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Gerard's 'Bridge semi gap in replay

ST GERARD'S SCHOOL 7, NEWBRIDGE COLLEGE 5 - Newbridge coaches and players would have woken up today wondering how they did not qualify for the semi-finals at Donnybrook yesterday.

For the answer to their torment, they should look back at the original fixture when St Gerard's survived all manner of threats, based on Newbridge's domination of possession and territory, to emerge with an eight-all draw.

The Bray school walked the same tightrope yesterday and managed to qualify for a semi-final shot at Belvedere next Tuesday.

The Kildare boys simply owned the ball for long periods and showed a frustrating habit for playing the ball in the wrong areas, spurning numerous chances.

But the heroic defence by St Gerard's, led by their inside centre Conor O'Farrell and captain Billy O'Reilly at number eight, played its part. They filled the holes on the fringe of their defence, giving up short yardage without allowing the big play.

Gerard's also had to take whatever chance came their way. They did so when full-back Ben Kealy skated through on the left for scrum-half Tom Foley to convert in the 24th minute.

Referee Arthur Lynch was advised of some foul play by St Gerard's prop Shane Gallagher after he blew the half-time whistle.

His assistant referee Marcus Casey called his attention to the incident. Lynch restarted the end of the first-half with a yellow card for Gallagher and a penalty to Newbridge which centre Gavin Burke could not make from long distance.

Now, Newbridge had to go to their interval pep talk with one thought firmly lodged in their minds: how are we not ahead?

In contrast, St Gerard's had more than their willpower to keep them in the game. They had a seven-point lead. And so it went.

The Black & Whites won the ball, moved the ball, ran the ball left and right without ever finding the penetration, despite the obvious pace of left wing Kevin Kyne.

Eventually, their pressure told when number eight Dylan Walker breached a stubborn St Gerard's defence. Burke could not quite make a tricky conversion from the right.

SCORERS – St Gerard's School: B Kealy try; T Foley con; Newbridge College: D Walker try.

St Gerard's: Ben Kealy; Matthew Dalton, Daniel Hodgins, Conor O'Farrell, Brendan Ho; Matthew O'Brien, Tom Foley; Ryan Buckley, Daniel Power, Shane Gallagher, Liam Keaney, Billy Behan, Andrew Courtney, Sam Kenny, Billy O'Reilly (capt). Replacements: Sean Keogh for Kenny 35 mins; Sam Ryan for Keaney 45 mins; Lorcan Lalor for Ho 65 mins; Keaney for Kenny 52 mins.

Newbridge: Ruairi Cleary; Niall Wyer, Johnny Deane, Gavin Burke, Kevin Kyne; David Murphy, Timmy Murphy; Jordan Duggan, Daniel Murphy, Tom O'Neill (capt), Mike Joyce, Geoff Flanagan, Thomas Flynn, Colm Stapleton, Dylan Walker. Replacements: Tom Berney for Cleary ht; Cleary for Berney 33 mins; Berney for Cleary 47 mins; David Breen for Duggan 50 mins; Colin Phelan for Flanagan 57 mins.

Referee: A Lynch, Leinster Branch.