Belvedere edge out Blackrock in Senior Cup thriller at Donnybrook
Belvedere College are through to the Leinster Schools Senior Cup semi-final after seeing off Blackrock at Donnybrook in one of the most compelling games likely to be seen on any field of play this season.
Belvedere will meet St Michaels in the semi final on March 3, with Clongowes and Roscrea doing likewise two days previous.
Neither school enjoyed the lead for prolonged periods as tries were exchanged with near abandon as both sides sought to play with width and ambition.
Belvedere having ceded their advantage early in the second period, rallied late on with a brace of tries from Tom De Jongh and David Hawkshaw (see below) finally putting the Blackrock challenge to bed.
Belvedere got off to an ideal start with centre Cathal Jennings finishing off a fine team move. An excellent break off a double skip pass saw Belvedere deep inside the Blackrock22.
After some quick recycles, scrum half Cagney hit the short side again and Jennings crossed over on the back of some fine interplay though he was off the mark with his conversion from an acute angle
Blackrock didn’t take long to respond in kind as open side Hugo Burke touched down off the back of a strong maul before full back James McGowan sent over a fine conversion. Belvedere briefly regained the lead with a penalty.
However, Blackrock ripped it back nine minutes later with out half Conor Dean slaloming through a raft of Belvedere defenders in an immense individual effort and McGowan again successful with the subsequent place kick.
Down but not out, and with flanker McNulty in the bin, Belvedere addressed the deficit in sublime fashion.
Just after the half hour, they made significant headway from a series of pick-and-jams around the fringes, before Cagney once more went back across the grain and Maher darted over in the corner. With the sun in his eyes, Jennings made it a one point game off the tee.
Not finished yet, the north Dublin outfit ensured they ended a pulsating first half in front. McGowan’s clearing kick was right down the throat of opposite number Hugh O’Sullivan who powered into the Blackrock half before beautifully delaying his pass to Maher, who raced over for his second.
Jennings missed conversion left the score at 23-19 to Belvedere at the turn.
After the restart, it was Blackrock’s turn to come flying out of the traps. A kick to the corner was followed by a throw to the middle of the line and a fluid maul, which Burke capped off by going over again. McGowan made no mistake with the conversion.
Incredibly the sides would trade seven pointers again. Belvedere number eight De Jongh ripped his way through the Blackrock defence and, after the kick, it was 30-26. David Hawkshaw then scythed through a waning Blackrock line to extend Belvedere’s lead to nine points. McGowan’s folowing penalty was of little consequence.