Roscrea hold off Pres surge
Cistercian Roscrea 24 Pres Bray 16
This was a strange one, to say the least.
The gargantuan Roscrea forward pack bashed away without any real reward to see Pres Bray's excellent scrum-half Elliott Ryan slot a 14th minute lead penalty from the swift ruck work of his captain Joe McLaughlin.
Then, the winners simply steam-rolled their way to a 14-3 advantage on the back of power-packed play by flanker James Corcoran and number eight Luke Rigney.
First, second row Daniel Power nicked ball off the top to let Corcoran loose in the open and he was back on his feet to surge to the line for out-half Evan Browne to convert.
The Rigney-Corcoran double act was back in business to generate enough momentum for prop Kevin Fitzgerald to breach the barricades, Browne's extras taking them out to 14-3 in the 18th minute.
It was more of the same from there with more width thrown in for centres Jay Culliton and Adi Donovan to clean up tries in the 33rd and 36th minutes.
The response may have been slow in coming from Pres. But, when it did arrive, it was clinical as Ryan took advantage of a gap on the edge of a maul to convert from wide on the right.
The lighter Pres forwards appeared to handle the pace of the 3G surface better with McLaughlin, blindside Sam Graham, full-back Aaron Walsh and centre James Vance having an increasing influence.
They came calling with purpose from the impressive tactical kicking of half-backs Ryan and Mick O'Gara for the scrum-half narrow the gap to eight with penalties in the 46th and 52nd minutes.
Roscrea: R O'Halloran; B Murphy, J Culliton, A Donovan (capt), R Deacy; E Browne, L Crowley; R Lomas, J Cahir, K Fitzgerald, D Maher, D Power, M Milne, J Corcoran, L Rigney.
Replacements: D Loughnane for Maher 46 mins.
Pres Bray: A Walsh; A Conway, J Vance, N Cummins, R Byrne; M O'Gara, E Ryan; T Harbison, N Groves, B Mercado, J McGrath, L Lupton-Smith, S Graham, C McKay, J McLaughlin (capt).
Replacements: E Martin for Mercado 48 mins; S O'Dowd for Byrne 52 mins; S Myler for Graham, C Mullen for McGrath both 59 mins.
Referee: T Townend, Leinster Branch.