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Blade cuts down Gallen to reach semis

Athenry VS, more renowned as a hurling nursery, clinched a spot in the semi-final of the Connacht Schools Senior Cup yesterday.

A terrific display from out-half Keelan Blade paved the way as the Galway school ran in four second-half tries at Monivea to reach the last four of the competition for the first time.

Gallen CS, from Ferbane in Offaly, held a 14-7 lead midway through the second half thanks to tries from John Dooley and Dara Corbett.

Those touchdowns came either side of Barry Keane's equaliser for Athenry after a scoreless opening 35 minutes.

But out-half Blade took control of matters for Athenry and his creative running set Jamie Joyce clear for a try in the 15th minute to leave it 14-12 to Gallen.

And, with time running out, Blade's quick-tap penalty exposed the Gallen rearguard as Kevin Divilly crossed to give Athenry a deserved three-point lead at a crucial time.

Athenry, who now meet Colaiste Iognaid in the semi-final, finished in style when prop Dean Keary powered over in the last minute.

Athenry Voc -- P Flaherty; M Hession, K Divilly, C Lane, C Mannion; K Blade, G Kennedy (for Hurney, 38); D Keary, D Fahy, M Burke; C Dolan, J Joyce; B Keane, D Maher, J Connolly.

Gallen CS -- L Fox (L Claffey, 68); R Doolin, D Egan, J Mulleady, B Gilligan (L Hottimer, 53); D Corbett, W Healy; G Dunne, N Quinn, T Dunican; J Dooley (C Healion, 68), K Connor; D Duignan (W Keenan, 70), P Hennessy, D Higgins.

Ref -- J Craughwell (CB IRFU).

Irish Independent