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A large and vociferous crowd watched an error-strewn McCrea Cup semi final at Gibson Park. Grosvenor started the more adventurous side and took the lead with a successful penalty from Timmy McMullan. A decisive clean break saw the home side look certain to open their try account but a simple two on one was spurned and the chance went abegging . Academy's strong scrummaging unit was the dominant factor and they drew a stream of penalties from this source as well as a few breakdown ones. Their kicker levelled the scores with a simple kick and while it was Grosvenor making the chances, Academy were full value for a 3-3 scoreline. A Timmy McMullan break from inside his 22 was carried on by Peter Davison who carried the movement for 70 metres, but staunch defence from Academy held the rampant Grosvenor backs out. The Grosvenor pressure continued and a clever miss out pass from Adam Skelton saw Jordan Brown race over for an unconverted try, 8-3 to the home team. Poor kick off reception allowed Academy to get back into the game and their scrumhalf goaled the second of his two penalties to bring the score to 8-6. Grosvenor looked to have extended their lead with a try from Peter Davison but the referee inexplicably called held up and came back for a Grosvenor penalty which was subsequently knocked on. The half time whistle went and Grosvenor held an 8-6 lead.
The second half followed the pattern of the first, with Academy scrummaging strongly and the home backs looking the more likely unit to score. From a turnover, Adam Skelton scored a magnificent solo try and Timmy McMullan converted 15-6. With Academy behind by 9 points, Grosvenor needed to control the ball and manage the game accordingly but a charge down gave Academy a try and the conversion brought the score back to 15-13. In a tense finish , it was the Grosvenor captain, Andrew Kelly, who made the decisive break to put Timmy McMullan in for a try which he converted 22-13.
This was a game where there were many mistakes by the home side but it is unnecessary to analyse a winning semi final. Andrew Kelly was head and shoulders above any other player on this pitch. His outstanding contribution made him an easy candidate for MOM.
Grosvenor will meet Queens IIs in the final at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday 23 April 2.30pm kick-off and all support is welcome.