Belvedere win out in gruelling battle with Newbridge to roll into Senior Cup semis

The Kildare school took an early lead, but Belvo’s forward power turned the screw towards a four-try win.

Matthew Grogan of Belvo is tackled by David Higgins and Jack Doyle.
Matthew Grogan of Belvo is tackled by David Higgins and Jack Doyle.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Belvedere College 31

Newbridge College 7

Sean Farrell reports from Donnybrook

LAST YEAR’S BEATEN finalists took a big step in the direction of another final with victory in an uber-physical Leinster Schools Senior Cup quarter-final clash with Newbridge.

Tries from Andrew Synott, Alekseiy Soroka, Patrick Lysaght and Conor Kelly delivered a win that looks big on the scoreboard, but the Kildare school’s vibrant attack made them work tooth and nail for every gainline advantage.

Right wing Donal Conroy ensured Newbridge laid down their marker good and early. He made the game’s first meaningful hit, a perfectly-timed crunch on Cian Rogers. And although last year’s runners-up looked dangerous while making an early break through midfield, once they attacked towards the left Conroy was waiting to pounce on Justin Leonard’s pass and run the 50 metres to the whitewash.

Perhaps chastened by that bid to go wide, Belvo responded with a robust forward-driven game and a powerful maul laid the platform for Andrew Synott to ground the levelling try.

Justin Leonard kicks a conversion Leonard kicked five from five in the second-round clash. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The Kildare school made a good fist of playing an up-tempo game through Jack Doyle’s passing and some big carries from Conor McGroary and Oisin Halpin. However, Belvedere’s defensive hits forced knock-ons and errors. And it wasn’t long before the north Dublin school worked their way back into attacking position, where they again held the ball through a long set of pick and drive phases before number 8 Soroka planted the ball against the post.

The biggest line-break of the first half came close to its end, John Meagher powered through midfield and went on an arcing run into the Newbridge 22 where he spun out of two tackles before finally being grounded. Belvo recycled clinically and Meagher got his breath back in time to make another carry before Lysaght sniped over.

Leonard kicked his third conversion to make the half-time score 21-7. And that’s how it stayed for 20 gruelling second half minutes. Newbridge attacked with wave after wave, but their biggest carrier, captain Luke Rigney, wasn’t able to punch a hole in the defence.

Cormac Yalloway is tackled by Diarmuid Mangan and Jack Doyle Cormac Yalloway tackled by Diarmuid Mangan and Jack Doyle. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Belvo were pinned in their own 22 for a long stretch of punishing, hard-hitting rugby which seen injuries rack up for both sides with Geoff McNelis hobbling off for Newbridge shortly after the luckless Jack MacNiece picked up an arm injury within two minutes of entering the fray.

For all the pressure and pain inflicted, Belvedere stood firm and they got the scoreboard moving again on their first visit to the red zone of the second half. Leonard’s well-struck penalty was like an arrow to pop any remaining hope in Newbridge.

Replacement Conor Kelly forced his way over to his side’s fourth try with 10 minutes remaining to ensure the Great Denmark Street school will be in the hat for the semi-final draw.


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Belvedere College:

Tries: A Synnott, A Soroka, P Lysaght, C Kelly
Conversions: J Leonard (4/4)
Penalties: J Leonard (1/1)

Newbridge College:

Tries: D Conroy
Conversions: J Doyle (1/1)
Penalties: J Doyle (0/1)

Belvedere College: Rory Dwyer, Dylan O’Grady, Matthew Grogan (Harry Murray ’60) John Meagher, Cian Rogers, Justin Leonard, Patrick Lysaght (Jack MacNiece ’46 (Daniel Hawkshaw ’49)): Hugh Flood (Jonathan Sargent ’52), Andrew Synott (Mateusz Galinski ’52), Conor Cagney (James O’Sullivan ’60), Jed Jones (Conor Kelly ’46), Cormac Yalloway (Gavin Murray ’60), Eoghan Rutledge, Aaron Coleman, Alekseiy Soroka.

Newbridge College: Sam Cahill (Cormac King ’60) Donal Conroy (David O’Sullivan ’52), Marcus Kiely, Thomas Sheedy (John Shanahan ’52), David Higgins (Patrick O’Flaherty ’59), Jack Hannon, Jack Doyle: Robert Scully (Peter Leavy ’59), Geoff McNelis (Cormac Stopes ’48), Luke Rigney, Diarmuid Mangan, Oisin Halpin (Mark Moynihan ’60), Jordan Nolan, Conor McGroary (Donough Lawlor ’44), Muiris Cleary.

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Sean Farrell

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