Friday 23 March 2018

'Bridge hit for six by St Michael's

IT is sixth time lucky for very few. Coach Andy Skehan numbers among them as St Michael's won the Leinster Schools Junior Cup against Newbridge in a 10-5 thriller last Sunday after five successive final defeats.

Skehan was the thread through the six years:

"Yeah, it was my sixth year. It was absolutely fantastic. It was all about this team and they got it done themselves. It is a reflection on where the school is going in the last six years," he said.

What was the difference this year from the five that went before them? "I do think this is the best of the six teams. I thought that going into the tournament.

"We've had some really good sides in my time in 2007 and 2009. I do think that this one has the edge. The main difference is James Ryan, the captain," answered Skehan.

The giant number eight was a source of go-forward all day behind a solid front row, led by hooker Gavin Barrett, against a superb 'Bridge back-row of Ciaran Callan, Luke Menton and Oisin Kelly.

"It looks like James tore his medial ligaments in the first half. He didn't tell any of the doctors. He got through the game somehow," divulged Skehan.

"There was a big want to win because of the experience of what had gone on before them. There were six players from last year's 22 involved on Sunday."

St Michael's did not underestimate Newbridge for one minute. They couldn't afford to, based on their recent history.

"We have played Newbridge three times over this six-year period in the Cup.

"In 2007, we beat them by two. Last year, we beat them by four.

"This year's final was our biggest margin over them," he said.

St Michael's: M O'Shea; J Kelly, O O'Meara, M Deegan, A Brennan; R Cosgrave, D Duggan; R Mulvihill, G Barrett, R Kelleher, E O'Nuaillain, J Browne, B Fitzpatrick, G Croke, J Ryan (capt). Replacements: K Browne for O'Shea 35 mins;

Newbridge: R Cleary; G Burke, J Howlett, R Buckley, J Healy; J O'Brien (capt), M Delaney; M Doyle, T O'Neill, O Larkin, P Condon, P Morrin, O Kelly, L Menton, C Callan. Replacements: D Delahunt for Condon 29 mins, temp and 44 mins.

Referee: A Lynch (Leinster Branch).

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