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O'Brien strikes late to get St Mary's over line

St Mary's College 29 St Andrew's College 18

St Mary's College's Seán Bourke celebrates the victory. Photo: Sportsfile
St Mary's College's Seán Bourke celebrates the victory. Photo: Sportsfile

Hooker Gavin O'Brien's late try finally ended the brave struggle of St Andrew's to cause a shock in the Leinster Schools Senior Cup first round at Donnybrook yesterday.

The underdogs were out of the traps quickly and effectively in an enthralling back and forth.

St Andrew's College's Andrew Sullivan and St Mary's College's Ian Wickham contest a lineout. Photo: Sportsfile
St Andrew's College's Andrew Sullivan and St Mary's College's Ian Wickham contest a lineout. Photo: Sportsfile

There were chances created and lost, by both sides, until their scrum-half Daniel James stole a march under the stand.

The support was there to retrieve his kick and prop Jack O'Brien touched down in the corner in the 16th minute.

The St Mary's back-three were full of running, Hugo Conway finishing swiftly on the right, converted by Ruairi Shields, and Eoin Carey benefited from O'Brien's skill on the left to make it 12-5 in the 23rd minute.

St Andrew's were still sticking to their guns, running purposefully, for out-half Aaron O'Neill to strike a penalty.

St Mary's College's Ruairí Shields. Photo: Sportsfile
St Mary's College's Ruairí Shields. Photo: Sportsfile

However, St Mary's out-half Sean Bourke's timing of the pass put full-back Shields fizzing for another five for a 17-8 lead at the break.

James then turned the screw with a dummy and drove to the line for O'Neill's conversion to leave two points in it in the 40th minute.

St Mary's second-row Ian Wickham plucked an intercept try 22-15 in the 48th minute.

O'Neill was on target from a penalty and St Andrew's came in waves without the wherewithal to finish.

St Mary's stood firm and came one final time for hooker O'Brien to crash over and Shields converted.

St Mary's - R Shields; H Conway, B McDonnell, T MacMahon, E Carey; S Bourke, A McEvoy (E Franklin 52); S O'Reilly, G O'Brien (M Jordan 2, temp), C McElearney; S Heeran, I Wickham; J Nolan (O Byrne 52), H McSweeney (capt), N Hurley (J Grant 59).

St Andrew's - R Jordan; N Murphy, Z McClatchie-Ombima, P Perrem, L Hoade (A Wallace 68); A O'Neill, D James; J Boag, M Siqcau, J O'Brien (J Hewson 56); B Crowley, A Sullivan (capt), S Gleeson, R Simington, S Keane (C Turner 50).

Ref - C Hogan (Leinster Branch)

Irish Independent

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