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Newbridge deliver hint of All Blacks


St Andrews' Gavin Breen tackles Newbridge's Mark Delaney. Picture credit: Ray Cullen

St Andrews' Gavin Breen tackles Newbridge's Mark Delaney. Picture credit: Ray Cullen

St Andrews' Gavin Breen tackles Newbridge's Mark Delaney. Picture credit: Ray Cullen

WHAT is it about this week? There was more than a tinge of the All Blacks about this one as Newbridge rebounded from 13 points down to hit St Andrew's with a last-action try from wing Joe D'Arcy to qualify for the Leinster Senior League final at Templeville Road yesterday.



The feeling-out period didn't last too long as, first, Newbridge felt the full force of the St Andrew's defence and, then, it worked the other way around. There would be no hasty backward steps in this one.

Newbridge had Leinster-standard quality at half-back where Mark Sutton and Jimmy O'Brien probed for openings by using their big forwards, like prop Conor Doyle, coming onto the ball.

It was there, on the gain line, they were met by prop Andrew Porter, flanker Ben Ingram and captain Greg Jones, the game mostly played out between the 22-metre lines.

The first chance to trouble the scoreboard came in the 25th minute with Newbridge flanker Matthew O'Connor penalised, but St Andrew's Jack Balbirnie pushed his kick to the right from some way out.

Fly-half Balbirnie then kicked a penalty from the shadow of the sticks for offside in the 30th minute, to lead 3-0 at the interval.

Then the holes started to appear. First, St Andrew's number eight Jones galloped for 20 metres.

Then centre Andrew Fogarty carried hard and straight and managed to draw a penalty at a ruck, and Balbirnie's shot made it 6-0 in the 47th minute.

The ball was soon back in the hands of Fogarty, this time moving it on to full-back Kyle Jordan, who was held up just short of the whitewash.

The signs were ominous and it wasn't long before the pressure told, Balbirnie seizing on a chip through to break Newbridge in one surge, his conversion taking it out to 13-0 in the 52nd minute.

It wasn't over yet. Wing Joe D'Arcy got away and Sutton was at his shoulder in support. So too was the swarming St Andrew's cover.

It was clear to see that Newbridge had to hold the ball and keep to the basics. They managed to do so for number eight Tom Brady to pull them to within eight points.

Then came a free-kick and two simple, technically sound drives for prop Conor Doyle to claim Newbridge's second try, converted by replacement Chris Healy to leave a single point in it.

The intensity went up another notch, Sutton having an increasing influence to create the space on the outside for D'Arcy to make the corner flag.

SCORERS – Newbridge College: J D'Arcy, T Brady, C Doyle try each; C Healy con. St Andrew's College: J Balbirnie try, 2 pens, con.

Newbridge: Niall Delahunt; Joe D'Arcy; Jake Howlett, Mark Shanahan, Mark Delaney; Jimmy O'Brien, Mark Sutton (capt); Conor Doyle, Connor Johnson, Jonathan Phelan, Conor Doyle, Tom Treacy, Richard Drumgoole-Maguire, Matthew O'Connor, Cormac Nugent. Replacements: Tom Brady for Drumgoole-Maguire 38 mins; Barry Finan for Shanahan 60 mins; Chris Healy for Delaney 63 mins.

St Andrew's: Kyle Jordan; Gavin Beere, Gary Fearon, Andrew Fogarty, Daniel Hide; Jack Balbirnie, Daniel Joyce; Andrew Porter, Alex Brady, Darragh Higgins, Jonathan Guy, Jack Cassidy, Ryan Bradley, Ben Ingram, Greg Jones (capt). Replacements: Fionn Irwin-O'Hara 43 mins; Steven Hayes for Hide 63 mins; Jordan Lorimar for Beere 65 mins.

Referee: B O'Keeffe, Leinster Branch.