Conleth's left high and dry
Six-try rout moves Rathgar boys into next round
THE HIGH SCHOOL 40
ST CONLETH'S COLLEGE 0
There will be much stiffer tests down the line for High School as they swept aside St Conleth's College in this one-sided Leinster Schools Vinnie Murray Senior Cup first round tie at Sydney Parade yesterday.
The gulf in standard was not immediately evident as St Conleth's captured and held onto the ball without ever threatening that breakthrough that would have sustained them.
Prop James Clark and number eight Philip O'Neill carried hard into contact to put out-half Michael Hassett into the right attacking area, but he could not orchestrate the cracking of a stonewall defence.
Once HS turned the ball over, they bounded out of defence. Full-back Jamie Connell hared down the right touchline and his inside pass found scrum-half Conn Loane in space and with the wheels to make the line. Dean Kilroy converted.
From there, the Rathgar school took over to apply pressure and points from tries by captain Stephen Alexander, cutting back against the grain of the defence, centre Aaron Campbell, following a block-down by number eight Ethan Conroy and a bruising charge by flanker Neil Cosgrove.
All the while loosehead prop Ian Sheridan, a converted centre, was tearing the opposition apart, whether taking it straight and hard or using his feet to evade the first tackler.
Fly-half Kilroy rubbed salt into the wounds by adding all four conversions for a 28-0 lead and nowhere for St Conleth's to go on the scoreboard.
The game was gone. But, the losers remained defiant in their tackling. Centre Stephen O'Dea never took a backward step in the tackle and Peter Gahon displayed soft hands at the lineout.
Full-back Roger Mannion created the one half-chance when he chased and recovered his own up-and-under to cause a jittery reaction. But, the ball came back to the blindside when the openside was the better option.
In a flash, the chance was gone and HS were content to absorb pressure and hit on the counter, which they did twice to thrilling effect.
In the 55th minute, there was room for wing Conor Sexton to finish off Alexander's textbook work in beating one defender and drawing in another before releasing Sexton to the right corner.
Alexander backed this up with good support play off a counter from deep to glide outside the cover on his way to a second try and High School's sixth in the 62nd minute.
High School: J Connell; L O'Donnell, S Alexander (capt), A Campbell, C Sexton; D Kilroy, C Loane; I Sheridan, J Flemming, Richard Beverland, Robert Beverland, S Benaksas, N Cosgrove, G Power, E Conroy. Replacements: D Kiernan for Richard Beverland, A Mooney for Power, both 44 mins; A Brohoon for Sheridan 51 mins; S Evans for Sexton 58 mins; P Flaherty for Conroy 65 mins.
St Conleth's: R Mannion; P Craig, R Canavan, S O'Dea, J Clark; M Hassett (capt), A O'Brien; L Wymer, J Grier, J Clark, P Creechen, S Doggett, B Kavanagh, P Gahon, P O'Neill. Replacements: D Corley-Carmody for Grier 54 mins; P Cripwell for Kavanagh, E Hughes for O'Brien, both 61 mins; J Grier for Doggett 64 mins; K Roche for Canavan 66 mins.
Referee: S Owens, Leinster Branch.