Saturday 18 November 2017

Allen inspires double-chasing Michael's


Conor Duffy scores one of St Michael's three second-half tries
Conor Duffy scores one of St Michael's three second-half tries
Tony Ward

Tony Ward

St Michael's moved closer to a much-coveted first double when the Ailesbury Road juniors matched the achievement of the school's seniors when making it into this year's final.

Their emphatic win over great rivals Blackrock College at Donnybrook yesterday ensured that, for the fourth year running, the Holy Ghost navy and sky blue will be represented in the decider.

While it would be wrong to describe it as a game of two differing halves, Blackrock gave as good as they got in the opening period and they led deservedly at the break following a well-taken try by inspirational forward loose head Oliver Jager.

It came in the 25th minute when No 8 Ray Crotty broke off the base of an attacking scrum to combine with blindside flanker Raef Tyrrell. He, in turn, linked with Jager at full tilt for a touchdown midway out at the Bective end.

Out-half Gavin Tynan added the extras with a well-struck conversion.

Although held scoreless, St Michael's, with full-back Cian Kelleher, skipper Ross Byrne, hooker Richard Allen and particularly No 8 Conor Duffy to the fore, were beginning to make their mark.

It took just four minutes of the second half to even things up when the irrepressible Allen broke clear for the umpteenth time, before Duffy managed to cross for Michael's first try.

Byrne converted and suddenly momentum was swinging the other way.

The same player added a penalty in the 47th minute following a high tackle on Allen.

Byrne continued to play simple, but sensible tactical rugby, keeping 'Rock hemmed deep inside their own half.

Within minutes it was all over bar the shouting. Allen spilled the ball in the act of grounding, St Michael's won the ensuing scrum against the head, allowing Duffy to drive and then offload for flanker Michael Craig to make the touch down.

Byrne again did the necessary before adding the gloss to the free running Kelleher's late second-half try.

Tough on 'Rock perhaps, but the final score left little room for doubt as to who was the superior force on the day.

St Michael's -- C Kelleher (J Brazil 69); D Greene, A Leavy, A Comerford (G Morgan 48), M O'Keeffe; R Byrne (capt) N McCarthy (L Martin 62); D Gibbons (N Quane 68), R Allen (S Mosnier 68), D Coulson, S Harold, R Moloney (J Murphy 51), M Craig, J O'Connell, C Duffy.

Blackrock -- J O'Neill; S Coughlan (J Cassidy 61), I Kingsley (C Donnelly 62), S Lawton, E Conlon; G Tynan, C Rock (G Ringrose 65); O Jager (R Hughes 62), D Fortune, R Murphy (M Colgan 42), G Fenn, C Murray (T Cooke 34), R Tyrrell, D O'Flynn (capt), R Crotty (P Aylward 58).

Ref -- D Wallace (Leinster Branch).

Irish Independent

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