Belvedere hold off late Clongowes fightback to book Senior Cup final spot

An early try put the Dublin school in control but Clongowes pushed them all the way.

Jordan Wilkes crossed the whitewash for Belvedere today.
Jordan Wilkes crossed the whitewash for Belvedere today.
Image: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

Belvedere College 17

Clongowes Wood College 12

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS BELVEDERE College held off a late surge from Clongowes Wood College at Donnybrook this afternoon, before booking their place in the Leinster Schools Senior Cup decider on St Patrick’s Day.

Belvo had defeated St Andrew’s College and St Michael’s on their path to the last-four, and they broke the deadlock with 11 minutes gone on the clock.

An intelligent reverse pass by out-half David Hawkshaw allowed winger Jordan Wilkes to break over the Clongowes whitewash, and this was followed by a routine conversion by Hugh O’Sullivan.

Clongowes were struggling to make an attacking impact, and they fell further behind to an O’Sullivan three-pointer.

Yet, just as it was beginning to look extremely ominous for Clongowes, impressive inside centre Ben O’Shea touched down on 29 minutes – after spotting a gap through the heart of the Belvo defence.

Despite coming up short from his own conversion attempt, O’Shea had reduced his side’s deficit to five points (10-5) in time for the interval.

Yet, 11-time winners Belvo reinforced their superiority after the restart, as powerful lock Oran O’Brien grounded at the end of a period of sustained pressure on the 50-minute mark.

A tricky O’Sullivan bonus kick placed them in pole position for a third consecutive final appearance, but the ever-willing Clongowes were determined to finish with a flourish.

Prop Arthur Odium was halted underneath the posts, but scrum-half Joe Murphy was in the right place to dot down.

An O’Shea two-pointer set up a tense finale but, with skipper Max Kearney leading by example, Belvedere College progressed to face the winners of tomorrow’s game between Blackrock College and Gonzaga College.

Belvedere College scorers:
Tries: Jordan Wilkes, Oran O’Brien
Conversions: Hugh O’Sullivan [2/2]
Penalties: Hugh O’Sullivan [1/2]Clongowes Wood College scorers:
Tries: Ben O’Shea, Joe Murphy
Conversions: Ben O’Shea [1/2]

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BELVEDERE COLLEGE: Hugh O’Sullivan; Mark Donnelly, Peter Maher, Cian Walsh, Jordan Wilkes (Sam Barry ’43); David Hawkshaw, Paraic Cagney (Ted Walsh ’63); Cillian Molloy, Anthony McDonnell (Conor Byrne ’66), Jake Robinson; Grellan Murray, Oran O’Brien (David Hill ’66); Max Kearney (captain), Conor Doran, Ruadhan Byron.

CLONGOWES WOOD COLLEGE: Jack Gilheany (Charles Gallen ’57); Reinis Lemass, Joe Carroll, Ben O’Shea, John Maher; Tom Monaghan, Joe Murphy (Conrad Daly ’35-’36’); John Timmins, Dan Sheehan, Arthur Odlum; Sean Phelan, Matthew Martin; David Jeffares (Patrick Celebi ’43), Anthony Ryan (Tom Coghlan ‘7), Sean McCrohan (captain).

Referee: Dermot Blake (Leinster Rugby Referees).

Source: The42 Rugby Show/SoundCloud

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