THE challenge posed by a fancied St Gerard's School proved a bridge too far for Skerries Community College as they bowed out of the Vinnie Murray Cup at Suttonians RFC last Thursday.
Aidan Sherlock's charges put it up to the lads from Bray but could have no complaints about the eventual outcome as St Gerard's ran in four tries and Skerries failed to cross the opposition's whitewash. Conditions weren't favourable for open running rugby, with rain accompanied by strong winds, but in the circumstances both sides produced a thrilling encounter and it was only in the final 10 minutes that St Gerard's put this second-round tie to bed. Skerries went into the game on the back of an impressive victory over Wexford opposition the previous week, made a disastrous start when they gifted the Wicklow side's winger Sam Kingston an intercept try and conversion inside five minutes. However, to their credit, they recovered and three successful penalty kicks from out half Billy Mulcahy on 15, 27 and 32 minutes turned a 7-0 deficit into a 9-7 lead for Skerries, with an upset suddenly on the cards. All that good work was undone, however, when St Gerard's were presented with another intercept score in the first minute of the second half - that one scored by Tommy Whittle - and now they led 14-9. Once more Skerries responded and they spent long spells pegging the opposition back deep in their own half, but St Gerard's defended superbly to keep their line intact. Two sucker punches were then delivered by the Wicklow school in the final 10 minutes as they touched down twice more through Calvin Jordan and Kingston to copper-fasten their place in the third round. Skerries can take plenty of positives from this year's Vinnie Murray Cup, however, with the front row of Cormac Marrey, David Monahan and Ciaran McNally particularly impressive in this game, together with back-row trio Dean Harford, Peter O'Neill and captain Evan Sherlock. The key will be to learn from this experience and come back stronger next year.
Cian Ronayne (Juvan Maritz); Ross Gordon (Ian Tolan), Darach Ronayne, Conor Oliver, Peter Lacey (Colin McMahon); Billy Mulcahy, Robbie Jenkinson; Cormac Marrey, David Monahan, Ciaran McNally (Neil Martin); Sean Attley (Diarmaid Sheridan), Liam Quinn Hegarty; Peter O'Neill, Dean Harford, Evan Sherlock.