Leinster Schools Senior Cup Champions 2016
Belvedere College SCT
Super Belvo cut loose to banish pain Belvedere 31 Roscrea 7
Tony Ward Email Published 14/03/2016 | 02:30 For the 11th time the Cup makes its way north of the Liffey as Belvedere College established themselves second only to Blackrock in the roll of honour with this five-try victory over reigning champions Roscrea at the RDS. It rewards a particularly talented group of Belvedere players with a winning return they so richly deserve having lost two Junior Cup finals and one Senior decider. In pretty much perfect playing conditions they announced their intent early when twice declining to kick for goal and opting instead to go up the touchline in search of the opening try. Just two minutes in it came when the consistently outstanding full-back Hugh O’Sullivan touched down under the posts. Last year’s half-back partner Conor Jennings, like O’Sullivan now playing further out the line, converted and ‘mission revenge’ was well and truly underway. But with ten cup winners from last year back on board again, including six in the pack, Roscrea were never going to relinquish their hard won title lightly. Sparked by a Brian Diffley surge carried on by Fineen Wycherley and Dylan Murphy they laid siege to the Belvo line. But they could not get over it. While they will rue the number of errors in contact, they were up against a Belvedere defence on top of its game in terms of intensity and physicality in the tackle and at the breakdown, with Daniel McCaffrey, skipper Brian Egan and outstanding flanker Max Kearney leading the way. Kearney has been immense throughout this competition and in the 20th minute, the tearaway flanker raced some 60 metres on a solo run deep into the opposition 22. Following another few phases the same player got his reward when diving over for try number two and with Jennings again adding the extras, Belvo had a 14-point lead going into the break. Indeed they might have had another and a possible contender for try of the season only for a forward pass from O’Sullivan to winger James McKeown to be correctly called back. It was vital Roscrea scored next but Belvo hitting overdrive on the resumption, with poacher supreme McKeown showing extraordinary determination to cross at the corner just over a minute in. The mole-hill had become a mountain. Sweetly With Paraic Cagney and David Hawkshaw combining sweetly at half-back a flowing move in the 46th minute sent Peter Maher – as effective on the left as McKeown is on the right - racing in at
the Simonscourt corner for try number four and a 24-point lead. The Belvo adventure didn’t finish there. A brilliant piece of invention with O’Sullivan (yet again) and Hawkshaw central resulted in the supporting McKeown sprinting in under the posts for Jennings to widen the gap to 31. To their credit the defending champions had the final scoring say when Jack Culligan touched down for Alan Tynan to convert. Alas it was much too little far too late as the best squad over the course of the competition did themselves justice on the day. A title richly earned and taken with aplomb Belvedere secure an 11th Leinster Schools Senior Cup triumph Belvedere 31 Roscrea 7 Tony Ward For the 11th time the Leinster Schools Senior Cup has masde its way north of the Liffey to Dublin 1 as Belvedere College closed the gap to Blackrock in the overall roll of honour by way of a very comprehensive victory over reigning champions Roscrea at the RDS. It rewards a particularly talented group of Belvedere players with a winning return they so richly deserve having lost two Junior Cup Finals and one Senior Final in successive years between 2013-15. In pretty much perfect playing conditions, the winners announced their intent early when twice declining to kick for goal and opting instead to go up the touchline in search of the opening try. Just two minutes in it came when the consistently outstanding Hugh O’Sullivan touched down under the Roscrea posts for the first Belvo’ try of five. Last year’s half back partner Conor Jennings, like O’Sullivan now playing further out the line, converted and ‘mission revenge’ was well and truly underway. But with no fewer than 10 cup winners from last year back on board again including six in the pack the Co Offaly school was never going to relinquish this hard won title lightly. Sparked by a Brian Diffley surge carried on by Fineen Wycherley and Dylan Murphy they laid siege for the next 10 minutes deep in Belvedere territory. While they will rue the number of errors in contact and, perhaps in retrospect, admit to not quite protecting possession as they might, they will concede that they struggled to breach the Belvedere defence who played with real intensity and physicality in the tackle and at the breakdown. Daniel McCaffrey, skipper Brian Egan and outstanding flanker Max Kearney leading the way. Kearney has been immense throughout this competition and in the 20th minute, having survived the Roscrea siege, it was the tearaway flanker racing some sixty metres on a solo run deep into the opposition 22. Following another few phases the same player got his reward when diving over for try number two and with Jennings again adding the extras a fourteen point lead going into the break. Indeed they might have had another and a possible contender for
try of the season only for a forward pass from the outstanding O’Sullivan to James McKeown to be correctly called back. It was vital Roscrea scored next but much like the opening phase it was Belvo hitting overdrive with the poacher supreme in McKeown showing extraordinary grit and determination to cross at the corner just over a minute in. The mole hill had become a mountain. The exceptional Belvo adventure didn’t finish there. A brilliant piece of invention with O’Sullivan (yet again) resulted in the supporting McKeown sprinting in under the posts for Jennings to widen the gap to 31. To their immense credit the defending champions had the final say on the scoreboard when Jack Culligan touched down for Alan Tynan to convert. Alas it was much too little and far too late as the best squad over the course of the competition did themselves justice on the day. A title richly earned and taken with aplomb. Belvedere - H O’Sullivan; J McKeown, C Jennings, H Sexton (F Smith 67); P Maher; D Hawkshaw, P Cagney (R Byron 67); D McCaffrey (C Molloy 60) C Galvin (S Osborne 67), C Wynne-Walsh (J Robinson 60); H Fenlon (J Kenny 55), B Egan (Captain); S McNulty (J Iredale 55), M Kearney (F Flood 67), T De Jongh. Referee - D Blake (Leinster Referees). Online Editors
Hundreds of Belvedere fans march down O’Connell Street after Schools Cup Win
Will Slattery Published 14/03/2016 | 12:29 There were amazing scenes last night as hundreds of Belvedere College fans marched across the Liffey to celebrate their team’s Leinster Schools Senior Cup final win over Roscrea. As is tradition, the Belvo supporters marched down O’Connell street, bringing traffic to a standstill, on their way to celebrate at the school on Great Denmark Street. It was Belvedere’s 11th senior cup win, which puts them second all-time on the roll of honour, albeit a long way behind Blackrock College’s 68 trophies. The northside Dublin school avenged last year’s final defeat to Roscrea in style at the RDS yesterday, running in five tries in a 41-7 win. Wing James McKeown was again the star for Phil Werahiko’s men, touching down twice to add to the hat-trick he scored against St Michael’s in the semi-final. Previously, in the quarter-final, Belvedere knocked out pre-tournament favourites Blackrock after a replay.
Belvedere win to secure place in Senior Cup final
3 March 2016 17:30 A James McKeown hat-trick ensured Belvedere made it back to the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup final at Donnybrook on Thursday in what was a cracking contest. The first thing St Michael’s did was to move the ball left to let Belvedere know they would be tested all away along the line. The Black & Whites kept the ball closer from an inside ball from Paraic Cagney to Tom de Jongh and, when all options had been closed down, centre Conor Jennings probed the corner. That was alright by St Michael’s as Oisin Dowling claimed a lineout and out-half Harry Byrne found a lengthy touch. When referee John Carvill didn’t spot a first knock-on, St Michael’s hit in to shake another ball loose. The scrum was rock solid and Byrne was shaping the attack well with Jack Kelly making good decisions on the ball by not taking too much on himself. The first sign of a crack came when the lively Belvo’s quicksilver Cagney took a hole through the middle requiring the swarm of defence. Then, right wing James McKeown ghosted through on the left to exchange passes with Conor Jennings for a super try. Centre Jennings converted from the left for 7-0 in the 10th minute. This didn’t seem to bother St Michael’s too much, rebounding well for the three-quarters to make ground and flanker Scott Penny to come close. It all concluded with an infringement in the shadow of the sticks for Byrne to make it 7-3 in the 14th minute. Centre James Hickey picked off a penalty on the floor. Belvo’s captain Brian Egan stole a lineout. The ball was whisked left where Michael Heaney took care of Peter Maher. Then, St Michael’s Jack Dunne won a ball against the throw only for their breakout to breakdown when Oisin Dowling spilled the pill. The scrum produced a penalty when Ronan Kelleher caved in and Jennings struck from 30 metres for 10-3 in the 20th minute. St Michael’s Barry Fitzpatrick was rocked by Egan to set up a tremendous attack which needed Penny’s shoulder to drive out-half David Hawkshaw into touch. The pressure at the lineout was turned into something more by flanker Max Kearney’s charge and Cagney was on hand to punch in the try for Jennings to convert for 17-3 in the 24th minute. There looked to be nothing on when St Michael’s came late and left. They were outnumbered. But, Kelly showed evasion and strength to get within touching distance. A penalty was their unsatisfactory reward and their maul was driven back ten metres from St Michael’s starting point until Byrne’s pass was too hot for wing Heaney. It must have been disheartening for the boys in blue to play such expansive rugby without making the vital breakthrough. When Kelly came fast and hard, the recycle ended
with Kearney hammering into Jack Dunne. Byrne tickled a chip over the top and Belvo were penalised when pulling down a jumper for Byrne to slide his penalty a shade right of the posts to leave it 17-3 at the interval. It all restarted with the same trend, St Michael’s taking and keeping the ball until the scavengers arrived to execute a turnover for Cagney to find touch with a fine kick. Soon, Kearney was moving across the gain line, the pass not finding Egan. It wasn’t long before Hawkshaw tore through the middle, but could not hold the ball under pressure from Jeff O’Loughlin. Byrne took a gap from deep. The reverse ball went to ground and Belvedere were on the front-foot again. From a set play, Jennings cut a fine line through the centre. Hugh Sexton was there in support and the final pass put McKeown galloping to the right corner for 22-3 in the 44th minute. There was no way back from there, not on the evidence of Belvedere’s steel curtain of a defence. It took a typically resilient drive from Kelly through bodies to put St Michael’s in position to force a penalty. Byrne went for the corner. The maul came cleverly for hooker Stephen Judge to peel away and the leg drive of Dowling was key to Kelly going over on the left. Fly-half Byrne converted from wide on the left for 22-10 in the 51st minute. It took the agility of Dunne at the ruck to prevent Belvedere getting into their stride. The inside ball made Belvedere check their advancing defence as centre Ian O’Kelly almost got through.
Belvedere edge Blackrock as students serve up another classic
Down to 14 and trailing in the first half Belvedere rallied for a place in last four Belvedere College progressed to the last four of the Leinster Senior Cup on Monday. Belvedere College 35 Blackrock College 29 It took a replay to separate these two in what’s been an all-time classic Leinster Schools Senior Cup quarter-final - with Belvedere eventually edging it at Donnybrook on Monday afternoon. Usually, the second helping doesn’t quite live up to the first on occasions when so much is expected, especially from men so young. Second Captains But from first whistle to last, this had the large crowd rising in unison in the stand to appreciate the tempo and tenacity of the entertainment. The wide passing game of Belvedere, where outhalf David Hawkshaw and centre Hugh Sexton were their primers, was their secret to success. It was a high risk strategy that could have turned to disaster were the ball to be flung slightly out of range of the receiver. It was a case of a coach, Phil Werahiko, putting his trust in the skills of his players. The first time they used it,
the connection ate up territory which Belvedere were able to translate into a try for centre Conor Jennings from Sexton’s offload down the short side. This was the trigger for Blackrock to reveal the biggest weapon in their arsenal as flanker Hugo Burke held the ball at the tail of a maul for the first of his hat-trick of tries in the twelfth minute. It would be too simplistic to define it as a match of magic against muscle. The Williamstown school had many strike runners to draw on, none netter than centre Gavin Mullin and fullback James McGowan in behind a wonderful one-on-one between the scrum-halves Luke Gaffney and Paraic Cagney. The sizzling footwork of outhalf Conor Dean and Burke’s second armchair ride to the line gave ‘Rock a two-score lead (19-8), the latter coming just after Belvedere’s Sean McNulty had been binned in what looked like a decisive move in the 26th minute. It was then the Back and Whites who reeled off 15 unanswered points with wing Peter Maher striking for two wonder tries and Jennings adding five from placed balls for a 23-19 lead at the break. The pace simply never let-up. But, it was Burke’s comfort at the back of another maul and McGowan’s ice-cool conversion that turned the tables yet again. It just went on. Give and take. Tit for tat. Belvedere’ number eight Tom de Jongh’s fine line onto the ball and power generated beyond the gain line was too much to handle. Jennings conversion made it 30-26 in the 47th minute. The impact of Hawkshaw in getting two touches in one movement was the key to opening the door and worked to Belvedere’s benefit as they had the breathing space of holding a two-score lead. Blackrock simply went back to their patterns. McGowan smacked a penalty to set up a grandstand finish in which Max Kearney had to make a bone-crunching tackle to cut off the supply line to Blackrock’s speed men. It was rugby from the Gods as Blackrock countered yet again against a body-onthe-line defence which just about held out. From here, Belvedere will need every one of the ten days to their semi-final showdown with St Michael’s. Belvedere: H O’Sullivan; J McKeown, C Jennings, H Sexton, P Maher; D Hawkshaw, P Cagney; D McCaffrey, C Galvin, C Walsh, H Fenlon, B Egan (capt), S McNulty, M Kearney, T de Jongh. Replacements: Replacements: J Iredale for McNulty, J Kenny for Fenlon both 60 mins; F Flood for Cagney 67 mins. Blackrock: J McGowan; P Patterson, G Mullin, L Turner, C Kelly; C Dean, L Gaffney; E Burns, S McLaughlin, R Mouatt, C O’Flaherty, C Ryan, R Dunne, H Burke, C Doris (capt). Replacements: G Coyne for Mouatt 33 mins - temp; J Fairley for Burke 47 mins; F Power for Kelly, J Gardiner for O’Flaherty, P Cullen for Gaffney all 60 mins; H Egleston for McLaughlin, C Connolly for Burns both 66 mins. Referee: Dermot Blake, Leinster Branch
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