Holders Belvedere take their time in seeing off Newbridge challenge
Dublin school’s forward strength eventually pays dividends at Donnybrook
Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup Second Round, Donnybrook, Dublin 19/2/2018Belvedere College vs Newbridge CollegeNewbridge College’s Luke Rigney falls just short of the lineMandatory Credit ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Belvedere College’s Matthew Grogan on his way to scoring a try in the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup quarter-final against Newbridge College at Donnybrook Stadium. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho
Belvedere College 23 Newbridge College 7
Holders Belvedere eventually wore down Newbridge in their Leinster Schools Senior Cup quarter-final at Donnybrook on Monday.
The non-descript first half was punctuated by mistakes and poor handling as neither school could put together a series of phases to really stress defences.
The closest Belvedere got to a breakthrough was in the early going when prop James Gleeson was gang-tackled into touch after a smart lineout move.
Newbridge must have felt aggrieved when their prominent prop Luke Rigney charged forward from a five-metre lineout to reach for the line.
The decision of referee Gary Conway not to rule it a try was debatable.
Eventually Belvedere were able to force the issue and replacement Neil Howard, on for the injured Alekseiy Soroka, blasted over from close range for the lead right on half-time.
This was the go-ahead score that looked like leading to Belvo taking over until Newbridge fullback Donal Conroy intercepted from 90 metres away to go all the way for outhalf Luke Maloney to convert for a 7-5 lead in the 38th minute.
All the while, the Kildare school, led by the inspired Cian Prendergast, was battling against a serious size differential.
They stayed in the fight as long as they could until the Belvo’s set-piece started to take over.
Flanker Gerard Hill made a dent and loosehead Gleeson followed up as they carried hard to go close.
The champions regrouped from the five-metre scrum to earn a penalty which fullback David Lacey kicked for an 8-7 lead in the 50th minute.
Their forwards grew in influence, Gleeson powering over in the 56th minute ahead of Lacey’s penalty and centre Cailean Mulvaney’s stunning individual try, converted by Lacey.
BELVEDERE: D Lacey; A O’Grady, M Grogan, C Mulvaney, A Loughrey; J Leonard, T Walsh; J Gleeson, L Harmon, C Cagney; A Soroka, J Murphy; G Hill, A Coleman, R Byron (capt).
Replacements: N Howard for Soroka (26 mins); P Lysaght for Walsh, J Meagher for Leonard (both 49); J Bell for Gleeson, M Gallinski for Cagney, C Scott for Murphy (all 56); G O’Brien for Grogan, A Synnott for Harmon (both 66).
NEWBRIDGE: D Conroy; C Creedon, K Fitzgerald, E Conroy, D O’Connor; L Maloney, J Doyle; T Grant, L Kelly, L Rigney; D Morrissey, C Prendergast (capt); O Halpin, H O’Neill, M Cleary.
Replacements: R Scully for Rigney (38 mins); M Moynihan for Halpin (44); C McGroary for O’Neill (49); G McNelis for Kelly, T Sheedy for E Conroy, D Caulfield for O’Connor (all 50); S Cahill for Creedon (65); R Finan for Doyle (67).
Referee: G Conway (Leinster Branch).