The Powerade Leinster Senior Schools Cup final will see old rivals Blackrock College face St. Michael’s College on Bank Holiday Monday, 18th March in the RDS (KO: 4pm)…
Not only are these schools geographically close, they also are both Holy Ghost centres of education adding an extra level of spice to what already promises to be a superb game between two of the strongest teams in the competition over the past few years.
Blackrock are rated as 8/15 favourites by the bookies although this is unlikely to faze their Ailesbury Road rivals who undoubtedly will have no problems going into the showpiece of schools rugby as underdogs.
Both teams have had negotiate serious challenges en route to the final with ‘Rock’s semi-final heroics against Roscrea warranting considerable mention. Roscrea, having previously dispatched pre-tournament favourites Terenure, will undoubtedly still harbour regrets having led Blackrock for the majority of the semi-final.
Trailing 20-9 with just ten minutes left, Blackrock produced a display of courage, power and skill to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat leaving their Tipperary based opponents devastated.
While the manner of Roscrea’s 23-20 defeat was surely heart-breaking for the players involved, great credit must go to ‘Rock’s refusal to accept defeat even when it looked inevitable. Such a comeback should mean confidence is sky high in camp although if they give St. Michael’s such a generous start, they may be made pay a far greater price.
In the other semi-final St. Michael’s dispatched a valiant Newbridge side 21-17, scoring arguably the try of the tournament after seven minutes when winger Mikey O’Hare touched down in the right corner following some skilful offloads from forwards and backs alike.
The ability to keep the ball alive and vary the point of attack should certainly pose problems for Blackrock and St. Michael’s will be out to capitalise on a third final appearance in four years, a remarkable level of consistency for a school that wouldn’t have always been rated at the very top of the rugby power rankings in the past.
The past however, is not the present and Michael’s now exist amongst the elite of the competition yearly.
Despite coming into the game as underdogs, a lack of self-belief should not be an issue following close fought victories not only in the aforementioned semi-final but also in the quarter final against Clongowes when the Ailesbury Road outfit prevailed 21-13 in a repeat of last year’s final to set up this year’s mouth-watering showpiece.
What happens when the immovable object meets the unstoppable force? We’ll find out on Monday when four o’clock rolls around.
Leinster Schools Senior Cup Final
Blackrock College v St. Michael’s College
Meanwhile, the SCT Senior Plate Final between Belvedere College SJ v Castleknock College takes place on Thursday, 21st March in Donnybrook (KO: 2.30pm).
Adults – €;5
Schoolchildren – Free