Gonzaga battle back to steal cup
Gonzaga College 11
CBC Monkstown 10
The Vinnie Murray Cup is back in Gonzaga College after a one-year absence, but Monkstown will be wondering how they let a Gonzaga side that were at one stage down to 13 players overturn a seven-point lead.
Monkstown kicked off proceedings at Templeville Road and from that starting point never looked like turning over possession to their Ranelagh counterparts, Gonzaga only managing to break into the Monkstown 22 twice in the opening half.
Inspired by their fly-half and captain Aaron Sheehan, Monkstown went in at the break with a 10-3 lead.
Sheehan was the star of the first half, kicking a penalty and a conversion, along with going over for the first try of the game on the stroke of half-time, having found a gap in the Gonzaga defensive line and jinked his way through after a prolonged period of Monkstown pressure.
With only six minutes having elapsed in the new half, Gonzaga's hopes of closing the gap were dealt a blow with hooker Chris Coburn sin-binned for 'spearing'.
Minutes later and it seemed as if all hope was lost for the men in green when referee Arthur Lynch was left with no other choice but to issue Cillian McDowell a straight red. McDowell, who was on the pitch less than a minute, coming in hard and late on Monkstown right-winger Eoin Fitzpatrick.
With Gonzaga now trailing by seven and down to 13 men the result looked a certainty, with supporters only wondering how many more Monkstown would score.
The opposite happened, though, as Gonzaga suddenly came alive, Stephen Murray sending over a drop goal to reduce the deficit to four.
With the proverbial bit between their teeth Gonzaga maintained pressure on the Monkstown posts before full-back Jack Fitzpatrick went over for the game-winning try.
Scorers -- Gonzaga: S Murphy 1 pen, 1 drop goal, J Fitzpatrick 1 try. Monkstown: A Sheehan 1 try, 1 conversion, 1 penalty. Gonzaga College: J Fitzpatrick; R Lenehan, D Divney, S Murphy, S Murphy; M McPhillips, H Byrene, C Murray, C Coburn; K Hargaden, C O'Leary, H Mays, P Lavelle, M McGroarty, D Seaver-O'Leary. Replacements: C McDowell for Lavelle 47, J McDowall for Fitzpatrick 70.
CBC Monkstown: D O'Brien; E Fitzpatrick, R Hallam, J Kearns, S Woods; A Sheehan, M Rogers; R Banahan, K O'Neill, A Howard, E Keogh; A Ryan, R Keogh, D O'Toole, P Crown. Replacements: C Jordan for Fitzpatrick 48, J Kane for Ryan 69.
RefEREE: A Lynch.