Preview of Leinster Schools Rugby Senior Cup 2014 – The draw for the Leinster Schools Senior Cup was quite a mellow with favourites Blackrock, Clongowes and St. Michaels avoiding each other in the first round.
Blackrock are clear favourites to retain the Senior Cup this year with Nick Timoney leading a ferocious pack and Jack Power the pick of the bunch in an impressive backline. Last year Terenure crumbled under the pressure of the favourite tag and Blackrock have shown signs of weakness in pre-season with a loss to Belvedere in recent weeks. However, time and time again, Blackrock have proved they can handle the pressure of being favourites and I think they will add another Senior Cup to their illustrious history in 2014.
First Round Exit:
Both Terenure and Roscrea have been handed the toughest draw and could face an early exit this year.Terenure were hoping for a big season this year after last year’s shock exit but have been the victim of the random draw once again with a horrible first round encounter with St. Michael’s.
Roscrea are the masters of upsets in the Senior Cup and will feel they deserved to be in last year’s final if it hadn’t been for the last minute heartbreak against Blackrock in the semi-finals. They don’t have the depth that they have had in recent years, they may put up a strong fight against an extremely talented Newbridge side but are set to exit.
I don’t think there will be any other upsets so CBCMonkstown, Wesley, Kilkenny and St. Andrews, along with the two qualifiers, look set for an early exit.
St.Michaels and Clongowes will be looking to dethrone the legendary Blackrock this year, both having their fair share of Leinster and Ireland representatives.
St. Michaels may not have the experience to go the distance but will show great promise for the future with a very young squad, including captain James Ryan and scrum-half David Duggan
Belvedere, Newbridge and St.
Belvedere and St. Mary’s caused the biggest upsets in pre-season so far; on the same day that Belvedere grinded out a 13-7 win over Blackrock at home, St.Mary’s put away St. Michaels 26-22 at AilesburyRoad.
The Newbridge side this year includes players that were involved in Junior Cup teams that reached the semi-final and final in consecutive years, including Leinster reps Jimmy O’Brien and Hugh O’Donnell. They have the depth in their squad to gofar if they can get past a stern Roscrea team.
St. Mary’s lack the consistency to go all the way but have proved they can cause an upset through the speed and imagination of Terry Kennedy and Matthew Opperman out wide.
Belvedere has the best chance of the three and if they get a good draw they have a chance of reaching the final.
It’s everybody chasing Blackrock once again in this year’s Senior Cup but as we saw last year, anything can happen. Every team is up for the challenge and we can expect a few upsets from the chasing pack.
One thing is for sure, you will see the passion and pride of Schools Cup Rugby displayed by some of Ireland’s rising talent.
Beauchamps Senior Cup Results:
Belvedere College 28 v Wesley College 3
Castleknock College 15 v St Andrews College 15
Newbridge College 14 v Cistercian Roscrea 3
Clongowes Wood 32 v Kilkenny 15
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