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Linehan pulls strings to see Castletroy home

Castletroy College emerged winners of this mudfest at Rosbrien which was played in appalling conditions, effectively ensuring that there would be few passages of flowing rugby.

St Clement's played with the wind in the opening half and their early dominance saw them going in front through a penalty after 10 minutes by Conor Redmond.

Both sides fluffed drop goal attempts and gradually the Castletroy forwards gained control. At one stage, they drove the opposition back 20 metres. This led to a penalty and from 35 metres Conor Linehan found the target, despite the swirling breeze, to tie it up.

The nearest to a first-half try came just before the half-time whistle, but a knock-on denied Castletroy right on the line.

Three minutes into the second half, out-half Linehan landed his second penalty, this time from 25 metres and in front of the posts, and from here to the end Castletroy were so much on top that St Clement's were not allowed into their half even once.

However, they had to wait until five minutes from the end to get the only try. Fittingly, the outstanding Linehan was heavily involved, his pass sending prop Eoin Fitzgerald over. The out-half then added the extras.

Linehan had an excellent partner in scrum-half Rory Cunningham and, in the Castletroy pack, Fitzgerald, Shane O'Hara and Ronan Murphy impressed.

For the Mike Lynch-trained St Clement's, Kristian Burchardt, Mark O'Callaghan and Karl Madden did well up front, and Jack Broderick, Steve Ogee, and Declan Browne caught the eye behind the scrum.

Castletroy College-- B Donovan; D Garry, B Nash, S Hoare, S McBrearty (J Porter 40); C Linehan, R Cunningham; E Fitzgerald, L Lyons (M O'Mara 59), M Finucane; J Doyle, S O'Hara; D Rowsome, N O'Shea, R Murphy.

St Clement's College -- J Broderick (N Clancy 40); D Ryan, S Ogee, C Redmond, D Browne; H O'Brien-Cunningham (S Ward 59), R Minihan; D Joyce (C Meagher 50), M O'Callaghan, E Kenny; J Dillon, K Burchardt; K Madden, A Dunne, K Clifford (O Kiely 56).

Ref -- D Sheehan (MAR).

Irish Independent