A sudden shower of hailstones added to the difficulty for players in the second Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Junior Cup semi-final at Energia Park on Tuesday.

The conditions did not favour free-flowing rugby, both out-halfs Harrison McMahon and Johnny Garrihy aiming to kick for position.

St Michael’s number eight Myles Berman ripped the ball away in the tackle to spark a counter which Belvedere snuffed out by keeping the ball off the floor for a turnover.

Captain Alex Clarke broke the line without the support to maintain the attack, St Michael’s benefiting from loose handling in the cold conditions.

In their first attack, a clever drive of the lineout was good for 20 metres and a try for hooker Joe Kennedy in the eighth minute.

Belvo’ centre Paul Dunne slid inside the defence on his way out of the 22, opting to kick ahead instead of feed wing David Barr.

The heavier Belvo’ forwards generated pace at a maul, leading to a penalty which Garrihy arrowed for the corner.

The backs were put to one side as the big boys carried relentlessly to the line for prop Conor Quinn to dot down for 5-all in the 18th minute.

The Great Denmark Street school was nearly in front from Rory O’Farrell’s block and recovery of the ball.

No matter, Dylan Lord shot down the short side from a scrum for the try, converted by Garrihy for 12-5 in the 21st minute.

At this point, St Michael’s had to hang in there, defend the maul and make their tackles. Easier said than done, of course.

The longer Belvedere could dictate matters, the more difficult it would become for Michael’s, even though prop Conor Canniffe pounded out the yards and Eoin Loo almost got clear on the left.

Soon, Sean King returned a kick for profit and McMahon orchestrated the attack for the forwards to take the ball up, lock Haydn Gallagher placing the ball on the line for McMahon to put St Michael’s on par at 12-all in the 42nd minute.

Then, wing Josh Divilly was binned for knocking down the ball and Belvo’ hooker Lorcan Butler powered over without grounding the ball.

St Michael’s celebrated their survival as they would a score, relieving pressure until centre Lord surged over halfway.

The Aylesbury Road school was able to camp inside the half without making the vital breakthrough.

Belvedere came again to draw a penalty at the lineout, Garrihy pulling the kick just left to set up a replay.

Scorers – St Michael’s – J Kennedy, H Gallagher try each H McMahon con.  Belvedere  – C Quinn, D Lord try each; J Garrihy con.

St Michael’s College: Sean King; Josh Divilly, Matthew Haugh, Scott Barron, Eoin Loo; Harrison McMahon, Andrew Norse (Oliver de Vreeze 37); Conor Canniffe, Joe Kennedy, Matthew Dredge (Dan O’Donohoe 37), Haydn Gallagher, Tom Reynolds (Phil Lynch 57), Setanta McLaughlin, Owen Twomey, Myles Berman (Capt).

Belvedere – Jamie Lynn; David Barr, Dylan Lord, Paul Dunne, Rory O’Farrell; Johnny Garrihy, Charlie Callaghan; Conor Quinn (Eugene Isong 57), Lorcan Butler, Ryan Grant, James Travers, Shaun Mitchell, Billy Ball (Marcus McCarthy 53), Alex Clarke (Capt), Harry Goslin.

Referee – J Flynn, Leinster Branch.