BELVEDERE COLLEGE 48
ST GERARD'S SCHOOL 0
It took three tries in nine minutes to crack this Powerade Leinster Junior Cup semi-final right open.
There had been a stalemate played out between the 22-metre lines.
Then Belvo got into position. St Gerard's made the understandable mistake of allowing Belvedere to get their maul into motion from the 22-metre line in the 16th minute. Once the northsiders had a good thing going, however, they were not inclined to stop. The pressure mounted with every extra metre taken.
It rolled all the way to within sight of the line. Not content to take the penalty on offer, Belvo moved the ball right and centre. Jesse Iredale took it on the cut-back to wrong-foot the defence and surge to the line.
Centre Iredale was back to cause havoc in the midfield with his physicality. The ball was forced loose and James McKeown seized on it to race away to the posts. He also converted.
The confidence of the Belvedere players was through the roof. They thundered forth, shifting the point of attack one way then the other for captain, Dan McCaffrey, for try number three to make it 17-0 in the 25th minute.
St Gerard's were not completely outplayed. They offered total commitment and energy-sapping defence, not to mention a willingness to take the fight forward with lock Liam Keaney and hooker Daniel Power to the fore.
The irresistible Iredale, with a flat ball, and McKeown broke open the defence for the latter to slide inside the last defender, adding the conversion for a 24-0 lead at the interval.
The onslaught continued into the new half, Iredale bursting through two tackles for his second from close range in the 35th minute. Replacement Conor Jennings converted.
Captain McCaffrey was in the van of a driving maul to dot down. McKeown took advantage of a favourable bounce for his third for Jennings to convert and it was Jennings who concluded the eight-try haul in injury time.
Although there was a gulf in class, the outstanding attitude of St Gerard's captain, Billy O'Reilly, lock Liam Keaney, centre Conor O'Farrell and full-back Ben Kealy was a source of character.
Belvo will move on to a final date with Blackrock next Wednesday.
SCORERS – Belvedere College: J McKeown 3 tries, 2 cons; J Iredale, D McCaffrey 2 tries each, C Jennings try, 2 cons). St Gerard's School: 0.
Belvedere: M Oliver; G Farrell, J McKeown, J Iredale, C O'Sullivan; H Sexton, H O'Sullivan; C Wynne-Walsh, S Osborne, T de Jongh, H Fenlon, B Egan, D McCaffrey (capt), S McNulty, K Callaghan.
Replacements: J McNicholl for Osborne 22 mins; C Jennings for McNicholl 32 mins; B Gibbons for Callaghan 36 mins – temp; E Bannon for O'Sullivan 45 mins; B Gibbons for McKeown 52 mins; C Galvin for Wynne-Walsh, A Peate for McCaffrey, C Minogue for Farrell, C Byrne for McNulty all 58 mins.
St Gerard's: B Kealy; M Dalton, D Hodgins, C O'Farrell, B Ho; M O'Brien, T Foley; R Buckley, D Power, S Gallagher, L Keaney, B Behan, A Courtney, S Kenny, B O'Reilly (capt). Replacements: S Stapleton for Behan 11 mins; S Keogh for Power, L Lalor for Dalton both 36 mins; M Geoghegan for Ho, P Stanley for Buckley both 52 mins; M Kissane for Keaney, I Gallagher for Foley, D Brodeur for Kealy all 55 mins.
Referee: K Beggs, Leinster Branch.