Cistercian College Roscrea will aim to create history at the RDS this afternoon, when they seek to claim the Leinster Schools’ Senior Cup crown for the first time.
Standing in their way are Belvedere College, who are currently joint-second with Terenure on the competition’s roll of honour.
The Great Denmark St school’s most recent final win was against St Mary’s College in 2008, and another victory in Ballsbridge would provide them with their 11th success at this grade.
Tradition will certainly be on Belvo’s side for this showpiece, but Roscrea have already upset the odds to make the decider. They shocked Blackrock College (who were a chasing a third consecutive title) at the quarter-final stage with the help of tighthead prop Dylan Murphy’s last-minute try, before requiring a replay to overcome Newbridge College in the penultimate round.
Roscrea are well represented at provincial level by Leinster U18 stars Alan Tynan, Mattie Keane, Tim Carroll and Tim Foley — who will captain the team from inside centre.
Assessing Belvedere’s prospects is slightly more difficult, as they have played one game less than Roscrea, and enjoyed comfortable victories over Gonzaga College (32-5) and CBC Monkstown (42-14).
Indeed, following tries by Oscair McGrath, Eoin Cleere, Dan McCaffrey and Leinster underage prodigy Conor Jennings, they were on their way to another comprehensive win over Clongowes in their semi-final, before an extraordinary fight-back by the Clane school meant that they held on by the slenderest of margins (27-26).
The majority of this performance served notice of their potential, however, and with 15 tries in just three outings, Roscrea (who will be playing in their fifth final) will need to curb the devastating attacking threat of Phil Werahiko’s charges.
BELVEDERE COLLEGE: E Cleere; S Long, J McKeown, D Monaghan, O McGrath; C Jennings, H O’Sullivan; M Sweeney, A Hynes, E Molloy; C McCaffrey, B Egan; J Iredale, M Kearney, T De Jongh.
Replacements: J Clarke, F Dillon-Kelly, D McCaffrey, S McNulty, G O’Kelly, J Kenny, H Sexton, D Boylan.
CISTERCIAN COLLEGE ROSCREA: T Carroll; D Keane, R Wharton, T Foley, J Murphy; A Tynan, K Kavanagh; L Walsh, E Maher, D Murphy; F Wycherley, A Browne; S Meagher, M Keane, D Trayers.
Replacements: P McKeon, M Jordan, J Teahan Bourke, P Gavin, B Diffley, K Cahir, S Kilgallen, P O’Shea.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved