A TRY in either half from Ross Bailey-Kearney helped Kilkenny College pass a stern examination of their form and move into the second round of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup.
That double from their centre proved to be the difference as the city side were pushed all the way to the victory line by a determined Presentation Bray at wind-swept Ashbourne on Monday.
Scores proved hard to come by as the weather frustrated both sides, but Kilkenny made a late first half dash for the line count. Bailey-Kearney dragged them into the lead close to half-time crossing the line for opening try that left Kilkenny 5-0 up at the interval.
Bray were far from out of the game, pulling closer in the second half through the boot of outhalf Diarmuid Masterson, who converted a penalty after a spell of pressure that left the game hanging in the balance (5-3).
Kilkenny managed to hold the upper hand when to possession and territory, but the two-point gap meant that nerves were on edge as the game moved into the final quarter. They weren’t helped by the concession of two more penalties conceded within Masterson’s range, but Kilkenny were relieved to see Bray spurn both opportunities, one kick slipping past the outside of an upright.
The College stepped up their efforts after those let-offs, adding to their advantage when Bailey-Kearney bagged his second try just after the 50 minute mark.
Although Kilkenny missed the conversion, the damage had been done. There was no way back for Bray from here.
Kilkenny College - H. Rhys-Thomas, S. Williams, S. Sterling, R. Bailey-Kearney, T. Bulfin, B. Ridgeway, C. Miller, J. Baker, C. Ruddock, J. Paton, G. Hastings, C. Hanbidge, E. Horan, M. Triggs, R. Stanley. Subs: J. Holland-Brennan for Hanbidge, S. Pim for Horan.
Presentation Bray - J. Keating, C. Martin, D. Henderson, J. Curran, D. Cassidy, D. Masterson, D. Molloy, J. Carney, L. Barrett, C. Pearse, M. Thompson, J. Hayes, J. Walsh, L. O’Flynn-Martin, H. Armstrong. Subs: C. Byrne for Carney, M. Burton for Walsh, J. O’Connor for Molloy.