Saturday 20 January 2018

Powerhouse O'Reilly keeps St Gerard's alive

THIS quarter-final tie will go to a replay after the sides finished level in an enthralling game at Templeville Road.

Newbridge College had already beaten their opponents 13-7 when the sides met in the league, and it looked like they had repeated the trick until a brilliant burst from St Gerard's back-row Billy O'Reilly earned his side another shot at last year's finalists.

Newbridge took an early lead through a Gavin Byrne penalty inside the first five minutes and continued to dominate for large periods of the first half.

St Gerard's came back into the game and levelled matters on the stroke of half-time thanks to a Ben Kealy penalty but the Bray-based school were to lose captain Harry Happonen to a bad injury before the break.

The game burst into life at the beginning of the second period when a well worked line-out by Newbridge saw the ball tossed out wide to the impressive Byrne, who went over in the corner.

The resulting conversion was missed to leave Newbridge 8-3 ahead.

St Gerard's continued to battle earnestly, and almost drew level moments later when Conor O'Farrell was held up inches from the line by the excellent Newbridge defence.

St Gerard's were not to be denied, however, and with only minutes left on the clock the powerful O'Reilly put his head down and brushed aside three Newbridge players before touching down in the corner.

Kealy had an opportunity to slot over the conversion, but his kick drifted agonisingly wide.

NEWBRIDGE COLLEGE – R Cleary; N Wyer (K Kyne 56), J Deane, D Murphy, G Burke; T Berney, T Murphy; JDuggan, D Murphy,T O'Neill; M Joyce, G Flanagan; T Flynn, C Stapleton, D Walker.

ST GERARD'S SCHOOL – B Kealy; M Dalton (L Lalor 57), D Hodgins, C O'Farrell, B Ho; M O'Brien, T Foley; R Buckley, D Power, S Gallagher; L Keaney, B Behan; A Courtney, H Happonen (S Kenny 18), B O'Reilly.

REF – A Lynch (LRR)

Irish Independent

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