Tuesday 20 March 2007

Six of the best for Andrew's - 13/1/05 - The Irish Times

Miserable conditions tend to lend themselves to cup surprises and so it proved yesterday as St. Andrew's mastered the difficult conditions at Lakelands to advance to the second round of the Leinster School's Cup.

With a typical Lakeland's howler blowing straight down the pitch into the clubhouse end, it was the Booterstown school who adapted so much the better. With the wind advantage in the first half they used the boot to considerable effect, and on the restart, their ball retention enabled them to protect their lead.

In a real squad performance, involving some 20 players, they eventually frustrated highly fancied Newbridge into submission to ensure a deserved victory.

Their team ethic was phenomenal but the overall impact of Felix Jones at out-half and James McDermott at No 8 were significant in ensuring victory for those in blue and white.

Backed by the powerful gale it took St. Andrew's just eight minutes to get off the mark when McDermott charged down David Ahearne's attempted clearance and forced the penalty. Jones used the wind expertly and stroked the resultant kick in off the left upright from fully 40 metres.

Jones and half back partner Michael Evans continued to probe for position and worked the best oppurtunity of the half, but all-action flanker Darragh O'Connell was unable to release Matthew Byers and the chance was lost.

Newbridge had one similar oppurtunity subsequently when out-half Ahearne, their most accomplished footballer, broke through in midfield before sending John Kavanagh racing towards the Andrew's 22. However, some clever defending by Simon Flett and James Murphy forced the centre back inside just as wing William Ryan, much like Byers earlier, appeared poised to strike.

It was to be the last try scoring opportunity of the game as a second successive penalty (31 minutes) representing the extent of the scoring.

Andrew's excellent defence limited Newbridge to just a single Ahearne penalty which rebounded back off the upright which rather summed up their afternoon and they never looked like producing the converted try that could have snatched victory. For Andrew's, joy was unconfined at the finish but any other outcome would have been a travesty.

Tony Ward

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