Sutton sees Newbridge into decider
Out-half's cool head key to win
THE composure of Newbridge out-half Mark Sutton was the subtle difference between two well-matched schools in the Vinnie Murray Senior Cup semi-final at NUIM Maynooth yesterday.
NEWBRIDGE COLLEGE 15 KING'S HOSPITAL 0
This was a cold, wet day made worse by a howling wind that was effective enough to make the execution of penalties and conversions a nightmare process.
Strange as it may seem, in such unappealing weather, it was the quick feet of Sutton that created the first try of the match for wing Ivan Briody in the 27th minute.
This act of skill delivered by the outside break of Sutton and the sweet support line of Briody stretched Newbridge's advantage to 10 points.
Earlier, scrum-half Robbie Mullen kicked a penalty from the left for KH refusing to roll away from a tackled player on the ground in order to slow up ruck ball.
The benefit of a 10-point lead was thought to be the least required to resist a recovery from Hos'. The expected buffeting never really materialised because they did not use the wind to take the ball downfield.
Instead, Hos' decided to chase the lead by running more than they should have, despite the effectiveness with ball in hand of prop Ntinga Mpiko, who was replaced because of a leg injury, and centre David Butler.
There should have been a greater emphasis placed on playing territory from where they could have brought their stronger scrum and sound fringe fundamentals into play.
The longer the half went on, the more frustrated they got and Newbridge seized on their stray handling for scrum-half Mullen to hack the ball on three times in one single phase.
Just when he looked like pouncing for five points, he was tackled from behind. A penalty try was rightly awarded. From there, the terror of the wind was reflected in the fact Mullen missed the conversion from in front of the sticks in injury-time.
Who would blame him, his mind may already have turned to the final where they will play St Andrew's College, 13-9 winners over Wesley at Seapoint RFC yesterday. The decisive factor there was the two tries-to-none finishing of prop Stephen Locke and left wing Luke de Renzy and the leadership of captain Killian McCarthy.
Newbridge: C Healy; I Briody, C Ryan (capt), G Burns, P O'Neill; M Sutton, R Mullen; J Phelan, C Murphy, B O'Donnell, S O'Rourke, B Scully, C O'Brien, M Kavanagh, R Snell. Replacements: O McKnight for O'Brien (50 mins); C Grant for O'Donnell (63 mins).
King's Hospital: J Dowds; D Cuffe, D Butler, I Fitzpatrick, V Hughes; E Walsh, A More; N Mpiko, E Ryan, A Burke, D Duffy, L Janssens (capt), J Hogan, C Spillane, G Reynolds. Replacements: C Kenny for Hogan (39 mins); G Mumalashvili for Mpiko (56 mins); B Matthews for Ryan (58 mins); L Morgan for Hughes (63 mins); S Olusa for Cuffe (69 mins).
Referee: S McCann, Leinster Branch.
LEINSTER SCHOOLS VINNIE MURRAY SENIOR CUP SEMI-FINALS
NUI Maynooth - Newbridge College 15 (I Briody try; Pen try; R Mullen pen, con); King's Hospital 0.
At Seapoint RFC - St Andrew's College 13 (Stephen Locke, Luke du Renzy try each; P Crowley pen); Wesley College 9 (T Hawe 3 pens).