One of the key factors in Belvo’s success was their ability to nullify the Roscrea maul while head coach Phil Werahiko also heaped praised the decision making of his charges.
“Obviously, we worked on the tactics, but it takes the decision makers, the leaders, to make that decision. When to withdraw from the line-out, but also when to challenge it. When you see Roscrea not achieving, ultimately, what they’ve done in the last number of matches, you feel that you’ve certainly achieved something right. That’s obviously a reflection also of the leaders’ decision making. When to do it, and when not to do it. They were crucial moments as well.”
Roscrea had created history by securing last year’s honours, but it was Belvo who hit the ground running in the Ballsbridge venue. Although prop Daniel McCaffrey was halted just shy of the line three minutes into the action, a subsequent line-out maul was finished off underneath the posts by full-back Hugh O’Sullivan.
That was followed by a routine conversion from outside centre Conor Jennings (one of six starters in the Belvo line-up from the 2015 decider), but with skipper Simon Meagher leading by example, Roscrea responded well to this early set-back.
However, the disciplined Belvo defence held firm under pressure, and on the stroke of 20 minutes, they doubled their advantage. Max Kearney dotted down at a left-hand angle for a converted score.
Roscrea then breathed a sigh of relief when a spectacular James McKeown touchdown was ruled out for a forward pass from Peter Maher, but the Great Denmark Street outfit still brought a commanding 14-0 cushion into the interval.
This wasn’t an insurmountable deficit for Roscrea, but within 60 seconds of the restart, Belvo had left them with a mountain to climb. Joe Murphy did his best to halt McKeown progress towards to the right-corner, but with momentum on his side, the Belvo winger reached his destination for the game’s third try.
It seemed like only a matter of time before Belvo added further to their lead, and when Jennings opted for touch ten minutes into the half, the excellent Maher received the ball in space on the left-hand side, and ultimately added his name to the scoresheet with an unconverted score. This effectively placed the outcome beyonddoubt, and even though Roscrea almost opened their account on the hour mark, McKeown eased through for his second try from an outstanding counter attack. There was some tiny solace for Roscrea with a 69th-minute five-pointer from replacement flanker Jack Culligan (which was followed by an Alan Tynan drop-kick conversion), but it wasn’t enough to temper the Belvedere College celebrations.
J McKeown 2 tries, H O’Sullivan, M Kearney, P Maher try each, C Jennings 3 cons.
J Culligan try, A Tynan con.
H O’Sullivan; J McKeown, C Jennings, H Sexton, P Maher; D Hawkshaw, P Cagney; D McCaffrey, C Galvin, C Wynne-Walsh; H Fenlon, B Egan; S McNulty, M Kearney, T De Jongh.
J Iredale for Fenlon, J Kenny for McNulty (both 56), C Molloy for McCaffrey, J Robinson for Wynne-Walsh (both 60), S Osborne for Galvin, R Byron for Cagney, F Flood for Kearney, F Smith for Sexton (all 67).
C Kelly; D Keane, P O’Shea, S Hastings, J Murphy; A Tynan, K Kavanagh; M Milne, E Maher, D Murphy; F Wycherley, A Browne; B Diffley, J Canning, S Meagher.
F Crowley for Kavanagh (28), J Culligan for Diffley (h-t), B Hyland for Hastings (47), R Lomas for Milne, E Browne for Kelly (both 52), C Walsh for Canning (59), D Treacy for D Murphy, A Murphy for A Browne (both 60).
D Blake (LRR).