Belvedere mean business as they bid to win the Leinster Schools Senior Cup for the third time in four years.
They came into yesterday’s quarter-final at Energia Park as strong favourites and they showed the reason why by recovering from an early setback.
Like all underdogs, Newbridge needed a fast start and it couldn’t have gone any better when their right wing Donal Conroy stepped up to intercept from halfway.
Scrum-half Jack Doyle added the conversion to give them every reason to hold onto what they had.
The slow grind of building pressure was not to Belvedere’s liking.
Instead, their kicker Justin Leonard – he went a perfect five from five – chose the corner ahead of the points on offer from converting a penalty.
Hooker Andrew Synnott connected to Alekseiy Soroka at the lineout and got around to grab the ball at the back of a maul that was going nowhere but over to make it 7-7 in the seventh minute.
It was high-paced, high-quality fare with Newbridge looking for any reason to release their outside backs.
In return, Belvedere took a more pragmatic, direct course of action, led by Soroka.
The number eight drove to the butt of the right post for the second try in the 24th minute.
A burst from centre John Meagher down the right created the momentum for scrum-half Patrick Lysaght to dive over, Leonard’s two taking it out to 21-7 at the interval.
Newbridge had to push the envelope, move the bigger Belvedere forwards around with the view to creating mismatches or opening up space.
However, that didn’t work and they found themselves even further behind when Leonard smacked over a penalty in the 55th minute in Belvedere’s first real attack of the second half.
It went from bad to worse on 63 minutes when replacement Conor Kelly crashed over the line for a try which Leonard converted.
Belvedere - R Dwyer; D O'Grady, M Grogan (H Murray 62), J Meagher, C Rogers; J Leonard, P Lysaght (J McNiece 46), D Hawkshaw 48); H Flood (J Sargent 52), A Synnott (M Galinski 52), C Cagney (J O'Sullivan 60), J Jones (C Kelly 46), C Yalloway (G Murray 60), E Rutledge, A Coleman (capt), A Soroka.
Newbridge - S Cahill; D Conroy (D O'Sullivan 52), M Kiely, T Sheedy (J Shanahan 52), D Higgins; J Hannon, J Doyle (C King 60); R Scully (P Leavy 58), G McNelis (C Stopes 48), L Rigney (capt), D Mangan, O Halpin, J Nolan (P O'Flaherty 58), C McGroary (D Lawlor 44), M Cleary.
Ref - C Roche (Leinster Branch)