Tuesday 20 March 2018

Late Duffy double steers Michael’s past Monkstown’s dogged challenge


It took two final-quarter tries from flanker Robert Duffy to maintain St Michael's grip on the competition in this thriller at Donnybrook.

You had to sympathise with a gallant and skilful CBC as they had improved even further from their Junior League final win over Gonzaga to throw down the gauntlet to the holders.

There was well measured risk and purpose to everything they did – there had to be. Centre Dan Casey was a standout for them and it was his brilliance that helped CBC to a 7-0 lead at the break.

Casey shot through a hole in midfield and, accelerating into space, he quickly eyed up his options and kicked over the head of full-back Michael Heaney to regather on the bounce for a superb individual try at the posts. He converted as well.

The challenge had been laid down to St Michael's. And how the champions responded!

They kept to their game plan, running wide of traffic whenever the space opened up. They took control of territory and No 8 Barry Fitzpatrick kicked a penalty when CBC were too slow to roll away at a ruck in the 35th minute.

The pressure was building going into the final quarter. And when St Michael's won a line-out on the right, a simple, effective move at the tail put them onto the front foot.

Prop Sam Griffen powered ahead. The ball was swung left. Centre James Hickey cut back against the grain before Duffy scorched over for an 8-7 lead.

It was still there for either side. Casey went close from two difficult penalties. But it would fall to Duffy to provide the killer blow in the 62nd minute.

St Michael's – M Heaney; H McIntyre (R Frankling 35), J Kelly (capt), J Hickey, C Carey; H Byrne, P O'Beirne; R Kelleher, T Glynn, S Griffen; J Kennedy, M O'Donahoe (A Connolly 58); R Duffy, O Dowling, B Fitzpatrick.

CBC Monkstown – T Kelly; D Porter (K Shaw 67), D Casey (capt), P Rodgers, C Barry; D Spillane (J Blennerhasset 31), R Jordan; J Stafford, A Holmes, E Clarke; R Doyle, A Byrne; C Madden ( P Jennings 42), T O'Callaghan, W Fay.

Ref – K Henley-Willis (Leinster Branch)

Irish Independent

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