Newbridge College Junior Cup Team matched the first round result of the schools’ Senior side when they played out a 5 : 5 draw with St Gerard’s of Bray in the Premier Section of the Leinster Schools Junior Cup last Wednesday. These two teams met once before in the league playoff match. On that occasion Newbridge won by the tightest of margins on a scoreline of 8 points to 7 so this was bound to be another tight game.
Played in Kilternan, the home of DLSP RFC, this was a strange venue for the game what with its proximity to the Bray school. (Apparently the phrase “neutral ground” can be stretched on such occasions!). Thankfully the large Newbridge support led by our excellent band of cheerleaders, took away any sense of playing away from home as we outnumbered the Gerard’s fans by at least three to one.
The Bray school started very well and were ahead within ten minutes when they scored a great try after they had put together a string of phases. Newbridge heads dropped as the entire team came under pressure but Ciaran O’ Neachtain and David Rigney shone in defence with some bone crunching tackles. Slowly Newbridge worked themselves back into the game with Kevin Mahon making great ground every time he got possession of the ball. And then the breakthrough came for Newbridge just before half time when they pressed the Gerard’s line hard. The Bray school gave up a penalty in front of the posts for offside. Scrumhalf Peter Osbourne took a quick tap and two phases later Number 8 William O’ Brien dived in to score.
In the second half, Newbridge looked the better side with Shane Feeley and Brett Cella standing out for special mention. However, to their credit St. Gerard’s battled hard and defended with great passion. They held Newbridge to just one opportunity from a penalty but Osbourne couldn’t convert the chance in hard kicking conditions to put Newbridge into the lead. Actually, in the final play of the game Gerard’s had a great chance to score but their outhalf picked the wrong side to attack and the move broke down.
The replay has been set for Monday 4th February at 2:30 in Westmanstown, home of the Garda Sports Club.