Thursday, March 14, 2013

St Gerard's 7


Newbridge College 5

Use this down 2 cols on the right hand side of 71 with cut out pic

Thomas Flynn dejected at the end of the game

Thomas Flynn dejected at the end of the game

IT ended amid tears and red faces. Physically and mentally drained, Newbridge fronted up one final time and stood shoulder to shoulder to face their ever boisterous supporters. It was the players’ turn to applaud, their final show of strength after battling courageously for more than two hours to try and win a junior cup match.

The prize on offer – a semi-final spot – didn’t seem enough reward for the effort from both sides. This was a championship within a championship and Newbridge fell agonisingly short. It was hardest of all on their kicker, Tom Berney, who had the chance to draw level in injury-time, only to see his conversion attempt go wide.

There were still another eight minutes after Berney’s attempt – which followed a pushover try from Dylan Walker – for Newbridge to try and steal the game from Gerard’s but the Bray school held firm. Their defensive strength was something Newbridge couldn’t overcome.

As in the drawn encounter, Newbridge should have scored much earlier than they did. After just three minutes they stretched the Gerard’s defence across the 22 and Gavin Burke almost got in for the try in the left corner. The first ten minutes belonged to the Kildare boys but they couldn’t make the gains they needed at vital moments. Twice a forward pass scuppered their efforts when Gerard’s looked vulnerable.

Without a score after their promising opening, Newbridge looked less and less likely to open their account as the half went on. Gerard’s were solid and dependable and eventually they took the lead after 27 minutes.

A penalty on half way took them close to the Newbridge five-metre line from where they set their attack. The Bray boys moved the ball quickly off the lineout and full-back Ben Kealy went over in the left corner. Scrum half Tom Foley converted a difficult kick from the sideline to give them a 7-0 advantage.

Newbridge had a chance to close the gap on the stroke of half-time when play was called back for an off-the-ball infringement by Gerard’s prop Shane Gallagher. Gallagher was shown a yellow card for his indiscretion but his offence left Newbridge’s Tom Berney with a very difficult kick from long-range and unsurprisingly it fell short.

The second half brought more frustration for the Newbridge teenagers as they struggled to break through a strong defence. They had chances in the 49th and 56th minutes but failed to score each time. A brilliant break from inside their own half in the 53rd minute went unrewarded when Berney sent a penalty wide of the target.

Despite their failure to score, Newbridge never lost hope and they courageously crossed the Gerard’s line in injury-time thanks to an inspirational burst by captain Tom O’Neill. O’Neill’s daring escape into the Gerard’s half ended with a pushover try from Dylan Walker. Berney had the chance to equalise from the conversion and while his kick was good, it had started too far right of the uprights.

Still there was time for the Newbridge faithful to be hopeful as their spirited side battled to the finish. With time running out, their attempts to go from deep were looking desperate and each time they made an incision, the ball came back on the Gerard’s side.

They had left it too late though they had given as much as they could. These Newbridge boys will be back again.

NEWBRIDGE COLLEGE: Ruairi Cleary, Niall Wyer, Johnny Deane, David Murphy, Gavin Burke, Tom Berney, Timmy Murphy, Jordan Duggan, Daniel Murphy, Tom O’Neill, Mike Joyce, Geoff Flanagan, Thomas Flynn, Colm Stapleton, Dylan Walker (try). Replacements: Kevin Kyne for Cleary, HT; Cleary for Kyne (inj), 31; David Breen for Duggan, 44; Kyne for Cleary, 47; Colin Phelan for Flanagan, 58.

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