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Newbridge produce sensational senior cup shock against St Michael's to book place in all-Kildare final

Newbridge 25 St Michael's 22

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3 March 2020; Donough Lawlor of Newbridge College, supported by team-mates Peter Leavy, left, and Diarmuid Mangan, right, is tackled by Jack Boyle of St Michaels College during the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup Semi-Final match between St Michaels College and Newbridge College at Energia Park in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

3 March 2020; Donough Lawlor of Newbridge College, supported by team-mates Peter Leavy, left, and Diarmuid Mangan, right, is tackled by Jack Boyle of St Michaels College during the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup Semi-Final match between St Michaels College and Newbridge College at Energia Park in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

3 March 2020; Donough Lawlor of Newbridge College, supported by team-mates Peter Leavy, left, and Diarmuid Mangan, right, is tackled by Jack Boyle of St Michaels College during the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup Semi-Final match between St Michaels College and Newbridge College at Energia Park in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Newbridge caused one of the biggest shocks in the history of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup against St Michael's at Energia Park to make it an all-Kildare final.

They did it the hardest way imaginable, going down 14 points in as many minutes before blasting back through skill, grit and character against the reigning champions and hot favourites.

In fact, they were quickly settling to their task until Henry McErlean got into Sam Prendergast's passing channel to travel home from 60 metres, Chris Cosgrave converting in the 4th minute.

From the restart, Mark Dennis badly mistimed a challenge, taking Cosgrave out in the air, to see yellow.

Then St Michael's hooker Lee Barron trucked through traffic to create an opportunity from a 5m scrum, with Donal Conroy nailing McErlean into touch.

The Kildare school just couldn't escape though, with a maul causing further hurt for Barron to pile in for the second, Cosgrave sweeping over the conversion in the 14th minute.

Newbridge captain Marcus Kiely snared Conor Booth and Lucas Berti-Newman was onto the scraps before Barron forced a penalty to put them back on their heels again.

It was the unmistakable red scrum-cap of Berti-Newman emerging with a ripped ball and Patrick O'Flaherty snagging a lineout against the throw to prevent more damage.

The 'Bridge had to work so hard to make ground with Kiely and Berti-Newman prominent, a faltering attack resuscitated by Sam Prendergast's chip and Berti-Newman's collection until O'Flaherty lost control of the ball.

A nice pre-planned move anchored around Berti-Newman was enough to draw a penalty for Prendergast to make it 14-3 in the 32nd minute.

They were making metres through the stealth of their forwards, Geoff McNelis, Donough Lawlor and Diarmuid Mangan never tiring of hitting it up.

The patience of Prendergast made a hole for Kiely to get one-on-one with Cosgrave, a slip compromising his footwork and Barron clamping on for a penalty to end the half.

St Michael's looked to up the tempo, Cosgrave's arcing counter and offload requiring David O'Sullivan to collar Eddie Kelly.

The driving game was Newbridge's heavy-handed tool and it worked when Prendergast's half-break and hands put Berti-Newman away with Cormac King on his shoulder to finish in style, Prendergast landing the extras for 14-10 in the 40th minute.

A power surge from Jack Boyle for 30 metres was defused by O'Sullivan and Barron had to be taken down as Fintan Gunne almost rolled to the line, Cosgrave coming back for three points in the 45th minute.

That man Boyle got loose again, Berti-Newman worked his magic, Lawlor got hold of Cosgrave on the counter and Barron forced a spill out of Kiely with the line five metres away.

Newbridge were growing with every minute though, as Prendergast's penalty made it 17-13 in the 50th minute.

When Gunne lofted a bomb at halfway, Conroy grabbed the ball and took off, rounding Niall Carroll and surviving the closing Cosgrave for a glorious try to lead by one in the 53rd minute.

It could have been a fatal blow when second-row Patrick O'Flaherty was binned for a tackle on Eddie Kelly, as they couldn't hold out as St Michael's looked to the edge, wing Kelly finally delivering on his promise to get up, when not held, and dive over for 22-18 in the 58th minute.

But Newbridge refused to give in.

When Kiely powered out of a tackle, Lawlor added valuable metres and Prendergast swung the ball left for O'Sullivan to beat the cover, with Prendergast's conversion glancing in off the left post in the 62nd minute - all a man down.

It was pandemonium as Newbridge rattled in the tackles in a desperate bid to survive and somehow, someway, they did just that.

Clongowes await in the final at the RDS on St Patrick's Day.

ST MICHAEL'S: C Cosgrave; E Kelly, S O'Kelly, H McWade, H McErlean (J Nicholson 52); N Carroll, F Gunne (J Woods 55); J Boyle, L Barron, J Power, J Guinane (M Barron 24), S Woods, D Ryan (D Carroll 66), C Booth, W Hickey (capt).

NEWBRIDGE: J Shanahan (S Cahill 55); D Conroy, M Kiely (capt), L Berti-Newman (J Gaire 61), D O'Sullivan; S Prendergast, C King (C Halpenny 50); P Leavy, G McNelis (F O'Malley 66), Z Ahmed (B Watson 50), P O'Flaherty (J Murphy 63), D Mangan, M Dennis, L Dunleavy, D Lawlor.

Referee: N Correll, Leinster Branch.

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