Friday 13 December 2019

Hat-trick man Donnelly runs Belvedere show

Belvedere College 48 St Andrew's College 7

Mark Donnelly grabbed a hat-trick for Belvedere in their win at St Andrew's College. Stock photo: PA
Mark Donnelly grabbed a hat-trick for Belvedere in their win at St Andrew's College. Stock photo: PA

Mark Donnelly was the hat-trick hero as Belvedere moved seamlessly into the Leinster Schools Senior Cup quarter-final at Donnybrook yesterday. 

There was a pace and intensity to their game that was simply too hot for St Andrew's. The Booterstown school were never less than committed and had resilient forwards backed up by the penetration of centre Peter Sullivan, but they could not sustain pressure long enough to score points in the first half. 

Meanwhile, Belvedere didn't waste time in building on their physical and skill advantages. Donnelly picked a peach of a line off scrum-half Paraic Cagney's no-look ball for full-back Hugh O'Sullivan to convert in the third minute.

It was O'Sullivan's fine line and smart inside ball which found Cagney in support for the second to double the lead in the 11th minute. St Andrew's second row Ben Crowley then dropped the ball and Donnelly picked up - his long stride to the line making it 19-0 at the break.

There were positive signs from St Andrew's in the second half - like Sullivan's fine finish from his interception on halfway for Nathan Fitzpatrick to convert in the 38th minute. But Belvedere moved through the gears, as left wing Jordan Wilkes twice threatened without scoring, while second row Oran O'Brien's low driving body angle and number eight Ruadhan Byron's arcing exploitation of the short side made the game safe.

From there in, it was a question of how many Belvedere would score and though St Andrew's battled bravely on, Donnelly seized on a miscommunication for his third try in the 66th minute.

Belvedere: H O'Sullivan (G Petherbridge 63) ; M Donnelly, P Maher (J O'Grady 63), C Walsh (H Beggy 60), J Wilkes; D Hawkshaw, P Cagney; C Molloy (A McDonnell 63), S Osborne (C Byrne 54), J Robinson (J Haughey 63); G Murray, O O'Brien; M Kearney (capt), C Doran (D Hill 54), R Byron.

St Andrew's: A Vincent (D Molloy 60); D Geraghty-Singleton (L Sigcau 63), P Sullivan, N Fitzpatrick-Couzy, R Jordan; A O'Neill (H Black 31), W Hennessy; P Murray (J O'Brien 51), H McCarthy (capt), D Wilson (R Kennedy 65); B Crowley, D O'Connell (P Perrem 54); S Keane, R Simington (N Judge 51), Z Henry. Ref: G Glennon, Leinster Branch.

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