Terenure pressure pays late dividend

 

TERENURE COLLEGE removed a formidable obstacle in their path towards a protracted run in the Leinster Schools' Senior Cup at Donnybrook yesterday when they defeated Belvedere in a first-round tie.

Terenure, who last captured the trophy in 1993, are now strongly fancied to progress to the semifinal and a meeting with the favourites and holders, Blackrock College.

Played on a heavy surface, not helped by the decision to play a junior league match beforehand, the teams provided a most worthy contest that was in the balance until the last few minutes when Terenure got the scores that decided the match. _

With the sides tied at 3-3, Terenure struck the crucial blow in the 69th minute when, after a period of sustained pressure, during which Belvedere defended resolutely, Terenure right wing Simon Coleman got a try after a very good passing movement following a scrum on the left. That was not converted but Terenure led 8-3.

Almost immediately after the score, the Belvedere out-half Shane Moore intercepted but unfortunately knocked on and the chance was lost. Then in injury time Terenure struck for their second try when their accomplished number eight Donnach O'Donohoe crashed over the Belvedere line in the left corner. Paul Meade kicked a superb conversion to leave his side 12 points clear.

Although so wide a margin did not do justice to the Belvedere challenge, the side with the greater depth, more rounded skills and greater potential prevailed. Belvedere, who included several members of the side that won the Junior Cup two years ago, had the better of the initial stages and when Donal Martin kicked a penalty in the 10th minute to give them the lead, it was a deserved advantage.

Scrum-half Kevin O'Kelly responded to the work of his lively pack and his astute kicking gave them some good attacking positions.

But if Terenure lived dangerously for a while, they gradually got on top, particularly in the line-out. Here they had a good ball winner in Dermot Quinn who was ably supported by Barry Doyle and O'Donohoe. They also produced a few menacing attacks with centre Eamon Travers the play-maker. But Belvedere defended well and retained their three points advantage to the interval.

Meade, who had missed a few chances in the first half, brought Terenure level with a penalty four minutes into the second half. Belvedere seldom threatened the Terenure line in the second period as Terenure dominated territorially. But they could not break down a resolute Belvedere defence and a replay beckoned until Terenure's pressure eventually paid off with the two late tries.