Kelly leads by example for Michael's
St Andrew's 7 St Michael's 25 Leinster Schools Senior Cup
If St Michael's are to end their four-year wait for the title, they may will look back at the importance of the character that their 14 players showed against St Andrew's yesterday.
Michael's were comfortably the better side but their cause wasn't helped by the 17th-minute dismissal of flanker Oisin Dowling.
With the sides deadlocked after a cagey opening, Peter Sullivan bundled Dowling into touch with a strong tackle and both subsequently became involved in an altercation off the ball.
Sullivan was sent to the sin-bin for his part but Dowling, an Ireland U-18 Schools international, was shown a red card.
Michael's could have few complaints and they were inspired after that by impressive captain Jack Kelly, who led by example. He put his side ahead with a well-worked try 10 minutes before the break, with No 8 Barry Fitzpatrick converting.
Despite playing with one less player, Michael's extended their advantage just before half-time when out-half Ian O'Kelly waltzed through a gaping hole in the defence to leave his side 12-0 to the good at the interval.
Substitute Harry Byrne took over the kicking duties in the second half and he added a penalty before Andrew's threatened to spring a comeback.
After repelling wave after wave of attack, the Michael's defence was eventually breached when Andrew's skipper Jordan Larmour, who was outstanding, powered his way over for a try that Sullivan converted.
Just as Andrew's thought they were back in the game, poor discipline cost them another three points as Byrne slotted a penalty before the final nail in the coffin.
In a last throw of the dice Andrew's looked to spread the ball wide but Michael's replacement Dan O'Donovan intercepted a wayward pass and ran clear to score in the corner, and Byrne added the extras.
It was harsh on Andrew's who battled well all game without ever really making their numerical advantage count but it is Michael's who march on to the quarter-finals, and after avoiding a potential upset, they will take plenty of confidence into the last eight.
St Andrew's College - J McDonagh; D Burns (R Morgan 63), J Larmour (capt), P Sullivan, S Keane; S Balance, A Larmour; R O'Flaherty, H McCarthy (N Judge 56), D Wilson; R Ryan, W Holland (D Morris 12-25, 32); H O'Byrne-Cillinane, B Nolke (R Simington 62), Z Henry.
St Michael's College - J Kelly; J O'Loughlin (D O'Donovan 50), J Hickey, D Ryan (H Byrne 38), M Heaney (M Roche 63); I O'Kelly, T Killeen (P O'Beirne 38); R Kelleher (M O'Donahoe 61), S Judge (M Kennedy 61), S Griffin (L Duffy 61); R Baird, J Dunne (A Courtney 64); O Dowling, S Penny, B Fitzpatrick.
ref - B Montayne.