ST MICHAEL'S COLLEGE 34 GONZAGA COLLEGE 3
Champions St Michael's were chillingly clinical in their four-try dispatch of Gonzaga in the Leinster Senior Cup quarter-final at Energia Park on Tuesday.
Gonzaga came into this with the well-earned confidence from knocking out Blackrock and they started energetically, holding the ball into a stiff wind, driving up the middle through Arthur Henry and Hugo Fitzgerald.
The problem was that they struggled to break St Michael's two-man tackle ploy as captain Will Hickey, Jack Boyle and impressive locks Jack Guinane and Stephen Woods made those dominant tackles.
There was a difference in the effectiveness of the carriers, St Michael's' big boys often bouncing the first defender, Jack Guinane's poach and Boyle's grubber and pick-up forming the basis for James Power's try, converted by Chris Cosgrave in the 12th minute.
The cohesive nature of St Michael's phase play was impressive, creating the go-forward for Power's second touchdown, again converted by Cosgrave to double the advantage in the 20th minute.
They were on a roll, steaming forward with Niall Carroll and Hugo McWade pulling the strings in behind, making the next try look like a matter of time.
But, somehow, Gonzaga held their line, finding the character to break upfield for Harry Colbert to strike a penalty on half-time.
All of a sudden, they would have strong elements at their backs and a surmountable lead to overcome.
However, they could never land a blow on the champions, hooker Lee Barron the main beneficiary of their awesome maul, for a brace in the 40th and 54th minutes, Cosgrave nailing the conversions.
Gonzaga would not lie down, their number eight Hugo Fitzgerald going close in a rare attack.
Their defence never dropped in intensity, limiting Cosgrave to further penalties in the 59th and 66th minutes in a brave effort against special firepower.
ST MICHAEL'S COLLEGE 34 (J Power, L Barron 2 tries each; C Cosgrave 4 cons, 2 pens); GONZAGA COLLEGE 3 (H Colbert pen).
ST MICHAEL'S: C Cosgrave; E Kelly, S O'Kelly, H McWade (L Russell 62), H McErlean (J Nicholson 44); N Carroll, F Gunne (J Woods 55); J Boyle (J Egan 66), L Barron (Z Baird 66), J Power (D Rogan 67), J Guinane, S Woods, D Ryan (M Barron 55), C Booth (D Carroll 66), W Hickey (capt).
GONZAGA: J McNulty; H Lynn (L Hassett 58), B Barron, J Browne (D Colbert 17), S Wilson; H Colbert, E O'Callaghan (M Colgan 44); G Morris (N Maguire 44), G Kenny, R Shaw, S Carroll (C Murphy 67), S O'Connell, A Henry, T Cullen (capt), H Fitzgerald.
Referee: A Cole, Leinster Branch.