Off-key Gerard's grind out victory
ST GERARD'S 19
IF St Gerard's are to make a dent on this year's Leinster Schools Senior Cup campaign-- as they did in 2010 -- they will need to improve on this display against a spirited CUS at Stradbrook yesterday.
The Bray side had enough in the tank to take them through, but they could never relax against the Leeson Street boys, who kept coming back at them until the death.
Ultimately, the inability of CUS to make the most of the possession and territory they enjoyed with the wind at their backs before the break was their undoing, but they left Blackrock with heads held high.
Gerard's greater cutting edge near the line got them through, but they were beaten up in the scrum, losing three against the head, while their error count will need to come down significantly in their quarter-final against King's Hospital.
Captain Stephen Crosbie got them off the mark within two minutes of kick-off with a penalty as they started purposefully into the wind.
CUS grew into the game, however, as the wind and errors pinned Gerard's back.
CUS captain Ryan Sheedy pinched a Gerard's line-out and his team countered. Impressive winger Colm Driver stayed on his feet well and fed Shane Bodkin to score.
Driver missed the tough conversion before exchanging penalties with Crosbie.
But despite enjoying the majority of the ball, they couldn't take their two-point lead in at the break as Gerard's lock Hugo Wojnar rampaged up the right and, after a series of close-in crashes, Stephen Hackett-Delaney crossed.
With the wind at their backs, the Bray side took the initiative and Oisin O'Neill barrelled over within six minutes of the restart to give them a cushion.
But they never looked comfortable, despite Crosbie extending the lead with a penalty, and a late counter from John McAllister gave the scoreline a fairer feel.
ST GERARD'S -- D Simmonds; C Shiel, J Desmond, R Martin, I Byrne (R O'Brien 45); S Crosbie (capt), C O'Rourke; S King, O O'Neill, D Murray; H Wojnar (J Roberts 45), J Prendergast; S Hackett-Delaney, D Symes, J Conan.
CUS -- R Magee; S Bodkin (B Kiely 41, J Fallon-Doran 62), D Beakey, J McAllister, C Driver; M Hiney, T Guiry (D Moore 47); J Bodkin (D Gahan 47), B Keelan (M McCann 18), T Doyle; M Beakey (Foster 69), N Foster (K Cooke 62); K Beakey, A Quinlan (D Byrne 64), R Sheedy (capt).
REF -- E Kenny (IRFU).