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Holders Belvedere up and running in style as they flex their muscles against Andrew's

Mark Donnelly scored a hat-trick as the Leinster Senior Schools Cup champions ran riot at Donnybrook.

Hugh O'Sullivan is tacked by Peter Sullivan.
Hugh O'Sullivan is tacked by Peter Sullivan.
Image: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

Belvedere College 48

St Andrew’s College 7

– Ryan Bailey reports from Donnybrook 

STIFFER TESTS WILL doubtlessly lie ahead for Belvedere College during their Leinster Senior Schools Cup defence but this was a performance, and result, which sent out a clear signal of intent to those hoping to dethrone them.

With eleven of last year’s winning squad still involved, Belvo were always going to carry too much firepower for St Andrew’s and so it proved as they ran in eight tries to record the most emphatic of wins.

Fullback Hugh O’Sullivan, who has Ireland and Leinster underage honours, was influential throughout as Phil Werahiko’s charges flexed their muscles in front of a large Sunday afternoon crowd at Donnybrook.

There was always the outside chance of an early upset, and Andrew’s would have fancied themselves to catch the holders cold, but it was clear from the outset that Belvo were out to lay down an early marker.

The first try came as early as the third minute and the gulf between the teams widened as the game progressed, with Belvo afforded the luxury of giving their squad valuable minutes at the start of what they hope will be a long campaign.

Paraic Cagney goes over for a try Paraic Cagney dots down. Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

To their credit, Andrew’s played their part in an entertaining, free-flowing game and while they will be disappointed to fall at the first hurdle for the second year running, the likes of Stephen Keane, Zola Henry and Peter Sullivan all impressed.

Sullivan’s intercept try shortly after the break was the least the Booterstown school deserved for their efforts and it lifted his side and their supporters before Belvo clicked into gear again.

It had looked ominous for Andrew’s when Mark Donnelly ran onto Paraic Cagney’s pop pass and burst through the wall of blue and white shirts from close range to set the ball rolling.

Belvo set a fierce early tempo and Andrew’s, without scrum-half Adam Larmour due to injury, were unable to deal with the power up front and some direct, and explosive, running.

O’Sullivan, who looks to be a fine player, orchestrated proceedings from 15 as well as kicking well from the tee as he finished with 10 points of his own.

David Hawkshaw is tackled by Peter Sullivan David Hawkshaw evades the tackles of Sullivan. Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

Belvo’s second score quickly followed and this time it came from deep. From a scrum inside their own half, the 11-time winners exhibited their running game as O’Sullivan cut through and timed the pass perfectly for Cagney to run it home.

After settling into the contest after a shaky start, Andrew’s were then architects of their own downfall shortly before the interval as good attacking ball was spilled and Donnelly had the simple task of picking it up and dotting it down under the posts.

Sullivan’s try gave Ian Dumbleton’s side something to shout about but it only spurred Belvo into action again and they displayed a ruthless edge in the final 20 minutes.

It was all one-way traffic from there as Andrew’s tired and Belvo took full advantage to stamp their authority back all over this first round tie and secure their passage through to Friday’s draw.

Donnelly completed his hat-trick while Oran O’Brien, Ruadhan Byron, Harry Beggy and out-half David Hawkshaw all helped themselves to scores during an error-strewn final quarter.

A dejected Ruadhan Byron of St Andrew’s College Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

It was far from perfect from Belvo either but their defence is up and running and on this evidence they’re the team to beat again this year.

Belvedere scorers:

Tries: Mark Donnelly [3], Paraic Cagney, Oran O’Brien, Ruadhan Byron, Harry Beggy, David Hawkshaw.

Penalties:

Conversions: Hugh O’Sullivan [5 from 6], David Hawkshaw [0 from 2]

St Andrew’s scorers:

Tries: Peter Sullivan

Penalties:

Conversions: Nathan Fitzpatrick-Couzy [1 from 1]

Max Kearney speaks with his team before kick-off Captain Max Kearney speaks to his team. Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

BELVEDERE COLLEGE: 15. Hugh O’Sullivan (23. Gregory Petherbridge 63′), 14. Mark Donnelly (22. Jamie O’Grady 63′), 13. Peter Maher (22. Jamie O’Grady 63′), 12. Cian Walsh (20. Harry Beggy 60′), 11. Jordan Wilkes, 10. David Hawkshaw, 9. Paraic Cagney; 1. Cillian Molloy (17. Anthony McDonnell 63′), 2. Sam Osborne (16. Conor Byrne 53′), 3. Jake Robinson (18. Joseph Haughey 63′), 4. Grellan Murray, 5. Oran O’Brien, 6. Max Kearney (captain), 7. Conor Doran (19. David Hill 53′), 8. Ruadhan Byron.

Replacements not used: 21. Ted Walsh.

ST ANDREW’S COLLEGE: 15. Andrew Vincent (21. David Molloy 60′) 14. Daragh Geraghty-Singleton (23. Luhle Sigcau 62′) 13. Peter Sullivan, 12. Nathan Fitzpatrick-Couzy, 11. Reece Jordan, 10. Aaron O’Neill (Hugh Black 32′), 9. Will Hennessy; 1. Patrick Murray (16. Jack O’Brien 52′), 2. Harry McCarthy, 3. David Wilson (17. Roan Kennedy 65′), 4. Ben Crowley, 5. Daniel O’Connell (19. Patrick Perrem 55′), 6. Stephen Keane, 7. Rory Simmington (18. Nicholas Judge 52′), 8. Zola Henry.

Replacements not used: 22. Ben Bradley.

Referee: Gary Glennon.

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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