Scenes of joy as Cistercian Roscrea claim first title

Cistercian College Roscrea 18, Belvedere College 11:

Scenes of joy as Cistercian Roscrea claim first title

Belvedere, going for broke in the last moments of a pulsating final in a bid to force a replay, were held out in a manner that befitted the new champions, a last ditch tackle forcing a turnover on the line in the 67th minute. And, if drama was the order of those closing moments, there was no doubt Roscrea were full value for their history-making victory.

All the neutrals were in favour of this win over a Belvedere side bidding for their 11th title. Although the game produced a share of handling errors, it was still a final to remember and one clearly never to be forgotten in Roscrea and its environs as the local college overcame a side with a lot more tradition in the history of this tournament.

But Roscrea matched everything favourites Belvedere could produce and responded with a huge amount of passion as they carried the game to the favourites in a tense but hugely exciting second-half. The winners clearly enjoyed the better of that second 35 minute spell and had they failed to hold out as hearts fluttered in those last three minutes it would certainly have been an injustice.

Belvedere made the early running and duly took the lead after nine minutes. A powerful scrum shove turned over possession and from the next set piece they produced a classic 8/9/14 move to secure an excellent try. Tom De Jongh broke off the tail of the scrum but it was Hugh O’Sullivan’s further thrust and fine pass that created the try for winger Sean Long.

Roscrea opened their account through centre Tim Foley with a 19th minute penalty and they cranked up the pressure from a Joe Murphy/Rob Wharton attack before finally losing possession near the Belvedere line two minutes later. The excitement mounted with both teams committed to attack but with handling errors and turnovers the order of the day.

Roscrea did get everything right when they grabbed a try in 32nd minutes after Tim Carroll forced the Belvedere defence to concede a five metre scrum. The strong set piece allowed number eight Dan Trayers get pick up and go ball and he bustled his way over past two defenders. Tim Foley missed the conversion and Belvedere finally drew level at second time of asking from a Jennings penalty on half time. He had missed another attempt a minute earlier.

All square at 8-8 at the interval then, and all to play for.

As they did in the opening half, Belvedere started well and regained the lead with a third penalty from out half Jennings but then relinquished it quickly. The try from Roscrea winger Daniel Keane was like a carbon copy of Belvedere’s first-half effort from Long and full-back Carroll was heavily involved to make the half break and provide a perfect scoring pass for a try that Foley brilliantly converted from the right hand touchline.

Foley set pulses racing in his side’s camp when he kicked a 56th minute penalty to stretch the lead out to seven points, forcing the Dublin college to play catch-up as Roscrea went in search of a game clinching score with some clever interplay between Carroll and out half Alan Tynan.

They were 10 minutes from history as they piled on the pressure before finally allowing Belvedere one last glimmer of hope with a breakout penalty and an attacking movement that came desperately close to yielding a try. Belvedere lost the ball on the line and Roscrea scrambled clear from the scrum before managing to contain anything else Belvedere had left in reserve.

CISTERCIAN COLLEGE, ROSCREA: T Carroll, D Keane, R Wharton, T Foley (captain), J Murphy, A Tynan, K Kavanagh, L Walsh, E Maher, D Murphy, F Wycherley, A Browne, S Meagher, D Trayers, M Keane.

Replacements: B Diffley for Meagher (41), P Gavin for Browne (64), K Cahir for Keane (71).

BELVEDERE COLLEGE: E Cleere, S Long, J McKeown, D Monaghan, O McGrath, E Jennings, H O’Sullivan, M Sweeney (captain), A Hynes, E Molloy, J Kenny, B Egan, J Iredale, T De Jongh, M Kearney.

Replacements: G Kelly for McGrath (50), S McNulty for Kenny (51), D McCaffrey for Hynes, H Sexton for McKeown (both 56). J Clarke for Molloy (67)Temporary- R McGreevy for Egan (30-35).

Referee. D Phillips (IRFU)

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