Newbridge College: 36
Belvedere College: 17
The prospect of an all-Kildare Leinster Junior Cup final is now a very real possibility after Newbridge College joined Clongowes Wood College, in the last four of this year’s competition after a commanding display against Belvedere College in Lakelands Park, Terenure last Tuesday afternoon.
Having won the Leinster Junior School League Cup crown in January, Newbridge also have the chance of completing a memorable double this season, and should they continue to play in the manner that they did in Terenure RFC, then they will certainly take some stopping.
Much of the damage in this game was done in the opening half, when the South Kildare men took full advantage of a strong downfield wind to rack up a total of four first-half tries courtesy of out-half Mark Sutton, winger Joe Darcy, flanker Cormac Nugent, and exceptional full-back Chris Healy.
It was always going to be a real advantage playing with the breeze in the opening half, as it can be very hard to stop a side if they build a head of steam at this level, and even though Belvedere defended gallantly for the most part during the opening half, they eventually succumbed to intense pressure from Newbridge.
In contrast, the only score that the Great Denmark Street side could muster during the half was a solitary penalty from centre Sean McCullagh, as Newbridge went in at the break with an impressive 24-3 advantage.
There could be no underestimating the strength of the wind in the capital however, and Newbridge had to keep Belvedere at bay on a number of occasions, and it took some expertly-timed tackles from the likes of Paddy Kyne, Hugh O’Donnell and No. 8 Tom Brady to stop Belvedere from getting through just after the re-start.
To Belvedere’s credit, they did continue to persevere, and they got the try that their efforts deserved with 15 minutes remaining when powerful second-row Paddy Foley drove over the line from a long maul.
This score was easily converted by McCullagh, and suddenly a bit of momentum had gathered the way of Belvedere. However, Newbridge were quick to respond to the concession of this try, as influential skipper O’Donnell powered over for an insurance try.
Swapped converted tries would follow from Belvedere lock Michael Hanlon and second-half replacement Niall Fleming, as Newbridge now move on to a last-four date this Sunday against St. Michael’s College in Donnybrook, in what promises to be a tight and tense affair.
C Healy; P Kyne, J Howlett, J O’Neill, J Darcy; M Sutton, B Finan; J Phelan, C Doyle, H O’Donnell, S Treacy, T Treacy, C Nugent, M O’Connor, T Brady. Replacements: N Delahunt for O’Neill (34), N Fleming for Howlett (47), C Conlon for Doyle (48), M Stapleton for Sutton (58), J Deane for Phelan (68).
C Clifford; S Cole, S McCullagh, N Turley, J Mulvaney; M White, A Foy; L Browne, N Jennings, B Lysaght, M Hanlon, P Foley, J Doyle, T Keane, J Hutchinson. Replacements: F O’Meara for Cole (36), J McGauran for Jennings (61).
R O’Flynn (ARLB).