There was a sense of deep disappointment within the camp when St Michael’s did not live up to their reputation in the first round win over Castleknock.

On the face of it, this might seem like a touch harsh given the 35-10 outcome and the fact ‘Knock played right up to their potential.

Sometimes it isn’t all down to what you do. There is also what the opposition can do.

This feeling of under-performance was dispelled in the 75-7 quarter-final backlash that came the way of Kilkenny.

The message was clear. The backlash happened. And the hype is real.

Leinster Schools Junior Cup

This is, by far, the best Leinster Junior Cup side to come out of St Michael’s.

This is really saying something given how they still have two considerable hurdles to clear to join their three previous winners in 1991, 2002 and 2012, all of which were achieved in one-score games.

The reason behind this bunch’s claim to future fame is not really the brilliance of outside centre Christopher Cosgrave – he accrued 38 points, including four tries, in the quarter-final – or the exceptional forward spine provided by loose-head Lee Barron, lock Jack Guinane and number eight Jack Boyle.

It is the case of any chain, or team, being as strong as its weakest link.

There is talent everywhere you examine, half-backs Jeffrey Woods and Niall Carroll conducting the orchestra of plays in behind a sizable, highly-skilled, aggressive pack and in front of a back division with the organisation to match their prowess.

Leinster Schools Junior Cup

For these very reasons, Newbridge can throw caution to the wind.

The Leinster League winners – they stumped Kilkenny 22-20 – negotiated there way past St Mary’s (21-0) in the first round and Wesley (26-5) in the quarter-final.

They have done so without hitting all the high notes and have looked like a group with so much more to give.

For instance, their centres John Shanahan, their captain, and Marcus Kiely are well capable of cracking defences.

Full-back James Gaire and left wing Daniel Silke-Fetherston have genuine speed and eyes for a gap.

The forward eight are committed to the game plan and capable to doing damage down the middle through number eight Jack O’Connell and lock Patrick O’Flaherty.

St Michael’s College v Newbridge College, Donnybrook (Monday, KO 3pm)

St Michael’s (Possible): Eddie Kelly; Simon O’Kelly, Christopher Cosgrave, Tim Gilsenan, Zach Harrison; Niall Carroll, Jeffrey Woods; Lee Barron, Conor Booth, James Power, Stephen Woods, Jack Guinane, Oscar Hurley, William Hickey (capt), Jack Boyle.

Newbridge (Possible): James Gaire; David Marshall, Marcus Kiely, John Shanahan (capt), Daniel Silke-Fetherston; Donal Conroy, Sam Cahill; Christopher Hart, Geoff McNelis, Peter Leavy, Conor Ennis, Patrick O’Flaherty, Conor McGroary, Donough Lawlor, Jack O’Connell.

The Bank of Ireland Leinster School of Excellence returns this summer for its 20th year, with camps for boys and girls aged 12-17. Find out more at

Leinster Schools of Excellence