Friday 15 December 2017

Rampant O'Brien leads Roscrea rout

Sean O'Brien's Roscrea marched right through a game Wesley side at NUI Maynooth and on to Monday's quarter-final draw.

And few of the competition favourites will fancy being drawn against Cistercian's throwback pack.

The attention to scrum, line-out and maul was eye-catching. Connacht U-20 captain O'Brien, a natural tighthead lock, has been relocated to No 8 for his school, where his close-quarters work is simply devastating.

Right beside the Galway man – he is a certainty for the Connacht Academy next season – is the multi-skilled loose-forward Rory Moloney, who was asked to captain the Ireland Schools in their Christmas fixture against the Ireland Clubs. In other words, this is not a side short on leadership.

O'Brien got the ball rolling from short range in the second minute. Fly-half Tim Foley converted. Centre Dwayne Corcoran drew the last defender before putting wing Tim Carroll in at the corner in the 18th minute for a 12-0 lead at the break.

It was heavy going for the Wesley forwards. Captain Andrew Walsh, hooker Jonathan Hopkins and prop Adam Garvey did all they could, but Ireland Schools prop Oisin Heffernan put the hammer down for the third try, then O'Brien blasted over from a five-metre scrum.

Corcoran used excellent footballing skills to seize on a breakdown in the Wesley defence for the fifth and Richard Lavery rounded out the half-dozen tries, Foley landing five of them.

Roscrea – F Higgins (O Boland 63); T Carroll, C Brennan, D Corcoran, R Wharton (C Duff 67); T Foley (K Buckley 52), D Lavelle (R Lavery 59); J Walshe, C Gavin, O Heffernan; D Trayers, J Foley; M Kelly (M Keane 59), R Moloney, S O'Brien (capt).

Wesley College – T Hawe; A Scanlon (A Cole 68), R Bracken, L Madeley, A McDonnell; J O'Donovan, A Copeland; A Garvey, J Hopkins, K Sweeney (P Cullen 53); J Pratt (J Dalby 53), C Douglas (S Byers 60); S Pollock, A Walsh (capt), D Kelly (O Brookes 63).

Ref – P Haycock (Leinster Branch)

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