Tighthead prop Sean O’Reilly was St Gerard’s unlikely lad as they slipped past Wilson’s Hospital in the first round at Donnybrook yesterday
The holders looked safe enough as they carved out a 10-0 lead at the interval with tries from wing Ben Kealy and out-half Mark Baker, despite some terrific defence by Wilson’s.
The problem for the Westmeath school is that they spent almost all of the first half on their own half. They had to move forward. And they did.
They were given a lift by centre Matthew Coade’s drive for the line and out-half Stephen Gill’s conversion to reduce the deficit to 10-7 in the 46th minute.
The response was decisive. O’Reilly came crashing around the side of a ruck for his first try and carried through a thicket of bodies for his second all within the space of five minutes.
The game was as good as gone. Wilson’s kept pressing and manufactured a try for left wing Stephen Hyde to make it interesting without ever threatening a miracle comeback.
ST GERARD’S – M Gallagher (M Dalton); B Kealy, A Lynch, A Simmonds, Z Collis-Lee; M Barker (K McCarthy 60), T Foley; S O’Shaughnessy (J Maguire ht), D Power (S Gallagher 51), S O’Reilly, G Martin, M O’Toole, R Toal-Lennon, D Smith (capt), R Delany.
WILSON’S – I McCormack; E Njeze (B Wilson 58), M Coade, J Butler( J Shekleton 39), S Hyde; S Gill, D McHugh; R Curran, A Payton, J Nixon (capt), J Gambo (D Eziashi 53), J Gordon, A Crowe (J Powles 16), M Dunlop, R McDonnell.
REF – J Le Lievre (Leinster Branch)