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5 players who stood out during the Leinster Schools Senior Cup final

There were a host of excellent performances at the RDS as Roscrea beat Belvedere.

THERE WERE STRONG individual performances across the board as Roscrea claimed their first-ever Leinster Schools Senior Cup title against a spirited Belvedere side.

It was a team performance from Pieter Swanepoel’s team that secured the historic win, but we’ve picked out a handful of the standout players on the day. 

Tim Foley

Tim Foley kicks Foley's composure rubbed off on his Roscrea teammates. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

A captain’s showing from a man who has been starring for Roscrea’s senior side since 2013 and that year’s remarkable win over Terenure. Foley was playing out-half at that stage, but his transition to inside centre has paid dividends this year.

The Ireland Schools-capped playmaker has been a calm head in the middle for Swanepoel’s side all season, saving his very best performance for the final. Accurate place-kicking, assured defending and a clinical passing game were the hallmarks.

Foley formed a strong midfield with Alan Tynan and Rob Wharton for Roscrea at the RDS, while electric fullback Tim Carroll, try-scorer Daniel Keane and offloading threat Joe Murphy were constant dangers in the back three.

Mattie Keane

Mattie Keane celebrates as Dan Trayers scores a try Keane celebrates Roscrea's first-half try. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Ardcarne’s finest provided two superb first-half turnovers to indicate that he was in the mood to cause havoc on Belvedere’s possession, while openside flanker Keane also hammered into tackles whenever he wasn’t affecting the breakdown.

The Roscommon man hasn’t been the heaviest back row forward in a competition full of sizeable loose forwards, but he again showed the ability to use his power in the most effective way possible.

Keane was replaced late on after giving every last ounce of work rate to the Offaly school’s cause, but his minutes on the pitch were hugely impactful alongside the likes of Eoghan Maher, Fineen Wycherley, Aaron Browne and Simon Meagher up front.

Hugh O’Sullivan

Hugh O'Sullivan 28/1/2015 O'Sullivan had an excellent cup campaign for Belvo. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

One of many Leinster U18 Schools-capped players in the Belvedere side, O’Sullivan was once again a lively operator for the Great Denmark Street school. His break and assist for Sean Long’s excellent first-half try were typical of a player who makes smart decisions.

O’Sullivan’s intermittent kicks were as well thought out as ever, while he threatened the Roscrea defence around the fringes and wider out whenever possible. The move to fullback later in the game reduced his influence somewhat, but Greg O’Kelly assumed the sniping mantle for Belvo.

Like out-half Conor Jennings, fourth year student O’Sullivan will be back for another stab at the Senior Cup next season, providing coach Phil Werahiko with a highly-composed halfback pairing.

Outside that duo this afternoon, the likes of Dublin minor footballer Declan Monaghan, powerful wing Long,  and the pacy trio of Oscair McGrath, Eoin Cleere and James McKeon looked dangerous when utilised.

Dan Trayers

Dan Trayers celebrates scoring their second try Trayers was unstoppable from close range. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

A man whose reputation preceded him before this final, and the number eight lived up to the billing. Belvedere managed to keep Trayers quiet for much of the first half, chopping him down with double tackles, but there was little they could do for his dynamic try.

Formerly a lock, the Connacht U19 representative is as strong as they come at this level, already benching 130kg. But it’s just simple strength with Trayers; as with the rest of Roscrea’s heavy pack, he marries technical skills and intelligence with the size.

The Corinthians RFC clubman has been a ball-carrying totem for Roscrea throughout this competition, as were Carrigaline RFC product Liam Walsh and tighthead prop Dylan Murphy [a Bantry Bay RFC man, as is Wycherley in the second row].

Jesse Iredale

Mattie Keane tackles Jesse Iredale Iredale's carrying was a constant menace to Roscrea. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Speaking of powerhouse back rows, Iredale made up for being forced out of the semi-final win over Clongowes through injury by carrying with his usual amount of force, especially early in the second half.

Alongside him, Max Kearney and Tom de Jongh were equally as busy, while it’s also worth noting Brian Diffley’s defensive impact off the bench for Roscrea [that late try-saving tackle especially].

Ireland’s underage back-row stocks are in as good a place as ever.

Belvo captain Mike Sweeney ably backed up Iredale in gaining ground with ball in hand, while fellow front rows Andrea Hynes and Eoin Molloy performed their set-piece duties expertly. Behind them, James Kenny – a late replacement for Conor McCaffrey – and Brian Egan were a nuisance on Roscrea’s lineout throw.

Offaly’s Roscrea make history by winning the Leinster Schools’ Senior Cup for the first time

Kerry GAA stars salute Leinster schools cup winner who claimed 2014 All-Ireland minor medal

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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