The Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup has been pared down to the quarter-finals.

First up on Sunday, favourites Blackrock College will be wary of Terenure College and Leinster League winners Gonzaga College will showdown with Wesley College on Monday.

Newbridge College will try to run Belvedere College off their feet on Tuesday and St Mary’s College or Kilkenny College will complete the semi-final picture on Wednesday.

A reminder to all patrons that Energia Park is now a cashless stadium and tickets can be purchased in advance HERE.

Blackrock College v Terenure College – Sunday, 6 March (Energia Park, KO 12pm)

There should be a large crowd at this one, even for such an early start to the first of the quarter-finals.

The stakes couldn’t be much bigger when perennial rivals Blackrock and Terenure meet at high noon.

The problem for Terenure is that they have not been able to match potential to delivery of late. It has been a long time since they won two Senior Cups in three years in 2001 and 2003.

The best they could manage was to make the 2009 final where they lost to – that’s right! – Blackrock.

As always, they are bruising in battle, always willing and, usually, able to go toe-to-toe in the trenches.

This is where captain Darragh Brooks excels as their frontline leader in behind a fiery front-five anchored by tighthead Tim Staunton and lock Cuan Doyle.

The combination of Brooks, Sean Ruane and Ultan Byrne in the back row is formidable as a barrier to progress on the gain line.

The back division can be a weapon as long as half-backs Cillian Kearney and Jack Grimes have the platform to bring centre Yago Fernandez-Vilar and full-back Jim Kennedy into the flow of their attack.

The way they dismantled St Fintan’s High School 47-3 in the first round spoke to a well-drilled unit that trades on being more than the sum of their parts.

Blackrock are lined with an array of Leinster Schools and U-19 interprovincials.

It starts with the older heads in Leinster U-19 hooker Gus McCarthy, tighthead Patrick McCarthy, blindside Liam Molony, centre Hugh Cooney and out-half Zach Quirke.

The big play capacity of Patrick McCarthy is the single most outstanding aspect of any of their talented individuals.

It is the tendency to always be around the ball that marks him out as an exceptional reader of the game.

They were stretched to the limit by St Michael’s College (25-20) in the first round and, in the long run, that will give coach Justin Vanstone more avenues to push for improvement.

There is more to come from a three-quarter line that was mostly kept in check, despite the threat of Luke Kritzinger at 12 and Ruben Moloney at full-back.

Blackrock College:
15. Ruben Moloney
14. Andrew Quinn
13. Hugh Cooney
12. Luke Kritzinger
11. Eoghan Walsh
10. Zach Quirke
9. Oliver Coffey

1. Max Holmes
2. Gus McCarthy – Captain
3. Paddy McCarthy
4. Tom Brigg
5. Alex Mullan
6. Liam Molony
7. Inigo Cruise-O’Brien
8. Kevin Jackson

Replacements:
16. Mikey Yarr
17. Cian O’Brien
18. Andreas Andersson
19. Conor Tonge
20. Jack Angulo
21. Will Fitzgerald
22. Conor O’Shaughnessy
23. Paddy Van Zuydam

Terenure College:
15. Jim Kennedy
14. Regan Gallaher
13. Matthew Vaughan
12. Yago Fernández Vilar
11. James Clarke
10. Jack Grimes
9. Cillian Keaney

1. Alex Cashman
2. Keith Byrne
3. Tim Staunton
4. Cuan Doyle
5. Oisin Shannon
6. Darragh Brooks – Captain
7. Seán Ruane
8. Ultan Byrne

Replacements:
16. Sean Keegan
17. Matthew Lydon
18. Josh Delaney
19. Ben Nolan
20. Matthew Somerville
21. Peter MacNamara
22. Harvey O’Leary
23. Tom Murray

Gonzaga College v Wesley College – Monday, 7 March (Energia Park, KO 3pm)

There is a lot of intrigue around this quarter-final match-up as progressive Gonzaga start as favourites over dark horses Wesley.

The Leinster League form would rank ‘Zaga well ahead of their opponents, claiming a fourth title in five years, a level of unquestionable dominance.

Their ultimate goal has been compromised by the loss of the electric Davy Colbert from the campaign.

Fellow Ireland Schools candidate Hugo McLaughlin has taken on the mantle of responsibility at 15, rocking Clongowes in the first round with his thumping carrying game.

There is real bump up-front in tighthead George Morris, captain Noah Maguire and No 8 Paul Wilson driving a high energy, high discipline attitude.

The shock of the first round came from Wesley’s utter 30-10 dominance of interprovincial-stacked Cistercian College, Roscrea.

However, there was a strong sense of a superbly organised and disciplined defence.

The speed of the rush suggested coaches Patrick Collins and ex-professional Craig Ronaldson know how to get their message across.

They couldn’t do it without the talent to go with the tenacity and there is plenty of it around the field.

The bulk and bash of hooker Ryan Jones and tighthead Aran Lowry caused nightmares for Roscrea in establishing the gain line.

The work rate and buy-in from the eight is exemplary and in loose forwards, Dan Campbell, the captain, and Oran Handley, Wesley has two lead-by-example types.

The ferocious pressure defence is married with a touch of gold dust by centre Toby Durham and full-back Matthew Golden as obvious targets for the half-backs Kameron Moran and Johnny Cazzini.

Gonzaga College:
15. Hugo McLaughlin
14. Hugo Neville
13. Hugh Goddard
12. Jody Browne
11. Oscar O’Neill
10. Stephen McMahon
9. Michael Sullivan

1. Toby Hammond
2. Tim Cotter
3. George Morris
4. Thomas Murphy
5. Luke O’Callaghan
6. Noah Maguire – Captain
7. Gavin O’Donnell
8. Paul Wilson

Replacements:
16. Adam McVerry
17. Luke McLaughlin
18. Tomas Noone
19. Tom Wyley.
20. Morgan Tyrell
21. Oisin Murray
22. Mikey Wall
23. Aidan O’Flanagan

Wesley College:
15. Matthew Golden
14. Finn Nolan
13. Toby Durham
12. Jamie Fish
11. Jamie Crooks
10. Jonathan Cazzini
9. Kameron Moran

1. Sean Foulds
2. Ryan Jones
3. Aaron Lowry
4. Hugo Hjelseth
5. Jamie Walsh
6. Liam O’Neill
7. Tom Geoghegan – Captain
8. Oran Handley

Replacements:
16. Shane Pedlow
17. Rian Handley
18. Chris Collins
19. Milo Campbell
20. Luca Clinton
21. Hugo Girardi
22. Reid Cockrell
23. Cian Mitchell Doyle

Newbridge College v Belvedere College – Tuesday, 8 March (Energia Park, KO 3pm)

Newbridge are going through a golden period in the school’s long history in the cups.

The exploits of their Juniors has been almost matched by the elder brethren, Johne Murphy’s young men denied a shot at their third outright title when it was shared with Clongowes Wood in 2020, due to you-know-what.

On the evidence at hand, this group does not quite have the same pedigree, although that isn’t everything when it comes to producing the goods.

Murphy’s ethos is based around giving players just enough information that they can also play what they see.

He has seen fit to include the ‘holy trinity’ of the Junior Cup-winning backline in out-half Paddy Taylor and wings Todd Lawlor and Ciaran Mangan.

The triangle of centres John Collins and Tom Waters and full-back Calum Bolton covers a lot of ground.

The bulk of the responsibility rests on the shoulders of the pack where captain Kieran Kelly is a real glue guy in the back row.

Second row Shane Treacy, a fine athlete, is capable of eye-catching carries, props Finn Mahon and Patrick Stapleton are expected to clean the rucks and openside Ronan McGroary is a menace in and around the ruck.

Bulky Belvedere’s chances hinge around a hugely physical pack of forwards in which Alan Spicer stands out.

Quite simply, there just aren’t many men walking around with the sheer height and size of the second-row colossus, who is still available to the Leinster U-18 next year.

David Dowse is no shrinking violet either as an energetic hooker, equally adept at holding the ball at the back of maul or showing up in open country on the charge.

Loose forwards Senan Coakley and Alex Usanov are more than useful, smart enough to take advantage of the benefits of a powerful front five.

A functional backline is given an edge by centres Jed Tormey, the captain, and Andre Ryan with full-back Ivor Cuddy looking for mismatches coming into the line.

Newbridge College:
15. Callum Bolton
14. Todd Lawlor
13. John Collins
12. Tom Waters
11. Ciarán Mangan
10. Paddy Taylor
9. Tadhg Brophy

1. Finn Mahon
2. Mark Masterson
3. Patrick Stapleton
4. Max Barry
5. Shane Treacy
6. Kieran Kelly – Captain
7. Ronan McGroary
8. Sam Fitzgibbon

Replacements:
16. Oliver Udell
17. Denis Downing
18. Billy Bohan
19. Sam Watson
20. Ruairí Byrne
21. Shane Davitt
22. Tom Bohan
23. Calum Corcoran

Belvedere College:
15. Senan Hogan
14. Patrick O Grady
13. Andre Ryan
12. Jed Tormey – Captain
11. Daniel O Leary
10. Cameron Daly
9. Michael McGrath

1. Eoin McDermott
2. David Dowse
3. Karl Brennan
23. Eddie Rees
5. Alan Spicer
6. Woody Kinsella
7. Senan Coakley
8. Alex Usanov

Replacements:
16. Ryan Bolger
19. Conor Bateman
18. Dan Cox
4. Charlie Craig Coghlan
20. Michael Carmody
21. Ewan Smith
22. Conor O Driscoll
17. Louis Gaughan

St Mary’s College v Kilkenny College – Wednesday, 9 March (Energia Park, KO 3pm)

It would be a mistake to undersell the value of St Mary’s double-scores 48-24 defeat of Vinnie Murray Cup finalists CUS in the first round.

They have a real gem in centre Evan Moynihan, just out of the junior ranks, who picked up a pair of tries in that first outing.

Captain Daragh Gilbourne is a steady hand at the till, the Leinster U-19 orchestrating matters from the number 10 shirt.

The pack of forwards has a core of interprovincial quality through Leinster Schools tighthead Andrew Sparrow and loose forward Louis McGauran as well as the experience of Leinster U-19 second row David Leane.

Knitted around them is a group of solid characters, like flankers Aaron O’Brien and Tom McEniff and hooker Sean O’Leary.

St Mary’s never seems to lose the mental edge that allows them to stay in the fight, even when they look overmatched.

Kilkenny mastered Pres Bray (23-10) with something to spare in the first round.

It all began with an aggressive bunch of forwards that were keen to dominate from the off.

Leinster U-18 blindside Stephen Smyth operates at No 8 in a scrappy back row completed by Zach Furlong and Sam Dudley.

Hooker Ashton Botha is a ‘body on the line’ forward with large prop specimens Adam Watchorn and Adam Shirley on either side.

Locks Paddy Bramley and Mark Stanley, a thorough lineout threat, never stop working in holding down their set-piece duties and showing physicality in the loose.

It is important to note the presence of Ireland Schools out-half Sean Naughton as the pivotal part of the back division.

The tall, well-built playmaker has a big, accurate boot and a really physical centre in Harry Rogers, the captain.

On the outside, Stefan Hillebrand, Glenn O’Rourke and Andrew Moore are capable of punching in points in what should be a 50-50 contest.

St Marys College:
15. John Brennan
14. Zach Hopkins
13. Ross Moore
12. Evan Moynihan
11. Stephen Kennedy
10. Darragh Gilbourne – Captain
9. Gavin Mulvihill

1. Fionn King
2. Mark McHugh
3. Andrew Sparrow
4. Tom McEniff
5. Luke Policky
6. Aaron O’Brien
7. Luca Manselli
8. Louis McGauran

Replacements:
16. Sean O’Leary
17. Tiernan O’Shea
18. Ruadhan Smyth
19. David Leane
20. Lucca Jennings
21. Conor Tracey
22. Matthew Blake
23. Peter O’Beirne

Kilkenny College:
15. Andrew Moore
14. Dean Symes
13. Glen O’Rourke
12. Harry Rogers – Captain
11. Steffan Hillebrand
10. Sean Naughton
9. Charlie Kennedy

1. Adam Whatchorn
2. Ashton Botha
3. Adam Shirley
4. Paddy Bramley
5. Mark Stanley
6. Sam Dudley
7. Zach Furlong
8. Stephen Smyth

9. Charlie Kennedy
Replacements:
16. Finn Corcoran
17. Louis Kemp
18. Harry Peavoy
19. Jay O’Sullivan
20. Danny Benn
21. Alan Hawkins
22. Adam Cope
23. Jack Tully