Marsh pulls strings for classy Michael's
ST MICHAEL'S 15
ST GERARD'S 6
Leinster Schools Senior Cup
After the sinning that took place in last Sunday's dour semi-final, the battle of the Saints provided an entertaining alternative at Donnybrook yesterday as St Michael's booked their place in the St Patrick's Day final.
They were made to work for it by a determined St Gerard's, who exit the competition with great pride after another fine display on top of their victories over Blackrock and Terenure.
But this was St Michael's day and their combination of pace, powerful running and a mean defence kept the Bray boys at bay throughout.
Michael's scored three tries to nil, and they could have been altogether more comfortable had out-half Cathal Marsh brought his kicking boots as he missed with all six attempts.
Marsh, however, was instrumental in all of their good play. His work with ball in hand was excellent and he showed some enterprising running to create space for his wingers, both of whom scored tries.
Their defence was often troubled when St Gerard's Crosbie brothers got on the ball, with out-half Steve using the human battering ram that is his brother, Jody, to make yards.
But when they did get into position, Michael's scrambled brilliantly and their industrious openside Christopher Kenna did everything in his power to slow ball down.
The result saw Josh Glynn kick two penalties, but his side just couldn't get over the whitewash.
That wasn't a problem for Michael's, who were ahead within seven minutes as Luke McGrath broke right from a scrum and fed winger Mark Corballis. He stepped out of Jett Desmond's tackle and scored the opening try.
Gerard's had chances to get themselves into the game thereafter but, with Jack Conan, Steve Crosbie and Robin Maxwell all testing the line, Michael's tackled brilliantly and forced the turnover. Glynn took his second opportunity to close the gap to two, but with three minutes left in the half Michael's again demonstrated their ability to get outside their opponents with slick passing and penetrative running.
Marsh had a hand in the build-up, but it was prop Karl Duffy who laid on the try with a flat pass to winger David Egan, who slid over the line.
Again, Marsh missed the kick and Glynn made the score 10-6 at half-time with a late penalty after Kenna was pinged for killing the ball.
Michael's stepped their play up a notch after the interval, suffocating Gerard's in midfield and establishing field position at every opportunity.
Eventually, a Marsh break and perfectly timed pass allowed Corballis scorch over for his second.
Gerard's pushed for the score that would have given them the chance of a late winner, but their efforts came up just short and it's Michael's who will face Clongowes in the final.
ST MICHAEL'S -- C Diamond; M Corballis, A Kelly, M Craig, D Egan (N van der Laan 58); C Marsh, L McGrath (K Jones 65); K Duffy, F Barry, D Reynolds (A Murphy 70); S O'Connor (S Hogan 67), E McMahon; D Leavy (W Browne 67), C Kenna (S McGarry 52), P Dix.
ST GERARD'S -- J Glynn; D Simmonds, R O'Loughlin, J Crosbie, J Desmond (A Carroll 49); S Crosbie, C O'Rourke; C McAlinden (R O'Brien 49), C Hayde, C Lyons; F Boylan (A Lynch 55), R Maxwell; S Hackett Delaney, S King, J Conan.
REF -- B MacNeice (ARLB).