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St Mary’s Overcome the Elements and Belvedere.

St Mary’s Overcome the Elements and Belvedere.

18/03/02.Pre-competition favourites Belvedere College came up that little bit short in deplorable conditions against pre-final favourites St Mary’s College in Lansdowne Road.

St Mary’s and Belvedere battled each other, and the wind and the rain in this Coca Cola Leinster Schools Senior Cup final at Lansdowne Road before Mary’s took the title for the fifth time on a 10-6 scoreline. The game was played in torrential rain which made it very difficult for either side to play the open type of rugby they would have liked. In the end Mary’s took the title and on their first half performance alone deserved to do so. It will not be remembered as a classic final but that will not concern St Mary’s who adjusted well to the awful conditions.

Belvedere opened the scoring with a penalty after five minutes from Eamon Fitzgerald, but St Mary’s respnded soon after when Joey Connolly crossed for a try that Michael Finlay converted. Fitzgerald kept his side very much in the hunt with a second penalty and It was 7-6 to Mary’s at half time.

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St Mary’s didn’t manage to seal victory until the closing stages when Jonathan Sexton, a replacement for the injured Connolly, dropped into the pocket to drop a goal for three vital xtra points.

St Mary’s College: S. Grissing; J. Clarke, M. Ryan (captain), M. Finlay, R. Doherty; J. Connolly, S. Gibney; C. O’Byrne, O. McCormack, R. Sweeney, N. Conway, F. O’Sullivan, J. Ryan, C. Lennon, P. Nash. Subs: B. O’Neill for Droe (35), J. Sexton for Connolly (injured, 65).

Belvedere College: E. Fitzgerald; M. Hewitt, B. McLoughlin, P. Hobbs, K. Barden; J. Kennedy, M. Broe; E. O’Meara, P. McGuire, M. Hayes, R. Leyden, B. McArdle, C. Murphy, D. O’Kane, D. O’Brien (captain). Subs: M. Houlihan for O’Sullivan (50), N. Gallagher for Taffe (60-63).

Referee: A. Rolland (IRFU)