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CC Roscrea hold on to advance to the Leinster Schools Senior Cup final

Agony for Newbridge College after a superb replay at Donnybrook.

Mattie Keane races in for CC Roscrea's opening try.
Mattie Keane races in for CC Roscrea's opening try.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Cistercian College Roscrea 20

Newbridge College 19

Paul Dollery reports from Donnybrook

CISTERCIAN COLLEGE ROSCREA will play Belvedere College in the final of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup on 17 March.

After a thrilling game of rugby in this afternoon’s semi-final replay at Donnybrook, the Offaly/Tipperary school were victorious against Newbridge College by the narrowest of margins.

Scores were hard to come by in their drawn game last week, but it was a very different story in today’s first-half, which saw five tries during a highly entertaining 35 minutes of action.

Newbridge, who lost wing David Murphy to injury in the second minute, coughed up a penalty with seven minutes played, which captain Tim Foley slotted over for a 3-0 lead to Roscrea.

But the opening try went Newbridge’s way just three minutes later. The Kildare side carved open the Roscrea defence, Robert Buckley offloaded to Conor Johnson and he touched down for the score, but Colm Doyle was unable to add the extras.

Roscrea dominated territory in the first-half and they regained the lead in the 19th minute with their first of three tries in an impressive 10-minute spell.

Mattie Keane and Simon Meagher exchanged passes, before Keane got in for the try which was converted by Tim Foley to give Roscrea a 10-5 lead.

Their second try came four minutes later. Dan Trayers rose to gather the ball at the back of a lineout just inside the Newbridge 22. Roscrea got their maul going and Trayers finished off the move himself. Facing into a swirling wind, Foley failed with the conversion attempt.

Fineen Wycherley tackled by Brian Larkin and Robert Buckley Roscrea's Fineen Wycherley is tackled by Brian Larkin and Robert Buckley of Newbridge. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Roscrea went into a 20-5 lead in the 28th minute when Alan Tynan released Daniel Keane to score their third try, but another tricky conversion was too much of an ask for Foley. Nevertheless, Roscrea were now in pole position with a 15-point advantage with seven minutes to go until the break.

However, a spirited Newbridge side were still very much alive. Captain Jimmy O’Brien got in for a try in the 31st minute after Jake Howlett just came up short. O’Brien converted himself — the ball bouncing over off the top of the crossbar — to leave eight between the teams at the interval.

Newbridge were undoubtedly the dominant side after the restart but struggled to make it count on the scoreboard. They appeared to be in for a try in the 54th minute when Tom O’Neill put Ruairí Cleary in at the corner, before being penalised for a forward pass.

But the try finally came with nine minutes remaining. Having been knocking at the door for much of the second-half, Jake Howlett eventually unlocked the Roscrea defence to get in under the posts, with O’Brien adding the conversion to leave just a point between the teams.

It made for an incredibly tense finale, but a disciplined Roscrea team held their nerve to book a meeting with Belvedere College in the final on St Patrick’s Day.

Jake Howlett and Colm Doyle dejected Dejected Newbridge players Jake Howlett and Colm Doyle at full-time. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

CC ROSCREA SCORERS…

Tries: Mattie Keane, Dan Trayers, Daniel Keane.

Conversions: Tim Foley (1 from 3)

Penalties: Tim Foley (1 from 1)

NEWBRIDGE COLLEGE SCORERS…

Tries: Conor Johnson, Jimmy O’Brien, Jake Howlett

Conversions: Colm Doyle (0 from 1), Jimmy O’Brien (2 from 2)

NEWBRIDGE COLLEGE: Mark Delaney; David Murphy (Ruairí Cleary, 2), Jake Howlett, Jimmy O’Brien (c), Colm Stapleton; Tim Murphy, Colm Doyle; Jordan Duggan, Conor Johnson, David Breen; Austin Mahony (Mike Joyce, 50), Brian Larkin; Tom O’Neill, Robert Buckley (Robert Culliton, 67), Patrick Ryan. Replacements not used: William Jennings, Oisin Larkin, Patrick Morrin, Dylan Walker, David Culliton.CC ROSCREA: Tim Carroll; Daniel Keane, Rob Wharton (Sean Kilgallen, 65), Tim Foley (c), Joe Murphy (Philip O’Shea, 69); Alan Tynan, Keith Kavanagh; Liam Walsh, Eoghan Maher, Dylan Murphy; Fineen Wycherley, Aaron Browne (Kyle Cahir, HT); Simon Meagher (Peter Gavin 63), Mattie Keane (Brian Diffley, 55), Dan Trayers. Replacements not used: Paddy McKeon, Michael Jordan, John Teahan Bourke.

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Paul Dollery

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