ST GERARD'S SCHOOL 20
CISTERCIAN ROSCREA 18
You might as well try to split the atom as separate these two well-matched sides in the Leinster Senior League final at Donnybrook yesterday as St Gerard's avenged their senior Cup exit to Roscrea in a cliffhanger of a contest.
Roscrea looked like running riot early on with the wind in their sails, as they raced into a 15-0 advantage, thanks to tries from captain Conor Finn and outstanding lock Rory Moloney, together with two conversions and a penalty from fly-half Bill Duggan.
Ireland Schools stand-off Steve Crosbie got Gerard's back in the game with a penalty and there was more to come.
St Gerard's number eight Jack Conan drew Roscrea's Colin Moloney into illegally contesting on the floor. Crosbie was unerring from 22 metres into a head wind to make it 15-6 at the interval.
On resumption, St Gerard's had the wind in their favour. Crosbie's sound punt to touch from a penalty gave St Gerard's the foothold they were looking for and a sharply taken lineout at the front was taken through a hole by lock Hugo Wojnar in the blink of an eye.
Flanker David Symes was right at his shoulder to take the ball home. Crosbie converted to make it a two-point game in the 48th minute.
Then, their scrum-half Conor O'Rourke shot around the side of lineout to leave three defenders flat on their backs in a superb turn of pace. Crosbie kicked the extras to put St Gerard's 20-15 ahead on the hour.
Immediately, Roscrea returned to attack, winning a penalty and an extra 10 yards for 'lip service'.
Duggan kicked three points in an increasingly intense climax. The discipline of St Gerard's defence was just enough for victory.
SCORERS -- St Gerard's School: (D Symes, C O'Rourke try each; S Crosbie 2 pens, 2 cons). Cistercian Roscrea: (C Finn, R Moloney try each; B Duggan 2 pens, con).
ST GERARD'S SCHOOL: D Simmonds; J Desmond, C Shiel, R Martin, S Smith; S Crosbie (capt), C O'Rourke; S King, R O'Brien, O O'Neill, H Wojnar, J Prendergast, S Hackett-Delaney, D Symes, J Conan.
Replacements: J Roberts for Hackett-Delaney ht; K Carroll for Prendergast 56 mins; D Murray for O'Neill 67 mins.
CISTERCIAN COLLEGE, ROSCREA: P O'Dwyer; C Brennan, S Layden, C Finn (capt), M Mellotte; B Duggan, G Gallagher; O Heffernan, D O'Dwyer, C Farrell, A McGrath, R Moloney, A Henderson, E Quirke, C Moloney.
Replacements: G Fallon for Heffernan 35 mins; D Kirwin for O'Dwyer 58 mins; R Enright-Mooney for Henderson 62 mins.
Referee: B McNiece, Leinster Branch.