Friday 14 December 2018

Powerful Belvo' pack end Newbridge hopes

Belvedere 23 Newbridge 7

Matthew Grogan (right) celebrates with Cian Scott after scoring a try. Photo: Sportsfile
Matthew Grogan (right) celebrates with Cian Scott after scoring a try. Photo: Sportsfile

Holders Belvedere eventually wore down Newbridge in the Leinster Schools Senior Cup quarter-final at Donnybrook.

The non-descript first half was punctuated by mistakes and poor handling as neither school managed to put together a series of phases to stress the opposition defence.

Belvedere College's James Gleeson is challenged by Newbridge College's Dylan Morrissey. Photo: Sportsfile
Belvedere College's James Gleeson is challenged by Newbridge College's Dylan Morrissey. Photo: Sportsfile

The closest Belvedere got to a breakthrough was when prop James Gleeson was tackled into touch after a smart lineout move.

Newbridge must have felt aggrieved when prominent prop Luke Rigney charged forward from a five-metre lineout to reach for the line. The decision of referee Gary Conway not to rule it a try looked debatable.

From there, the intensity of the contest ratcheted up and Belvo' finally broke through when replacement Neil Howard lunged for the line just on half-time.

Eventually, they were able to force the issue and replacement Neil Howard, on for the injured Alekseiy Soroka, blasted over from close range for the lead right on half-time.

Belvedere College's Matthew Grogan on his way to scoring his side's third try. Photo: Sportsfile
Belvedere College's Matthew Grogan on his way to scoring his side's third try. Photo: Sportsfile

This was the go-ahead score that looked like leading to Belvo' taking over until Newbridge full-back Donal Conroy intercepted from 90 metres away to go all the way for out-half Luke Maloney to convert for 7-5 in the 38th minute.

All the while, the Kildare school, led by the inspired Cian Prendergast, were battling against a serious size differential.

They stayed in the fight as long as they could until the Belvo' set-piece started to take over.

Flanker Gerard Hill made a dent and loosehead Gleeson followed up as they carried hard to go close.

Belvedere College players and supporters celebrate. Photo: Sportsfile
Belvedere College players and supporters celebrate. Photo: Sportsfile

The champions regrouped from the five-metre scrum to earn a penalty which full-back David Lacey kicked for an 8-7 lead in the 50th minute.

Their forwards grew in influence, Gleeson powering over in the 56th minute ahead of Lacey's penalty and centre Cailean Mulvaney's stunning individual try, which was converted by Lacey.

Belvedere - D Lacey; A O'Grady, M Grogan (G O'Brien 67), C Mulvaney, A Loughrey; J Leonard (J Meagher 46), T Walsh (P Lysaght 46); J Gleeson (J Bell 56), L Harmon (A Synnott 67), C Cagney (M Gallinski 56); A Soroka (N Howard 26), J Murphy (C Scott 56); G Hill, A Coleman, R Byron (capt).

Newbridge - D Conroy; C Creedon (S Cahill 65), K Fitzgerald, E Conroy (T Sheedy 50), D O'Connor (D Caulfield 50); L Maloney, J Doyle (R Finan 67); T Grant, L Kelly (G McNelis 50), L Rigney (R Scully 38); D Morrissey, C Prendergast (capt); O Halpin (M Moynihan 44), H O'Neill (C McGroary 49), M Cleary.

Newbridge College's Daniel OConnor in action against Belvedere College's Matthew Grogan. Photo: Sportsfile
Newbridge College's Daniel OConnor in action against Belvedere College's Matthew Grogan. Photo: Sportsfile

REF - G Conway (Leinster Branch)

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