Belvedere College Crowned Senior Schools Champions 2016
March 13, 2016 12:00 am client
Brilliant Belvedere delivered on the promise they made from last year’s losing final to win their eleventh Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup final 31-7 in the sunshine at The RDS on Sunday against reigning champions Cistercian College Roscrea.
There was a frantic beginning exemplified by a three-man honest-to-toughness collision in pursuit of Roscrea scrum-half Keith Kavanagh’s launched ball into the air.
A turnover penalty to Belvedere was sent to the corner from where they moved the ball left where they almost cracked open a try.
They did pinch another penalty and the peel away from it to put prop Dan McCaffrey on the front-foot. They kept the ball well for full-back Hugh O’Sullivan to pounce at the posts.
Conor Jennings converted for 7-0 in the fourth minute.
This was a blow reflected in Conor Kelly’s restart going out on the full.
To their credit, Roscrea didn’t take long to recover as their forwards got into a groove, led by captain Simon Meagher.
When the moment was right they moved it left for Tynan and full-back Conor Kelly to cut back inside and go close.
They did have a penalty as compensation, going straight to touch where flanker Jack Canning claimed the ball and Michael Milne came on the charge.
The ball was knocked on there and from the next lineout-into-maul as Roscrea were a touch over-eager.
They had position and they were clever in how they came forward, making it all the way to the line only to be held up by brave Belvo’ defence.
From the scrum, Meagher picked, but Kavanagh obstructed scrum-half Paraic Cagney to concede a needless penalty.
Then, Belvedere flanker Max Kearney broke upfield brilliantly to put them back within striking distance. It was flanker Canning who claimed a crucial poach penalty.
The pressure valve was not released. Tynan just about coped with Peter Maher in the middle.
But, the recycles came hard and fast for Kearney to cleverly reach for the butt of the post for Jennings to make it a 14-point game in the 18th minute.
Belvedere plotted further gains from a scrum in the middle. They came calling at lightning speed for wing James McKeown to exchange passes with O’Sullivan, the return correctly judged forward by referee Dermot Blake.
Roscrea were cramped for space. Tynan’s dummy and kick to touch was long.
However, Belvedere countered sweetly to force a penalty at the breakdown. Jennings pulled it left in the 25th minute.
Prop Milne was making ground when David Hawkshaw ripped the ball away. This was met with stout defence at the end of which Kavanagh was forced to withdraw with an injury.
There was definite danger in how Roscrea found the front-foot and kept it with Meagher and centre Sam Hastings to the fore. They just didn’t take the same care with the ball
Roscrea needed to make something happen and their chances received another blow when flanker Brian Diffley did not come out for the second-half.
It quickly got worse when Kelly was blocked down and the ball was transferred into the hands of McKeown who fended off Joe Murphy and resisted Canning’s tackle to make it 19-0 in the 37th minute.
It took the vigilance of wing Daniel Keane to stop another raid and the Roscrea defence stood up to claim a penalty for position.
Belvedere were just superb in contact, going after the ball to force a spill from Fineen Wycherley and number eight Tom de Jongh stooped to conquer at the breakdown.
The fourth try arrived after Dylan Murphy was whistled for a high tackle.
This gave Belvedere another fine attacking position and the ball was moved out to left wing Peter Maher, who had the strength to take two tacklers over in the corner for 24-0 in the 46th minute.
The game was gone away from Roscrea. They had to make a stand. And they did.
Flanker Canning, a nephew of Galway hurler Joe, tore down the right and was the man in the van of a maul that could not get the traction it was seeking.
The holders threw caution to the wind as replacement Evan Browne made an impact and Tynan’s offload to Murphy was knocked forward.
Belvedere’s defence remained steadfast and would not countenance the concession of a try.
The willingness of Fineen Wycherley to fight on in the face of adversity was striking.
The maul finally moved menacingly, Wycherley once again pounding the fringes for Roscrea to be held up over the line for the second time
Belvo’ had the freedom of expression to move the ball from deep off a scrum for O’Sullivan to make the telling contribution, accelerating away, drawing the last defender for McKeown to wheel around behind the sticks for Jennings’ conversion.
Roscrea still had enough about them to construct a convincing attack in which they hammered around the fringes until replacement Jack Culligan squeezed over for Tynan to convert.
At Donnybrook – BELVEDERE COLLEGE 31 (J McKeown 2 tries; H O’Sullivan, M Kearney, P Maher try each; C Jennings 3 cons); CISTERCIAN COLLEGE ROSCREA 7 (J Culligan try; A Tynan con).
BELVEDERE COLLEGE 31 CISTERCIAN COLLEGE ROSCREA 7.
Belvedere: Hugh O’Sullivan; James McKeown, Conor Jennings, Hugh Sexton, Peter Maher; David Hawkshaw, Paraic Cagney; Daniel McCaffrey, Cian Galvin, Conor Wynne-Walsh, Hugh Fenlon, Brian Egan (capt), Senan McNulty, Max Kearney, Tom de Jongh.
Replacements: Jesse Iredale for McNulty, James Kenny for Fenlon both 56 mins; Cillian Molloy for McCaffrey, Jake Robinson for Wynne-Walsh both 59 mins; Sam Osborne for Galvin, Ruadhan Byron for Cagney, Fergus Flood for Kearney, Fiachra Smith for Sexton all 63 mins.
Roscrea: Conor Kelly; Daniel Keane, Philip O’Shea, Sam Hastings, Joe Murphy; Alan Tynan, Keith Kavanagh; Michael Milne, Eoghan Maher, Dylan Murphy, Fineen Wycherely, Aaron Browne, Brian Diffley, Jack Canning, Simon Meagher (capt).
Replacements: Finbarr Crowley for Kavanagh 26 mins; Jack Culligan for Diffley ht; Ben Hyland for Hastings 46 mins; Ryan Lomas for Milne, Evan Browne for Kelly both 52 mins; Cathal Walsh for Canning 58 mins; Aaron Murphy for A Browne, Darragh Treacy for Murphy both 60 mins.
Referee: Dermot Blake, Leinster Branch