Coolican leads commanding Gonzaga performance to see off Terenure

Gonzaga College 19

Terenure College 11

Sean Farrell reports from Donnybrook

THEY WERE MADE to work hard for it by a resolute Terenure defence, but Gonzaga forced their way through to the semi-finals of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup.

The Ranelagh school won out thanks to tries from Liam Tyrell, Fergus O’hOisin and Henry Godson, but they could not enjoy breathing space until that third try came from the prop with 11 minutes remaining.

Terenure found themselves pinned back in their own territory for long stretches, but their defence ensured ‘Zaga were drawn back into a feisty contest thanks to Henry Roberts’ goal-kicking.

Fergus O hOisin celebrates his try. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

After battling past Castleknock in round one, ‘Zaga picked up where they left off and opened the quarter-final scoring thanks to a sixth-minute try from lock Tyrell after an incisive break to the right-hand corner at the Bective end by centre Karl Morgan.

Jack Coolican was a menace to Terenure’s breakdown throughout, but Roberts kicked an excellent opening penalty off the back of the lock getting pinged for hands in the ruck.

Game well and truly on at that point, but despite George Morgan’s efforts to break the line, Terenure struggled to exit through a solid green wall and it was Gonzaga pressure which created the clear cut try-scoring chances in the first-half.

Centre Frank O’Grady broke for the try-line and popped a pass to his wing, but O’hOisin was unable to keep hold of the chance. After 20 minutes, a clever chip over the top from Connolly saw hooker Hugo Fitzgerald and lock Coolican narrowly beaten in the footrace by Dan Byrne.

With 24 minutes on the clock, Gonzaga forced the breakthrough to reflect their territorial dominance. Another smart break from O’Grady and a strong support line from Conor Hennessy scythed through Terenure and O’hOisin was on hand to storm home.

Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Coolican picked up a yellow card for a dangerous tackle in the minutes before half-time and Terenure were intent on making hay while he wasn’t around to slow up their ball.

Big carries from Levi Vaughan and Sam McCoy helped bring ‘Nure into the attacking third, but they were again thwarted on the ground, this time by the excellent Jack Barry, and so the score remained 12-3 through the interval.

For all the territorial advantage Gonzaga earned, their lead on the scoreboard was just six points when Coolican returned as Roberts nailed his second penalty of the day after moving in from centre to out-half for the second period.

The nerves were palpable with less than a score between the teams and Terenure centre Matthew McGettrick took full advantage of any hesitation in defence with his searing pace taking him around corners and through gaps.

Gonzaga’s Frank O’Grady and Hanry Roberts of Terenure . Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Gonzaga showed fine composure to stick to their gameplan and even tighten up further to mount huge pressure through pick and drives at the ‘Nure line before Godson made the crucial break over the whitewash and under the posts.

Though the well-structured Gonzaga were close to home and hosed, there was still time for late action as Connolly added a yellow card to his name due to a deliberate knock on to cut out Terenure’s wide attack.

The purple and white attack flourished against 14 men once more and Patsakorn Kidd rounded off a fine day at fullback with a terrific finish in the corner. However, it came too late to pull Gonzaga’s foot out of the semi-final and they can rest up while six more teams battle to join them there in the coming weeks.


Gonzaga College

Tries: L Tyrell, F O’hOisin, H Godson
Conversions: J Connolly (2/3)

Terenure College

Tries: P Kidd
Conversions: H Roberts (0/1)
Penalties: H Roberts (2/2)

Gonzaga College: Conor Henessy, Fergus O’hOisin, Frank O’Grady, Karl Morgan, Brian Barron, Harry Colbert, Jack Connolly: Henry Godson, Hugo Fitzgerald, Ronan Shaw, Liam Tyrell, Jack Coolican, Colm Kirkby O’Briain (Arthur Henry ’51), Tom Cullen, Jack Barry.

Replacements not used: Luke Hammond, George Kenny, Sean Grimley, Oscar Rogers, Max Colgan, JJ Walsh, Simon Wilson

Terenure College: Patsakorn Kidd, Dan Byrne (Jack Whelan ’35), Matthew McGettrick, Henry Roberts, Conor McElwaine (Barra Dignam ’72), George Morgan, Luke McNamara (Andi Ciobanu ’35): Levi Vaughan, Adam Dunne (Josh Keegan ’58), Sam McCoy (Adam Byrne ’50), Tom Cadell (Jack Townsend ’35), Aaron Deegan, Charlie Harpur, Conor Hayes (Tommy Farrelly ’65), Peter Larkin (Sean Daly ’58).

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