Roscrea dominated the first half creating four clear cut try scoring opportunities but crucially, converted none. Their only reward was a penalty from fly-half Ciarán Gaffney which was equalled by Belvedere full-back Darragh Kennedy — who had a major influence on the destination of the Plate.
Roscrea had to contend without their Ireland U18 Schools’ forwards Rory Moloney and Sean O’Brien, who were preparing for the European Championships at Easter.
This took from their leadership up front where their forwards lacked discipline, handing chance after chance to Kennedy. Sadly, the full-back was off target from the ground on numerous occasions.
Instinctive work by flanker Killian Buckley, when the ball shot out of a Belvo scrum, started a desperate rearguard action which ended in a simple penalty awarded to Gaffney in the 48th minute.
While Kennedy struggled from placed balls, he was intent on making amends with ball in hand, looking the most likely to break the Roscrea cover. This he did on a bending out-to-in run which wrong-footed the defence for the decisive try in the 63rd minute.
CISTERCIAN ROSCREA: P O’Dwyer (capt); F Higgins, C Brennan, M Mellotte, M Fitzgerald; C Gaffney, G Ryan; S Moran, S Cody, O Heffernan, A McGrath, A Mackey, K Buckley, R Enraght-Mooney, E Quirke.
Replacements: M Gavin for Mackey (58), J Foley Buckley (65).
BELVEDERE: D Kennedy; N Hubbard, C O’Sullivan, F Sullivan, A Larkin; J Hawkshaw, C O’Leary; T O’Hara, G Doyle, E Lysaght, O Waldron, R Fenlon, F Whealan, T Gibbons, R Mullen (capt).
Replacements: S Gaine for Fenlon, S McDonnell for Lysaght (both 57).
Referee: J Carey (Leinster Branch)