Leinster Schools Cup draw: Belvedere to meet Gonzaga

The Junior Cup draw sees a mouthwatering first round tie of Blackrock and St Michael’s

Belvedere College captain Max Kearney lifts the Leinster Schools Senior Cup after they won the title in 2017. Photo: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Belvedere College captain Max Kearney lifts the Leinster Schools Senior Cup after they won the title in 2017. Photo: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

 

Serious business now. The senior Leinster coach was on hand to draw champions Belvedere College against Gonzaga in the Bank Of Ireland Schools Cup.

Stuart Lancaster was joined by Dave Kearney, whose Clongowes team lost a final 10 years ago, and Dan Leavy, who lit up the competition for three seasons and may well feature for the province’s professional outfit this Saturday against Exeter at the Aviva stadium.

The pathway is clear. See powerful St Fintan’s prop Jack Aungier going straight into the Leinster academy this summer, along with scrumhalf Hugh O’Sullivan (used as a fullback by Belvedere).

A flock of players spend a year in the sub academy or they are redirected to the other provinces as they have been unable to match the Leinster talent streams in recent times.

Leavy’s St Michael’s travelled up the Rock road to defeat Blackrock last month to send out a warning to all comers.

They have produced yet another gargantuan set of forwards like lock Matt Healy. From the podium, Leavy name checked openside Scott Penny and centre Dave Ryan as players to watch out for in 2018.

St Michael’s against Terenure is expected to be the first game televised live on eir Sport from Donnybrook in late January. Blackrock have drawn Castleknock College in round one.

The Junior Cup has the usual final on the opening slate with Blackrock meeting St Michael’s out the gate.

Bank of Ireland have extended their sponsorship of the competition and Leinster until 2023.

“Recently I coached the teachers and club coaches,” said Lancaster as his role within the province begins to leave traces similar to the deep rooted influence of Joe Schmidt since 2010. “There is unbelievably good coaching going on. You can see it from the games. I’m just trying to add some value, show what I’ve learned, and help bring players through the system.

“We have academy players who come up and train with us and it surprises me to see how good they are age just 18. Yeah, there is a pipeline coming through.”

Ross O’Carroll-Kelly’s alter ego Paul Howard was spotted among the coaches/teachers present at last night’s draw in Grand Canal Square.

“I’m open to coaching offers, by the way,” was Ross’ only official comment.

Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup

First Round: A: Belvedere v Gonzaga; B: Terenure v St Michael’s; C: Vinnie Murray Qualifier 2 v Cistercian, Roscrea; D: St Fintan’s HS v St Gerard’s; E: Blackrock v Castleknock; F: Newbridge v Pres Bray; G: Clongowes Wood v Vinnie Murray Qualifier 1; H: St Mary’s v St Andrew’s.

Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Junior Cup

A: Cistercian, Roscrea v Terenure; B: Fr Godfrey Qualifier 2 v St Gerard’s; C: Gonzaga v Castleknock; D: St Michael’s v Blackrock; E: Clongowes Wood v Temple Carrig; F: CUS v Belvedere; G: Newbridge v St Mary’s; H: CBC Monkstown v Fr Godfrey Qualifier 1.

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