Junior Cup quarter-final preview
February 25, 2017 12:00 pm Site Editor
Belvedere College v Clongowes Wood College, Donnybrook 3pm (Monday)
Clongowes Wood College made a big impression in their Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Junior Cup first round match.
Cistercian Roscrea may have offered little resistance, but it was the way the Clane school ruthlessly exposed them to win 40-0.
The arrowhead of a fine attack was powerful outside centre Christopher Grimes, a real beast on the ball, in grabbing two of their half-dozen tries, while their defence remained impenetrable.
This is not just a one-man show, however, as captain Calum Dowling, on the openside, and number eight Barry Dooley served notice of an all-round force.
Belvedere remain something of an unknown quantity for the simple fact they ended the involvement of the ultimate unknown quantity Temple Carrig, a brand new school out in Greystones, in the first round.
However, the boys from Greystones had looked mighty impressive in cruising into the Fr Godfrey Cup Final. They were all set to provide a test for the Great Denmark Street school.
Their challenge never really got going as Belvo didn’t fall into the trap of taking them lightly. There was no sign of complacency in a 31-0 win out in Coolmine RFC.
The game was as good as gone at half-time as the Black & Whites led 24-0, the four tries coming from Arthur Moran, Eoin McAdaimh (2) and Daniel Hawkshaw, their final blow being struck by Simon Murphy.
Blackrock College v Gonzaga College, Donnybrook 3pm (Tuesday)
Blackrock were given just what they wanted in a serious test from Terenure for what was, by far, the best match of the first round.
They dropped to 6-0 behind in the opening 10 minutes before settling down to shut out ‘Nure, while building the points for a 15-6 win.
Gonzaga will be a handful as they look to follow their seniors into the semi-final where they too will meet ‘Rock.
Their captain Arthur Henry is another one of the superb outside centres in the competition.
His biggest strength is just that – his strength – with a long, powerful fend which is very effective in keeping defenders at arm’s length.
They were well-worth their 19-5, three tries-to-one win over St Gerard’s.
Second row Conor Carson is not afraid to mix it up in the open spaces and number eight Hugo Fitzgerald is a canny operator from the base.
Newbridge College v Wesley College, Donnybrook 3pm (Wednesday)
League winners Newbridge were as good as their pre-Cup form suggested in getting over St Mary’s 21-0 in the first round.
It was their capacity to absorb pressure that was most eye-catching. They were patient and persistent without the ball, seeming to have a good understanding of when to strike.
They were able to keep St Mary’s pointless even though they lost two boys to yellow cards.
Their centre John Shanahan is the key to their attack as a source of go-forward with speed men further out in James Gaire and Donal Conroy.
Wesley have always relished the role of the underdog.
They will endeavour to do what St Mary’s could not, by jumping out to an early lead and finding out how Newbridge react to having to come from behind.
The Fr Godfrey Cup finalists took care of St Andrew’s 22-7 in their first outing.
Full-back Jamie Metchette is a dangerous strike runner, knowing when to make his presence felt on the ball.
They have true leadership up front from hooker Jamie Kavanagh, lock Tadgh O’Neill and number eight Peter Costello.
St Michael’s College v Kilkenny College, Donnybrook 3pm (Thursday)
The hottest of favourites, based on the fact they were unbeaten all season, St Michael’s are a team of talents.
It truly is one of those rare occasions where there are too many threats to manage one or two exclusively.
Perhaps, the best illustration of their resources comes through their formidable centre partnership.
The star man in Christopher Cosgrave, also their goal-kicker, is a beautifully balanced runner blessed with genuine speed.
The boy inside Cosgrave is Tim Gilsenan, a more direct physical option, not short on skills either.
They were very good in beating Castleknock 35-10 in the first round, a match in which the northsiders played close to their potential.
There was a distinct impression St Michael’s have more gears to go to should they be needed.
And they will.
Kilkenny are nobody’s chopped liver. They were just outdone 22-20 in the Leinster League final by Newbridge.
Their reaction to this setback was to come out and whitewash CBC Monkstown 30-0 in their first round on the basis of an aggressive defence.
Full-back Matthew Hodgins is a flowing runner and took most of the plaudits with a hat-trick outside the play-making of out-half Charlie Tector.
They have a feisty pack, led by hooker Darragh O’Reilly, their captain, and a combative back row of Noah Pim, Glen Culbert and Chris Reynolds.