonough (1/1)
Penalties: Adam Malone (1/2)

Gonzaga:

Tries: J Barry (2), F O’hOisin
Conversions: Jack Connolly (1/3)
Penalties: Jack Connolly (3/3)

Castleknock College: Ian Bermingham, Ben Culliton (Adam Doherty ’14), Fionn Gibbons, Conor Dunne, Jack Roche, Adam Malone (James Wallace ’70), Louis McDonough: Stephen Callinan, Evan Chester, Kieran McMenamin (Ben Griffin ’35), Matthew Ryan, David SLupko, Ciaran McCarrick, Paul McMenamin, Luke Callinan (Fergus Slattery ’70).

Gonzaga: Conor Hennessy, Fergus O’hOisin, Frank O’Grady, Karl Morgan, Brian Barron, Harry Colbert, Jack Connolly: Henry Godson, Hugo Fitzgerald, Ronan Shaw, Liam Tyrell, Jack Coolican, Arthur Henry (Colm Kirby O’Briain ’45), Tom Cullen (Oscar Rogers ’70), Jack Barry.

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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