Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Newbridge College 8


St Gerard's 8


Dylan Walker

Dylan Walker

NOT once but twice Newbridge had to endure an agonising wait as St Gerard’s had two late chances to kick a winning conversion in a game the College should have won.

How they ended up staring down the barrell of defeat remains a mystery as Newbridge dominated the game and only conceded the equalising try in the dying moments of the game. It would have been an incredibly harsh defeat had Ben Kealy converted Billy O’Reilly’s try from the right wing and in their desperation, the College players rushed his conversion attempt too early.

The referee – who had already shown Newbridge two yellow cards during the game – ordered a retake and O’Reilly came within a couple of metres of the target, having kicked well wide first time around.

“You wouldn’t wish a player to miss a kick,” said Newbridge coach Eoghan Evesson. “I was relieved when he missed it at the same time,” he admitted.

It was a bittersweet game for the College, who were on top for most of the game and should have had at least one try on the board at half-time. Instead they had to settle for a share of the lead, 3-3, when a plucky St Gerard’s side scored a penalty in first half injury time.

As in their previous outing against Wesley, Newrbidge took a while to settle only this time around they failed cross their opponent’s line. They threatened tries on numerous occasions but just couldn’t cross the whitewash as they endured that frustrating that was compounded when hooker Danny Murphy ended the half in the sin-bin, having picked up a yellow card for a high tackle.

“It wasn’t dissimilar to Ireland-Scotland,” said Evesson. “We had a lot of possession and a lot of chances. We probably should have scored at least a try or two in the first half. In fairness to Bray, they kind of played their way into it from there.”

Newbridge weren’t helped by a contentious decision from the referee to send outhalf Tom Berney to the bin shortly after Murphy returned to the fray. Berney’s absence seemed to inspire his teammates though as Colm Stapleton and Thomas Flynn sent winger Gavin Burke over in the corner.

With time running out, St Gerard’s had one more attack in injury-time and managed to score the try they needed to equalise.

“They couldn’t have scored in a better place if that makes sense,” said Evesson. “If you were to pick anywhere fpor them to the score, it probably would have been the spot.”

Gerard’s try in the right corner made the conversion extremely difficult for a right-footed kicker and he failed to convert. The relief quickly subsided for Newbridge as the players turned their attention to the replay this Wednesday (6 March).

“The lads were relieved alright but they were pretty focused too” said their coach. “They were already looking forward to hopefully setting it right next Wednesday. They were disappointed with their execution. They’re a clever bunch of lads and they kind of knew where it had gone wrong for them on the day so they were just immediately focussed on getting back out this week.”

Poor execution rather than a poor performance was the reason for Newbridge’s failure to dispatch a side they had already beaten earlier in the year in the league. With a frustrating game out of the way, Evesson is hopeful his young side can step it up in the replay.

“We did everything but score in the first 20 minutes. It was a very broken game, there was a lot of injuries and we never really got a rhythm going.

“When they had a kick to win, you kind of wondered how we got there so it’s good to get another bite of the cherry. Hopefully we’ll execute a little bit better next Wednesday.”

NEWBRIDGE COLLEGE: Ruairi Cleary, Niall Wyer, Johnny Deane, David Murphy, Gavin Burke (try, pen), Tom Berney, Timmy Murphy, Jordan Duggan, Daniel Murphy, Tom O’Neill, Mike Joyce, Geoff Flanagan, Thomas Flynn, Colm Stapleton, Dylan Walker. Replacements: Kevin Kyne for Wyer, 56.

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