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Monday 11 December 2017

Leavy-inspired Michael's to punish Pres

St Michael's Coll v Pres Bray, Donnybrook, Tuesday 3.0

THE pre-tournament favourites St Michael's will wait on the fitness of their Ireland U18 Schools centre Rory O'Loughlin. They got the fright of their lives in overcoming Cistercian Roscrea 7-3 after a replay. It may just prove to be the tonic they needed at the time.

They will take nothing for granted from now on. Certainly, they have in their captain Daniel Leavy the most destructive and, arguably, constructive player in the competition.

Their big, burly pack is not the most mobile, but they carry a heavy threat on the move with last year's Ireland Schools back rower Donagh Lawlor a dead ringer for Leavy and a superb operator in his own right.

Pres had to wait right to the final whistle for full-back Dermot Masterson's penalty, five minutes into injury-time, to see off Newbridge 12-10 in the first round.

They have a really natural leader in captain Kenneth Murphy. When the heat started to rise in the first round, the Leinster U19 loose-head came alive in the tight, driving the ball on relentlessly.

This is not a one-man band, however. The back row of Louis O'Flynn-Martin, Cormac O'Donoghue and David Doyle is an effective unit in front of able half-backs John Traynor and the deceptive Philip Haughton.

Verdict: St Michael's

St Michael's (Possible): C Diamond; B McDermott, R Kavanagh, B Holland, A Leavy; R Byrne, N McCarthy; A Barr, H Murray, J Lawless, R Molony, A Coleman, J Murphy, D Leavy (capt), D Lawlor.

Pres Bray: D Masterson; J Keating, D Henderson, J Curran, R Brennan; P Haughton, J Traynor; K Murphy (capt), C O'Meadhra, C Pearse, J Hayes, G Peakin, L O'Flynn-Martin, C O'Donoghue, D Doyle.

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