We have the Leinster Senior Cup 2014 2nd Round Preview & Results, with Belvedere, St Andrew’s, Newbridge & Blackrock fancied to progress.
Beauchamps Senior Cup, 2nd Round (All kick-off times 3pm)
Clongowes Wood College 26 Belvedere College 14 FT
St. Michael’s 6-16 Blackrock (11th February, Donnybrook) FT
St. Andrew’s 47-3 Gonzaga (12th February, Donnybrook) FT
St. Mary’s 10-17 Newbridge (13th February, Tallaght Stadium) FT
Clongowes vs Belvedere:
Clongowes and Belvedere both came through their first round matches in style with Belvedere beating Wesley College 28-3 and Clongowes beating Kilkenny College 34-15. Clongowes look very strong in the backs with Fergal Cleary and Cian O’Donoghue bringing power and pace to an exhilarating backline.
Belvedere are slim favourites for this titanic encounter with a well-drilled pack led by Jack Hutchinson and a creative backline including Conor Jennings and Ciaran Clifford. If the Clongowes’ pack can win the breakdown and give their backs good ball they will put up a big challenge against this confident Belvedere side.
Players to watch: Fergal Cleary and Ciaran Clifford’s battle in the centre will be immense.
Verdict: Narrow win for Clongowes
St. Michael’s vs Blackrock:
This is hands down the pick of the second round. A fierce rivalry between these two Holy Ghost Schools has been brewing for the last few years with Rock coming out on top in last season’s final in a tantalisingly close game.
This year the random draw has dealt the spectators a beautiful hand with St. Michael’s who triumphed over a stern Terenure opposition 17-13 in the first round facing favourites Blackrock who skilfully dispatched CBC Monkstown 31-3. Blackrock have countless superstars on their team with the likes of Nick Timoney, Jeremy Loughman and Jack Power. St. Michael’s also have an impressive team this year with Captain Charlie Cregan and James Ryan leading a ferocious pack and Dave Duggan marshalling the backline at scrum-half. I can’t see Blackrock going out this early in the competition but I expect Michael’s to push them close and show everyone how to break down this notorious Rock team.
St. Michael’s should match Blackrock in the pack but I expect Rock to win the game in the backs with the pace and skill shown by players like Joey Carberry and Zach O’Hagan in pre-season and against CBC Monkstown.
Players to Watch: The battle of the captains, Charlie Cregan and Nick Timoney is set to be colossal.
Verdict: Narrow victory for Blackrock.
St. Andrew’s vs Gonzaga:
Both of these sides produced extremely impressive victories in the opening round with Andrew’s grinding out a narrow victory against Castleknock 13-9 in a replay and Gonzaga holding off a late surge from King’s Hospital to win 26-19.
St. Andrew’s have an exciting pack led by Captain Greg Jones and Johnny Guy who were both outstanding in their gruelling victory over Castleknock. Gonzaga on the other hand look powerful in the backs with halfback partnership Nick Peters and Ross McKeever supported by the dominant Andy Marks in the centre. Either side couldn’t have wished for a better second round draw, avoiding all the big names and giving them both an incredible opportunity to reach the semi-finals. I expect St. Andrew’s to come out on top in this one.
Their pack will take control of the game, especially in wet conditions, and Gonzaga won’t be able to get enough ball to unleash their backline. It will be an amazing achievement for whichever team goes through and I’m sure it will be monumental for their school
Players to Watch: Andy Marks for Gonzaga and the back row partnership of Greg Jones and Johnny Guy for Andrews.
Verdict: A narrow victory for St. Andrew’s.
St. Mary’s vs Newbridge:
Both teams deservedly went through to the second round after outstanding defensive performances in the first round. Newbridge prevailed against Cistercian Roscrea 14-3 and St. Mary’s dug deep to hold off St. Gerard’s 7-3 in awful conditions.
Newbridge have been labelled as the underdogs of the competition with a notable pre-season and a few extremely talented players. St. Mary’s on the other hand have had a remarkable pre-season with wins over Belvedere and St. Michael’s but didn’t show what they were made of in the first round and have been hit with a huge set back with an injury to Captain Tom Lynch who will be sorely missed for the remainder of the Cup. Newbridge and St. Mary’s have similar teams both retaining the ball close in with the forwards and then unleashing a fierce attack out wide with Jimmy O’Brien and Joe Darcy for Newbridge and Matthew Opperman and Terry Kennedy for St. Mary’s.
Newbridge to beat St. Mary’s purely down to the first round performances, I think Newbridge have the power and determination to push through but if Mary’s show up on the day and find a way of getting on top in the breakdown they could power on to the semi-finals.
Players to Watch: Both fullbacks Jimmy O’Brien and Terry Kennedy are bound to excite as well as the powerful number eight Niall Curran in fourth year who moves from blindside flanker to fill the large boots of Tom Lynch.
Beauchamps JCT Quarter-Finals:
Tuesday 25th February
Newbridge College v Terenure College k.o. 3.00pm Donnybrook.
Wednesday 26th February
Clongowes Wood College v Belvedere College k.o. 3.00pm Donnybrook.
Thursday 27th February
Blackrock College v CUS 3.00pm Donnybrook
St. Gerard’s School v St. Michael’s College k.o. 3.00pm Templeville Rd.
Beauchamps SCT Semi-Finals:
Sunday 2nd March
Newbridge College v Blackrock College k.o. 3.00pm Donnybrook
Tuesday 4th March
St. Andrews College v Clongowes wood College k.o. 4.00pm Donnybrook