Clongowes march on as Mary's fall just short
Clongowes 24 St Mary's College 14
Clongowes booked their place in the last four of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup after withstanding a stirring St Mary's comeback that saw the Dubliners threaten to overturn a 21-0 deficit.
Mary's looked dead and buried until the outstanding Myles Carey hauled his side back into the game with 25 minutes left but Ben O'Shea's late penalty ensured that there was no late drama in Donnybrook.
Clongowes haven't been making life easy for themselves as they avoided a huge upset in the first round against St Fintan's and although they were vastly improved, their resolve was fully tested.
David Jeffares' eighth-minute try that O'Shea converted settled the early nerves against the run of play but Clongowes' cause wasn't helped when their skipper Sean McCrohan was sent to the sin bin for pulling back a player without the ball.
Mary's were unable to make their numerical advantage count and Clongowes punished them when they returned to their full complement, as O'Shea converted his own try to leave his side 14 points to the good at the break.
The impressive Matthew Martin looked to have sealed the win seven minutes after the restart, with O'Shea's conversion stretching Clongowes' lead again.
But three minutes later Carey danced his way through their defence and Ruairi Shields added the extras to reignite the contest.
Eamonn Byrne's 51st-minute converted try gave Mary's hope of completing the comeback but they couldn't find that crucial score.
Clongowes sealed the victory late on when O'Shea coolly slotted a penalty.
Clongowes Wood College - J Gilheany; R Lemess, T O'Brien (J Carroll 53), B O'Shea, J Maher (C Kennelly 70); T Monaghan, J Murphy; J Timmins, D Sheehan, A Odlum; S Phelan (P Celebi 50), M Martin; D Jeffares (T Coghlan 53), A Ryan, S McCrohan (capt).
St Mary's College - E Byrne; H Conway (A Dix h-t), C Kennedy, M Carey, R Shields (B MacMahon 67); T Murray, D McDonagh (A McEvoy 43); N McEniff (capt), R Bergin, J Coolican (C O'Meara 46); C McElearney, L Corcoran (I Wickham 43); S Heeran (N Hurley 43), H McSweeney, R Watters.
REF - C Hogan (Leinster Branch)