Belvedere College too hot for St Andrew’s to handle
Mark Donnelly scores three tries as dominant first half sets the platform for win
Belvedere’s Ruadhan Byron goes over for a try despite the tackle of Andrew Vincent. Photograph: Inpho
Belvedere College 48 St Andrew’s College 7
Mark Donnelly was the hat-trick hero as Belvedere moved seamlessly into the Leinster Schools Senior Cup quarter-final at Donnybrook on Sunday.
There was a pace to their attack and an intensity to their blitz defence that was simply too hot for St Andrew’s to handle.
The Booterstown school were never less than committed. They had resilient forwards in captain Harry McCarthy, flanker Stephen Keane and number eight Zola Henry, backed-up by the go-forward of centre Peter Sullivan.
Their main problem however was that they could not sustain any measure of pressure long enough to put points on the board in the first-half. And in the second half it was a case of far too little, too late.
Meanwhile, Belvedere didn’t waste time in building on their physical and skill advantages.
Donnelly picked a peach of a line off scrum-half Paraic Cagney’s no-look pass for full-back Hugh O’Sullivan to convert in the third minute.
Then it was O’Sullivan’s fine line and smart inside ball which found Cagney in support for the second try of the game in the 11th minute.
St Andrew’s were short on luck too. When their second row Ben Crowley dropped the ball on the short side, Donnelly’s long stride was unstoppable for 19-0 at the break.
There were positive signs though after the break. Sullivan’s finished with conviction following his interception on halfway - Nathan Fitzpatrick converted in the 38th minute. Scores on the board at last for St Andrew’s.
This caused Belvedere to slip up the gears. Second row Oran O’Brien’s low driving body angle, aided by number eight Ruadhan Byron, made the game safe.
From there, it was a question of how many more tries for Belvedere. But St Andrew’s never dropped their heads as they battled against insurmountable possession and territory.
Replacement Harry Beggy took the most direct route to the posts to bring up the half-dozen for the champions.
Donnelly then seized on a miscommunication for his third try in the 66th minute, before out-half David Hawkshaw’s countering speed added further gloss.
Belvedere: H O’Sullivan; M Donnelly, P Maher, C Walsh, J Wilkes; D Hawkshaw, P Cagney; C Molloy, S Osborne, J Robinson, G Murray, O O’Brien, M Kearney (capt), C Doran, R Byron.
Replacements: C Byrne for Osborne, D Hill for Doran both 54 mins; H Beggy for Walsh 60 mins; A McDonnell for Molloy, J Haughey for Robinson, J O’Grady for Maher, G Petherbridge for O’Sullivan all 63 mins.
St Andrew’s: A Vincent; D Geraghty-Singleton, P Sullivan, N Fitzpatrick-Couzy, R Jordan; A O’Neill, W Hennessy; P Murray, H McCarthy (capt), D Wilson, B Crowley, D O’Connell, S Keane, R Simington, Z Henry.
Replacements: H Black for O’Neill 31 mins; N Judge for Simington, J O’Brien for Murray both 51 mins; P Perrem for O’Connell 54 mins; D Molloy for Vincent 60 mins; L Sigcau for Geraghty-Singleton 63 mins; R Kennedy for Wilson 65 mins.
Referee: G Glennon, Leinster Branch.