Thursday 22 March 2018

Brennan pulls the strings as Gonzaga advance

Gonzaga 19 Wesley10 Leinster Schools Senior Cup

Alistair Quirke, Wesley College, races clear to run in his side's first try of the game (SPORTSFILE)
Alistair Quirke, Wesley College, races clear to run in his side's first try of the game (SPORTSFILE)
Harry Brennan, Gonzaga College, attempts to break through the Wesley College defence (SPORTSFILE)
Rob Kelly, centre, and Oran James, Gonzaga College, celebrate at the final whistle (SPORTSFILE)

Second-half tries from replacements Harry O'Grady and Alex McEvoy were crucial at Castle Avenue yesterday afternoon, when Gonzaga College defeated Wesley College in a tense opening round Leinster Schools' Senior Cup tie.

Playing on the impressive all-weather surface in Clontarf RFC, Wesley broke the deadlock on ten minutes, as pacey winger Tim Spencer raced under the posts after he intercepted an attempted pass from Gonzaga's Oran James.

This try was supplemented by a Bill Corrigan conversion, but following excellent approach work by James and Micheal O'Kennedy, Gonzaga centre Harry Brennan crossed over on the left-flank for a converted touchdown.

Brennan was the stand-out performer for the Ranelagh school, but even though his lung-bursting runs kept Wesley on their toes, the sides remained on level terms (7-7) at the midway point in the action.

Gonzaga were close to moving into the ascendancy from another incisive attacking move ten minutes after the restart.

Wesley ultimately turned over their southside rivals, though, and thanks to a successful Adam Curry penalty, they had regained the lead on 49 minutes.

Indeed, courageous defensive work helped them to frustrate their opponents on a number of occasions, but persistence finally paid off for Gonzaga on the hour mark, when substitute hooker McEvoy finished off a dangerous move on the left-hand side.

James subsequently added the bonuses to this five-pointer in spectacular style, and although Wesley stayed within touching distance, Gonzaga's victory (and passage into the last-eight) was finally secured courtesy of an O'Grady try deep into second-half stoppage-time.

GONZAGA COLLEGE - S Galvin; D Lynch, H Brennan, M O'Kennedy, A Browne (A Caslin h-t); O James, R Kelly; F Keane, R O'Donnell (A McEvoy 44), E Coyle; S Dempsey (H O'Grady h-t), E Ryder; C Farrell, J MacNamara, T Costello.

WESLEY COLLEGE - A Ladias-Barlow (I Sheridan 46); A Quirk, D Gilmer, W Hayden, T Spencer; A Curry, B Corrigan (A Lynam 33); C Classon, A Egan, S Kenny; D Motyer, J O'Connor (R Whitehead 67); L Corish, M Guest, S May (C Kirwan 40).

Ref - J Montayne (IRFU)

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