The Leinster Schools Senior Cup provides many things – a pipeline of players to the professional game, riveting one-and-done knockout rugby, rivalries over 100 years old – but one thing it has never been very good at is unpredictability.
When one school has hoovered up over half of all 133 cup wins, it indicates that David rarely stands triumphantly over Goliath's corpse on St Patrick's Day with his slingshot in hand – but that makes the occasions even more memorable whenever someone comes from outside the establishment and has their name inscribed on the trophy.
Before the Covid-19 postponement, this year's March 17th decider had the novelty of being an all-Kildare affair and if Newbridge College - after slaying the St Michael's 'Dream Team' in the final four – ultimately triumph over Clongowes when the decider is rescheduled, it would mean more than just a first cup win since 1970.
It would also represent just the third time in the last forty years that a school outside the 'big six' has been the last team standing when the silverware is handed out.
Aside from De La Salle Churchtown's two wins in three years in 1983 and 1985, Leinster's marquee schools rugby competition has been almost completely starved of a breakthrough for 35 years.
Which brings us to almost.
2015 shaped up to be your standard cup campaign. Tony Ward's Irish Independent preview forecasted St Michael's and Blackrock to fight it out like Godzilla and King Kong atop an RDS skyscraper.
You couldn't blame him for his analysis. St Michael's, who had won the Junior Cup between these schools in 2012, were captained by James Ryan, who you have probably heard of by now, and had Max Deegan packing down at number eight too.
Blackrock were going for a first Senior Cup three in-a-row since they completed the hat-trick themselves in 1964. Caelan Doris was their number eight, and they had Conor Dean and Gavin Mullin in the backline, the sons of Ireland legends Paul and Brendan.
But neither team won top honours in 2015. Neither did Clongowes, or Belvedere, or Terenure or St Mary's.
Neither did the winners of the pre-cup Senior League competition.
No, to find the champions you have to go one rung further down the ladder, to the team from the Offaly/Tipperary border who were defeated by Newbridge in that league decider.
Meet Cistercian College Roscrea's class of 2015.
Come St Patrick's Day, people would know the names of second row Fineen Wycherley, who now plays for Munster, of bulldozing number eight Dan Trayers, of playmaking out-half Alan Tynan, of captain and centre Tim Foley and flying fullback Tim Carroll.
Roscrea captain Tim Foley leads his team out against Belvedere in the 2015 Leinster Schools Senior Cup final. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
The biggest schools in the competition would remember their names too.
But after the draw was made before Christmas, it was hard to imagine what was about to unfold in Offaly.
“We always knew it would be a decent team but never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be a winning cup team,” Pieter Swanepoel, the then Roscrea head coach says.
He wasn't the only one. Roscrea had flirted with crashing the party twice in the years before - losing heavily to Clongowes in the 2011 decider before being denied in heartbreaking fashion in the 2013 semi-final by Blackrock – but still, there weren't huge clues that 2015 would be the long-awaited breakthrough.
In fact, if you were to have picked a bolter to win it all from the chasing pack, it would have been their league rivals and this year's finalists. Newbridge, whose backline contained current Leinster prospect Jimmy O'Brien, had reached the 2012 Junior Cup final and pipped Roscrea by a point in the Senior League final before Christmas of 2014.
Swanepoel, who now coaches at Kilkenny College, was in his first year in charge of the Roscrea senior team, having coached the juniors for a number of years.
While he didn't anticipate a victorious March homecoming, he thought they were in good shape for a few reasons: they could beat up on smaller teams, they had lots of pace in the backline and their pack were a mix of giants, ogres and behemoths.
"We lost the league final to Newbridge but apart from that, we were very comfortable playing league teams," he says.
"We beat a good PBC Cork side at home and after that, things really started kicking off. Then we saw that we could run with the big teams.
"We would have pushed for a league win and then a quarter-final or maybe a semi-final in the cup. But then everything started to steamroll with the size of the pack we had.
"Our pack was massive but we had some outstanding backs too. Alan Tynan is involved in the Munster academy now. Tim Carroll and Tim Foley were brilliant. Robert Wharton was a minor footballer for Kerry. There was serious gas in that backline and when you join that together with the pack, you have a very decent team."
Roscrea easily saw off Wesley College in the opening round before they were handed the ultimate test – Blackrock in Donnybrook. The complexion of the competition had changed days earlier when St Michael’s - and their rampant ball-carriers – were felled by a phenomenal Clongowes defensive effort.
How the victors held out amidst a five-minute try-line onslaught in the final stages makes more sense when you remember that the automated chop-tackling machine that is Will Connors was playing flanker for Clongowes that day.
The finale against Blackrock was altogether different. Despite getting off to a great start with a try from flanker Matty Keane, one of five Roscrea players who were selected to representative sides that season, Blackrock took a 14-5 lead into the break.
Handing Blackrock a two-score half-time lead is like handing the executioner his blade, but looking back now, Swanepoel thinks the prospect of their schools rugby mortality sparked his players into action.
"We were 14-5 down but I still thought we were very much in the game," he says.
"I'm still involved in senior cup teams now with Kilkenny College and one thing I always say is that for the sixth years, if they lose, they are done with their school. That could have been a bit of a wake-up call for them."
Tries from Alan Tynan and an injury-time effort from prop Dylan Murphy at the back of a maul secured a famous victory for Roscrea.
"The noise when that try was scored. Time was up, I went over to the ref and my heart was going more than ninety.
"It was amazing. If you beat Blackrock, you know you can definitely go all the way."
Then it was on to the semi-final and five years on, Newbridge will still have huge regrets that it was Roscrea who reached the mountain top ahead of them.
They beat Roscrea in the 2012 Junior Cup en route to a narrow final defeat to St Michael’s.
They had 11 points to spare when knocking Roscrea out of the first round of the Senior Cup in 2014.
They edged Roscrea by the minimum in the Senior League final.
And they held an eight-point lead at the break in the 2015 semi-final at Donnybrook.
Swanepoel’s memory of that game is hazy as he was laid low with a vomiting bug the night before but he is sure of one thing: his side were able to do just enough to force a replay.
Then finally, his side turned things around against their rival. This time it was Roscrea who emerged on top by one point after tries from Keane, Dan Trayers and Joe Murphy, completing a three-match saga that was the equivalent of a bloody prizefight that leaves one man victorious, but both in the hospital.
"They were a very good team. We played each other three times that season: we lost the first game by a point, we drew the second game, and we won the last one by a point."
It meant Roscrea booked a fifth final appearance and Belvedere stood in their way. Despite slaying Blackrock and edging a top Newbridge side, Roscrea were installed as 3/1 underdogs – many punters would later thank the bookies for that as they collected their winnings.
Belvedere, under Kiwi coach Phil Werahiko, were at the start of a four-year run that yielded two cup wins, four final appearances, as well as three victories over St Michael’s and two apiece over Blackrock and Clongowes.
Roscrea head coach Pieter Swanepoel celebrates after winning the Leinster Schools Senior Cup final in 2015. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
But they would have to wait for glory in 2015.
Despite conceding an early score, tries from Trayers – who emerged as one of the top players as the campaign progressed – and Daniel Keane, as well as eight points from the boot of captain Foley, secured a maiden triumph for Roscrea.
"I just remember tears of joy and trying to keep it in," Swanepoel says.
"It was all very hectic but these things are there to be enjoyed. It doesn't come around often for league-playing schools. Even getting to a quarter-final or semi-final is massive for one of those schools."
Roscrea almost repeated their 2015 heroics the following year, with an unlikely comeback victory over Clongowes setting up a final rematch against Belvedere at the RDS. Werahiko's side were too strong second time around and eased to a dominant win, but Roscrea's place in history was already secured.
"It's all coming back to me slowly but surely... the more you think about it, it was just amazing what happened," he adds.
"It was just a rollercoaster that kept on going and kept on going."
Roscrea side who beat Belvedere in the 2015 Leinster Schools Senior Cup final
15. Tim Carroll (Leinster schools)
14. Daniel Keane
13. Robert Wharton (All-Ireland minor winner with Kerry in 2014)