TERENURE deservedly set up a quarter-final meeting with Cistercian Roscrea after three first-half tries laid the platform for a hard-fought success.
On a windswept day at Donnybrook, they gave as good as they got in the forward exchanges and in skipper Danny McCormack, they had that key player in the pivotal position who ultimately proved the difference in this first-round clash.
Apart from crossing for two well-taken tries himself, the 'Nure out-half exuded a reassuring confidence in almost everything he did.
He was, by some distance, the shining light on a dull day and was central to turning the tide at a time when Gonzaga seemed to be taking control after opening the scoring through a Conor McKeon penalty.
The captain ripped through the Gonzaga defence for the most timely Terenure response. Some deft footwork, allied to sufficient pace and momentum, took him over the line to give Terenure an unexpected two-point lead.
The knock-on effect was immediate and soon after, right wing Seanie O'Loughlin raced in at the corner after McCormack was the creator-in-chief.
This second try came after just 15 minutes and left the Ranelagh school rattled. 'Nure capitalised, again through McCormack, who added his second touchdown.
Ryan Roopnarinesingh converted for a 14-point lead with just 25 minutes gone and Terenure preserved their 17-3 advantage until half-time thanks to some heroic defending.
'Nure's second-half game plan killed off any hopes of a comeback by a clearly disappointed Gonzaga.
The Terenure challenge for 2011 is up and running.
Terenure -- R Roopnarinesingh; S O'Loughlin, C Quigley, D Olin, P Smith (R Manning 70); D McCormack, Captain (C Jones 70), R Barry (R Rumley 70); P O'Reilly, J Carroll (D Hynes 70), S Borza (C Owens 52); R Malone (J Kirwan 58), R Somerville; B Twomey (E Kelly 58), N Lalor, G Furlong.
Gonzaga -- J Fitzpatrick; R Lenehan, S Murphy (Captain), C O'Brolchain (R Cooke 70), B Daly; C McKeon (P Hollywood 58), A McEvoy (D Lavelle 70); M Lowe, C McDowell (N McNelis 70), J McDowell; M Lenahan, H Mays; J Curtin, A O'Reilly (A Clarke 58), A Deeney.
Ref -- P Dennehy (Leinster Branch).