ST GERARD's are back in the semi-finals for the second successive year after battling past King's Hospital at Donnybrook yesterday.
The Bray school were steered home by their Ireland U-18 Schools out-half and captain Steve Crosbie, whose drop goal and penalty in the last 10 minutes were the difference after an exciting 70 minutes.
Luckless King's Hospital, whose pack were dominant, will rue three first-half decisions by referee Brian MacNeice, who on each occasion deemed that they had been held up over the line.
The sides went in at the break level at 10-10 despite King's Hospital's superiority -- Crosbie and Jack Hinde exchanged penalties before Gerard's struck with an 18th-minute try.
Despite a scrum going backwards, they put the ball through the hands and Crosbie's skip created an overlap for Jett Desmond to send Simon Smith in at the corner.
Crosbie converted, but King's Hospital went back up the pitch and Hinde looked to have scored, only to be denied by ref MacNeice.
They did get a try when skipper Luke Satchwell went over following a clever line-out move. Hinde converted, before centre David Potterton crossed the line twice, but MacNeice ruled on both occasions that he hadn't touched down.
Crosbie put his side back into the lead within three minutes of the break but King's Hospital soon struck back, mauling from a line-out take for Satchwell to touch down again, Hinde knocking the conversion over.
They looked in full control, but couldn't make their dominance count and St Gerard's hung in. Crosbie pulled them within range with a penalty, then landed a pressure drop goal to give them the lead, before sealing victory with a late penalty.
ST GERARD'S -- D Simmonds; C Shiel, J Desmond, R Martin, S Smith; S Crosbie (capt), C O'Rourke; S King, O O'Neill (K Carroll 68), D Murray; H Wojnar (R O'Brien 49), J Prendergast; S Hackett-Delaney, D Symes, J Conan.
KING'S HOSPITAL -- I Fitzpatrick; E Delaney, T Quigley, D Potterton, D Butler (J Dowds 49); D Murphy, A Moore; C Fair-Brennan, D McDonough, E Lawler; C Foley, J Hinde; G Reynolds (B Heather 29), B du Toit, L Satchwell (capt).
REF -- B MacNeice (Leinster).