Kelly gets the ball rolling as St Michael's ease past Pres
St Michael's 42
Pres Bray 7
They may have been slow out of the blocks against Roscrea in the opening round, but St Michael's cruised through to a semi-final showdown with Kilkenny on the back of an emphatic six-try victory over a hard-working, but limited Presentation Bray side at Donnybrook yesterday.
The losers started well and could have been in front after just two minutes when full-back Diarmuid Masterson shaved the upright from a penalty attempt. From there, despite some good work out of touch from Gerry Peakin and powerful energy at the base of the scrum from John Traynor, it was St Michael's who slowly but surely took control.
Pres' early defensive work was impressive, but, as it narrowed, St Michael's began to hit the wider channels through some long and accurate passing. Centre Rory Kavanagh and scrum-half Nick McCarthy came close to breaking the deadlock before hooker Gavin Kelly eventually did.
Invariably, skipper Dan Leavy was at the heart of it when linking with fellow flanker Josh Murphy and McCarthy, only for the latter to be held up just short -- but Kelly reacted quickest to cross for the try. Ross Byrne converted and St Michael's were on their way.
That came in the 23rd minute, and within another three they had doubled their advantage. Leavy, Andy Coleman and Donogh Lawlor were the central figures as the explosive No 8 ran in for the touchdown. Byrne again converted for a 14-0 half-time lead.
It took just six minutes of the second half to end the game as a contest when first Kavanagh, with another powerful surge, and then impressive tight-head Jamie Lawless did the approach work for Byrne, Bobby Hyland and Chris Fagan to combine as the right-wing ran in unopposed.
Byrne struck again with unerring accuracy and added three more conversions for a six-from-six return to further second-half tries by Lawless and replacement prop Denis Coulson (two).
Pres never let the heads drop and in the 51st minute they got the reward they deserved when Jack Keating took advantage of some loose turnover ball and, showing an impressive turn of pace, scorched in from fully 50 metres. Masterson added the extras, but, with Coulson and Lawless in try-scoring mode, it was St Michael's in cruise control to the final whistle.
St Michael's -- C Diamond (B McDermott 57); C Fagan, R Kavanagh (M O'Keeffe 57), B Holland, A Leavy; R Byrne, N McCarthy (L Martin 57); A Barr (D Coulson 43), G Kelly (H Murray 56), J Lawless (A Barr 65); R Molony, A Coleman (S Harold 47); J Murphy, D Leavy (capt) (A Penny 47), D Lawlor.
Pres Bray -- D Masterson; J Keating, A Conway, J Curran, D Cassidy; P Haughton, J Traynor; K Murphy (Captain), A Stapleton, C Pearse (C Higgs 43); G Peakin (J Hayes 56), D Doyle (D McKay 70); L O'Flynn-Martin (M Thompson 70), C O'Donoghue, C O'Meadhra (S Hunt 56).
ref -- J Montayne (Leinster).