Thursday 25 April 2019

St Michael's edge Belvedere in semi-final thriller to set up St Patrick's day clash with Gonzaga

St Michael's 16 Belvedere 15

Niall Carroll of St Michael's College celebrates a turnover late in the Bank of Ireland Schools Senior Cup semi-final match between Belvedere College and St Michael's College at Energia Park in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Niall Carroll of St Michael's College celebrates a turnover late in the Bank of Ireland Schools Senior Cup semi-final match between Belvedere College and St Michael's College at Energia Park in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Des Berry

St Michael and Gonzaga will meet in the Leinster Senior Cup final at The RDS on St Patrick’s Day.

It took everything Mark Hernan's men had to see it out as Belvedere established the territory in the early going and were patient in how they went about their business at Energia Park.

The lineout was a source of front-foot ball, mainly through Alekseiy Soroka, and it was the avenue to their first try.

Their second throw in quick succession drew a penalty and their third concluded with hooker Andrew Synnott grounding the ball in the 16th minute.

St Michael’s worked an overlap on the left from a maul and pinpoint passing only for Mark O’Brien to be tackled into touch by full-back Dwyer.

Belvedere out-half Justin Leonard brought a big influence through his running game and, when he was taken out off the ball John Fish was binned to give them a one-man advantage.

They were never likely to waste this and Soroka took up an unusual position to the right of the scrum, from where he bulldozed forward and replacement Dylan O’Grady dove over out wide in the 27th minute.

At this stage, St Michael’s had to show signs of life and this came from Chris Cosgrave’s penalties before and after half-time for 10-6 in the 39th minute.

They hit the front in fine style from full-back Andrew Smith’s counter-attack and a sharp movement for Cosgrave to take Jack Guinane’s pass home for the lead in the 42nd minute.

This is when the temperature of the game lifted even further as Belvedere turned to their maul again for prop Conor Cagney to power over in the left corner.  

The Ailesbury Road school came with pace down the right, Cosgrave putting Edward Kelly to within a metre.

It was all about the pick-and-go from there as hooker Lee Barron bulled to the line in the 62nd minute before the same man closed it out with a turnover at the end.

St Michael’s: A Smith; E Kelly, C Cosgrave, S O’Kelly, M O’Brien (R Van Den Akker 50); N Carroll, R Gilsenan; J Boyle, L Barron, F Finlay (J Power 28), S Woods, J Fish, J Guinane, M Hernan (capt), W Hickey.

Belvedere: R Dwyer (D O’Grady 18); S Murphy (C Rogers 42), C Mulvaney, J Meagher, M Grogan; J Leonard, P Lysaght (D Hawkshaw 63); H Flood (M Galinski 49), A Synnott, C Cagney, J Jones (G Murray 59), C Yalloway (C Kelly 46), E Rutledge (B Jennings 59), A Coleman (capt), A Soroka.

Referee: N Correll, Leinster Branch.

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