Leinster Schools Senior Cup Quarter-Final: Gonzaga College V Belvedere College – The Irish Examiner – February 21 2024

Leinster Senior Cup: Gonzaga snatch victory at the death to book semi berth

Gonzaga pounced for an Aidan O’Flanagan five-pointer right at the death and a nerveless bonus strike from Daragh O’Dwyer ultimately propelled them into the forthcoming semi-finals.


Gonzaga College 34 Belvedere College 33

Aidan O’Flanagan and Daragh O’Dwyer were the heroes at Energia Park yesterday as defending champions Gonzaga College snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against Belvedere College in a compelling Leinster Schools Senior Cup quarter-final.

Eight points in front with less than 10 minutes remaining in the Donnybrook venue, the Ranelagh school were on the verge of a last-eight exit after Belvedere lock Cillian McCann claimed a brace of quickfire converted tries.

However, Gonzaga subsequently pounced for an O’Flanagan five-pointer right at the death and a nerveless bonus strike from O’Dwyer ultimately propelled them into the forthcoming semi-finals.

Gonzaga had made a dream start to the action when fly-half O’Dwyer charged down an attempted clearance by his opposite number Hugh Fitzgerald for a fourth-minute try that he also converted – only for their north Dublin counterparts to fire back almost immediately with a similar effort from dynamic No 8 Harry Goslin.

There proved to be little to separate the teams as the first half wore on and with Goslin cancelling out a Gonzaga five-pointer courtesy of JP Breslin, the sides were level at 12-12 during the interval.

However, Belvo lost their left-wing Gordon Barr to the sin-bin at the very end of the opening period and before he could return to the field of play, Gonzaga hooker Luke McLaughlin had driven over the line for a 39th minute try.

An O’Dwyer penalty subsequently stretched the south Dubliners 10 points in front and even though Belvo struck back with another try from loosehead prop Eoin McDermott (supplemented by an Andre Ryan conversion) on the third-quarter mark, McLaughlin’s second score of the half kept Gonzaga very much in the driving seat.

This Belvo side had come from behind to defeat Clongowes Wood College in the first round of this year’s Senior Cup, however, and looked set to do the same as a consequence of McCann’s clinical finishes in the 64th and 66th minutes respectively.

Yet there was to be a final twist in the tale and it was the impressive duo of O’Flanagan and O’Dwyer who ultimately ensured Gonzaga’s progression to the penultimate round.

Scorers for Gonzaga College: Tries – L McLaughlin (2), D O’Dwyer, JP Breslin, A O’Flanagan. Pens – D O’Dwyer. Cons – D O’Dwyer (3).

Scorers for Belvedere College: Tries – H Goslin (2), C McCann (2), E McDermott. Cons – A Ryan (4).

GONZAGA COLLEGE: N Byrne; JP Breslin, A O’Flanagan, P Masterson, B Colbert; D O’Dwyer, T Brophy; S Heneghan, L McLaughlin, J Sheil; M Kennedy, M Bruton; J Mulligan, C Kennedy, M Tyrrell.

Replacements: M Doherty for Bruton (29), Z Mulligan for Colbert (54), J O’Dwyer for Brophy (58), J Brophy for McLaughlin (69).

BELVEDERE COLLEGE: T Quinn; H Ennis, D Lord, A Ryan, G Barr; H Fitzgerald, M Doyle; E McDermott, M McCarthy, B Merry; C McCann, R McCann; C McLoughlin, A Clarke, H Goslin.

Replacements: S Barry for Ennis (18), P McGrath for McCarthy, C Quinn for Merry, C McKinley for McLoughlin, C Fitzgerald for Clarke (all 43), C Lyons for Barry (59).

Referee: P Haycock (LRR).

This entry was posted in Schools Rugby. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.