Clongowes Wood College 55 St Gerard's School 24
Clongowes completed the Leinster Senior Cup semi-final quartet in a high-scoring 12-try shootout at Energia Park on Thursday.
The Clane school could have been forgiven for believing they were playing on easy street as they rushed into a 10-point lead, moving with impressive zeal, as hooker Eoghan Cumbers ate up the ground to draw a penalty dispatched by Oisin Devitt in the fourth minute.
The bustling Calum Dowling could be relied on to hoover up the metres, with the captain providing the front-foot for Rory Morrin to take the ball on for-profit and Michael Spillane to duck inside the cover for Devitt to convert in the seventh minute.
St Gerard's did not have enough possession to show their hand. That changed in one swift attack, centres Callan O'Reilly and Joshua Watson breaking at speed, prop Ralph Ledwidge driving and wing Craig Kenny capturing five points in the 12th minute.
The back-and-forth continued, Chris Grimes, Diarmuid McCormack and Luke McMahon blasting forward for Cumbers to get on the end of a devastating move, Devitt converting to make it 17-5 in the 16th minute.
The hole got deeper when Dowling gobbled up a loose lineout to activate an attack which ended with McCormack applying a left-handed finish for another seven-pointer.
But St Gerard's were not done. Far from it. They reeled off three tries in remarkable fashion. Two came before the break, one from tight-head Brian Glass, converted by Burke, backed up by another from hard-carrying hooker Fred Happonen for 24-17 at the break.
The third was born out of Burke's calmness on the ball, delaying until it was right to release Kenny for his second, Burke levelling it from the conversion in the 40th minute.
From there, Clongowes landed serious blows from a quick double by replacement Harry O'Neill and blindside Evan O'Boyle with Devitt converting both for 14 points in three minutes.
That blew the game wide open, Clongowes coming in waves to add further tries by replacement David Wilkinson, wing Sean Sexton and lock Jack Kearney.
Afterwards, Clongowes were drawn to play Castleknock in one semi-final with holders St Michael's playing Newbridge in the other on the first week in March.
CLONGOWES: R Morrin; M Spillane, P Maher, C Grimes, S Sexton (H Wilkinson 61); C Reilly (D Wilkinson 45), O Devitt (H McGoey 62); L McMahon (E Carr 62), E Cumbers (R O'Regan 62), B Dooley (H Hogan 63), J Kearney, K Fitzpatrick (H O'Neill 45), E O'Boyle, C Dowling (capt, A Mannion 67), D McCormack.
ST GERARD'S: C Long (K O'Grady 58); J Brodeur (O Newsome 9), C O’Reilly, J Watson, C Kenny; P Burke, S Fitzpatrick (O Hayes-Restan 32 temp & 58); R Ledwidge, F Happonen, B Glass (C Desmond 40, M von Teichmann 43), M Merrin (B McCauley 50), T O'Connor, M Whelehan (T Wilkinson 40), C Pickering (B Hogan 57), A Long (capt).
REFEREE: C Hogan