O'Donoghue on double for slick Clongowes
Clongowes Wood's quest to reclaim the cup began with a comprehensive victory at Templeville Road, where two first-half tries from right-wing Cian O'Donoghue helped them to see off the challenge of St Gerard's.
The Wicklow side edged into an early 6-0 lead courtesy of two smartly struck penalties by scrum-half David Baker, but Clongowes eventually settled.
They were ahead by the 21st minute as a result of excellent individual tries by full-back Ben Osborne and O'Donoghue and, after a shaky start, the Clane men were flying.
Following an excellent off-load by centre William Lappin, O'Donoghue showcased his pace and power to cross the whitewash again 27 minutes in, providing Clongowes with a 17-6 cushion at the break.
This left Gerard's facing an uphill task, and they suffered another blow when Cleary nailed a tricky penalty in the 54th minute.
Clongowes' fourth try arrived with 12 minutes left when German U-18 international Sebastian Fromm finished off a sweeping move in the corner.
With the victory secured, coach Noel McNamara had an opportunity to test his resources, and one of the replacements, Cillian Burke, reached over on 68 minutes to complete the scoring.
CLONGOWES WOOD – B Osborne (C Burke 60); C O'Donoghue, W Lappin, S Fromm, A Jeffares (C Mulcahy 67); F Cleary, P Maher; A Dudeney (C Ganley 63), D Donnellan, D Garty; C Gleeson, R Collins (J Kennedy 65); W Connors, S Kealan (J Pim 70), S McVeigh.
ST GERARD'S – M Prendergast; S Kingston, C Callan, C Jordan, A Simmonds (M Gallagher 65); T Whittle (R O'Caoimh 70), D Baker; N Buckley, J Ryan, T Kenna; H Conan, C Kenny; B Fitzpatrick, D King, F Smith (S Tyrrell 52).
REF – G Conway (Leinster).