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Monday 11 December 2017

Deja vu from class out-half Mick O'Gara

Elliot Ryan of Pres Bray
Elliot Ryan of Pres Bray

There was an elegance to the way Pres Bray scrum-half Elliott Ryan connected with the ball that made you think he couldn't miss even if he wanted to.

On this day, he was picture perfect with five from five as Pres Bray moved into the draw for the Leinster Junior Cup quarter-finals.

One number further out, Mick O'Gara appeared to have what everyone wants - time on the ball.

Carrying the pill in two hands, defenders could never be certain where he would channel the attack, varying it from feeding big runners, like back-rowers Ciaran McKay and captain Joe McLaughlin or swinging it wide into the hands of the grateful quick boys.

It was O'Gara's acceleration into space and simple exploitation of a two-on-one that created the first try by James Vance in the sixth minute at Donnybrook yesterday.

arrived

Their second try arrived out of Vance's blistering pace on an arcing break to the left, his delicate kick and hauling down of Kilkenny's vigilant full-back William Seale.

From there, the scrum was immovable. The ball was handled with care by Elliott and the forwards crashing onto it until second row Lima Lupton-Smith found a gap to squeeze through in the 49th minute.

All the while, Kilkenny were fighting the good fight as captain Craig Strong lived up to his name in defence and centre Jason Rothwell decked everyone in his neighbourhood.

This was made even harder by Elliott stacking up the points as he hit three penalties to go with two conversions for 13 points.

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: R McDonald for Lupton-Smith 54 mins; C Mullen for McGrath 56 mins; C Williams for Ryan, E Martin for Harbison, D Lim for Mercado, D Brien for Conway all 59 mins.

Kilkenny: W Seale; R Daly, J Rothwell, K Kirby, B Martin; C Strong (capt), L Bradley; C Neale, D Young, A Earle, T Awonusi, A Warner, C Meenagh, M Onilenla, H Steacy.

Replacements: A Ross for Strong 21 mins - temp; S Claxton for Young ht; C Fahy-Davies for Meenagh 54 mins; T Harkin for Bradley, P Gill for Earle both 59 mins.

Referee: C Roche, Leinster Branch.

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