CUS Retain Vinnie Murray Cup
CUS retained the Vinnie Murray Cup in style against St Andrews at Energia Park on March 10th
Report from Leinsterrugby.ie
CUS 26 ST ANDREW’S COLLEGE 13
Catholic University School completed back-to-back titles in the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Vinnie Murray Senior Cup in the sunshine at Energia Park on Friday afternoon.
From the get-go, there was a clear intention to play on both sides as St Andrew’s out-half Francis Manzocchi split the defence and CUS full-back Jack Grant countered from deep.
Josh Perrem boys were making most of the early running with Joe Ballance and Harry MacChesney prominent, centre Ballane striking from 40 metres for the lead points in the 12th minute.
The CUS looked strong on the move until prop Jack Bourke ripped the ball away and Manzocchi cleared with aplomb.
Offloads by Charlie Byrne and Adam Tobin put St Andrew’s in behind where they couldn’t stay on their feet at the ruck.
The rise in penalties prevented both schools from building pressure. Then, a sudden burst from CUS flanker Ruben Maguire created the space for wing Sean Turner to dart over for 5-3 in the 26th minute.
St Andrew’s were almost back in front when Ballance’s long-range penalty smashed off the left upright.
When CUS determined to run out of defence, Manzocchi was there to clamp down for a penalty Ballance used to capture a 6-5 edge at the break.
It took a last-ditch tackle by Rocco Hill to stop Turner from grabbing a double, CUS staying composed enough for Hugh Quigley to ground the ball, Niall Cox’s conversion making it 12-6 in the 42nd minute.
Out-half Cox completed a maul-driven attack from a sharp line onto O’Byrne’s pass to add the conversion in the 46th minute.
St Andrew’s were playing well enough to go through the phases without having the true penetration to unlock CUS.
However, successive penalties allowed them to move into the 22 where their maul caused a problem Ballance exploited for the bounce-back seven points in the 60th minute.
It was evenly balanced from there, St Andrew’s pushing the pace and CUS tending more towards the percentage plays where the maul generated the momentum for captain Lucas Maguire to make the line, Cox converting.
Scorers – CUS – N Cox try, 3 cons; S Turner, H Quigley, L Maguire try each. St Andrew’s – J Ballance try, 2 pens, con.
CUS – Jack Grant; Sean Turner, Rian Treacy, Sean Byrne (Eamon MacNicholas 69), Senan Campbell (Jamie Collins 69); Niall Cox, Charlie O’Byrne (Josh Gordon 69); Aidan Walsh (Jude Barrett 69), Lucas Maguire (Capt, Leo Beary 69)), Conal Lohan-Kilrane, Dualta Larkin (Cathal Lynch 60), Oliver Manks (Evan Judge 46), Hugh Quigley, Ruben Maguire (Eoghan O’Reilly 32), Dylan McNeice.