Newbridge College: 16
CBC Monkstown 11
By Daire Walsh
Leinster Senior Cup: Round 2
Having proven his credentials during his school’s first round victory over King’s Hospital, left-wing Joe Darcy was once again the hero for Newbridge College in Donnybrook on Monday afternoon (18 February), as his brace of tries helped the south Kildare school to a most dramatic second-round victory over CBC Monkstown in the Powerade Leinster Senior Cup.
Darcy also scored two tries in their opening round win, which gives him a remarkable tally of 20 points from two Senior Cup appearances in 2013.
From the first whistle to the last, this was a tough game for Aaron Dundon’s charges, as Monkstown moved into the lead with just three minutes gone on the clock courtesy of a routine penalty from scrum-half Ben Mahon. To concede so early on was certainly a set-back for Newbridge, and the Dublin school certainly had them on the back-foot during the opening ten minutes of play.
The two-time champions eventually got a handle on the proceedings, however, and after some excellent pressing in the Monkstown ‘22’, they restored parity with a successful place kick by full-back Chris Healy from close-in.
This looked like being the tonic for Newbridge to push on for the remainder of the half, but instead Monkstown upped their performance levels, and excellent play by Mahon and Cormac Cullinane created the space for inside centre Adam Swan to weave his way through the heart of the opposition defence, before touching down to the left of the posts for an unconverted try.
This score meant that Newbridge had to re-discover an extra gear if they were going to rein in their opponent’s challenge before the end of the half, but although they looked set for a first try of the afterboon on 28 minutes when hooker Conor Doyle knocked on a ball as momentum was building in their attack, they had to be content with an 8-3 deficit when the second half re-commenced.
Five points was by no means an insurmountable lead for Monkstown to have in their possession, though, and with Healy converting brilliantly from a long-range penalty just two minutes after the re-start, the margin was now down to two.
This offered Newbridge the incentive to push on for more scores, and they looked odds-on to take the lead for the very first time when Healy was presented with a place kick opportunity inside the ‘22’ on 43 minutes, but his kick came crashing off the post on this occasion.
However, the excellent Healy was not going to let this missed opportunity get him down, and showed brilliant awareness to put Darcy through on the left-hand side for his first try ten minutes later. This gave Newbridge the lead for the very first time, but Healy was unable to secure the tough bonus kick, and this made it possible for Monkstown to level matters once more with six minutes of normal time remaining, when Mahon slotted over a 25-metre penalty.
At this point, the prospect of a replay between these two sides was becoming a real possibility, but Newbridge and the clinical Darcy had other ideas, and a sweeping move involving out-half Mark Sutton, replacement Andrew Shanahan and Niall Delahunt ended with the aforementioned No. 11 reaching over for another magnificent try.
Unfortunately, Healy came up short once again with his conversion attempt, but despite some edgy final moments, Newbridge held out for a memorable triumph, and with Darcy, Healy, Hugh O’Donnell and captain Brian Hayden all producing terrific performances, they can look forward to their upcoming semi-final with plenty of confidence.
Chris Healy; Niall Delahunt, Patrick Kyne, Jack O’Neill, Joe Darcy; Mark Sutton, Jack Coghlan-Murray; Jonathan Phelan, Conor Doyle, Hugh O’Donnell; Cormac Nugent, Brian Hayden; Matthew O’Connor, Oisin McKnight, Thomas Brady. Replacements: Jake Howlett for Kyne (46), Robert Mullen for Coghlan-Murray (52), Edward Wynne for Phelan (57), Andrew Shanahan for O’Neill (65), Richard Drumgoole-Maguire for O’Connor (65).
Marcus Halwax; Hugo Godson-Treacy, Michael Courtney, Adam Swan, Sean Smyth; Cormac Cullinane, Ben Mahon; Kevin Patterson, Dylan Hanney, Eoghan McKeever; Brett Keaveney, Jack McGrath; Josh Brown, Andrew Brennan, Marc O’Mahony. Replacements: Victor Law for Keaveney (40).
Dudley Phillips (IRFU).