Blackrock Through to the 2018 Senior Final
March 6, 2018 6:32 pm Site Editor
Blackrock College moved into the Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Schools Senior Cup Final at the expense of a brave St Mary’s College today on a score of 42-15 at Donnybrook Stadium.
Blackrock were quickly into their stride, skipping around the outside to draw a penalty which they used off the top of a subsequent lineout. The carriers came in waves, requiring St Mary’s lock Sean Heeran to hold the ball up over the line.
The scrum was executed well for full-back Stephen Madigan to put wing Liam McMahon over in the right corner for 5-0 in the sixth minute. At this point, Blackrock looked like they meant business.
The Rathmines school had to get the ball to the edges with ‘Rock’s Liam Turner patrolling that area.
Nonetheless, out-half Sean Bourke’s risky pass put right-wing Hugo Conway in space for a gain that fed their confidence. However double hits from hooker Sean Molony and flanker Michael McGagh caused a turnover in ‘Rock’s favour.
When St Mary’s sat back in defence, it invited trouble and out-half James Tarrant nailed a penalty for 8-0 in the 15th minute.
St Mary’s had to do something and left-wing Eoin Carey broke ‘Rock open with a counter that needed a try-saving tackle by full-back Stephen Madigan. It roused the crowd and the forwards took up the baton to force a penalty, struck cleanly by full-back Ruairi Shields for St. Mary’s first score to make it 8-3 in the 18th minute.
Then, superb sleight of hand by Turner put left wing Harry Donnelly through a hole for Blackrock’s second try, converted by Tarrant for 15-3 in the 22nd minute. And it got worse for St Mary’s when out-half Sean Bourke’s grubber was blocked and picked up by Donnelly for his second try in four minutes, converted by Tarrant.
There was a glimmer of hope when Blackrock number eight Ed Brennan was binned.
St Mary’s had to take advantage of the extra man and Shields galloped for 30 metres however without the support in tow. They couldn’t quite make it work and Turner moved menacingly past hallway to slip the ball to McMahon for his second try, just as Brennan returned to the field of play on half-time.
The scoreboard pressure was increased by full-back Stephen Madigan’s three pointer in the 38th minute.
St Mary’s were to their credit making line-breaks but without the connections to turn into tries, Carey cutting through in isolation on a number of occasions. Then, prop Sean O’Reilly and centre Tim McMahon combined to good effect down the left flank only for the latter to lose the ball.
The game became somewhat disjointed as prop Thomas Clarkson added Blackrock’s fifth try for Madigan to convert in the 53rd minute. The plethora of replacements left holes and St Mary’s’ McMahon split the defence and wing Conway came within one pass of handing Joe Nolan a try on a plate.
They got it right the second time for Conway to execute the pass for Nolan to strike on the right, Shields converting in the 62nd minute. They came again from the restart for McMahon to make ground and Conway to carry the ball the rest of the way for a spectacular try for 37-15 in the 64th minute.
Blackrock had the final say when Gavin Jones sliced through for their sixth try.
At Donnybrook – BLACKROCK COLLEGE 42 (H Donnelly, L McMahon 2 tries each; T Clarkson, G Jones try each; J Tarrant pen, 2 cons; S Madigan pen, con); ST MARY’S COLLEGE 15 (J Nolan, H Conway try each; R Shields pen, con).
Blackrock College: Stephen Madigan; Liam McMahon, Liam Turner (capt), Tom Maher, Harry Donnelly; James Tarrant, Louis O’Reilly; Donnacha Mescal, Sean Molony, Thomas Clarkson, Sean O’Brien, Jack Stapleton, Josh Dixon, Michael McGagh, Ed Brennan.
Replacements: Cian Duffy for Mescal, Jack Loscher for Brennan, Gavin Jones for Maher all 48 mins; Rory Madigan for Tarrant 52 mins; Ross Barron for McMahon, Luke Mion for Molony both 53 mins; Daniel Foley for O’Brien, Hugo O’Malley for Clarkson both 56 mins.
St Mary’s College: Ruairi Shields; Hugo Conway, Ben McDonnell, Timothy MacMahon, Eoin Carey; Sean Bourke, Adam McEvoy; Sean O’Reilly, Gavin O’Brien, Conor McElearney, Sean Heeran, Ian Wickham, Oscar Byrne, Harry McSweeney (capt), Niall Hurley.
Replacements: Michael McEvoy for McDonnell ht; Joe Nolan for Byrne 44 mins; Eoin Franklin for A McEvoy 51 mins; Peter Masterson for Bourke, Elliott Massey for O’Reilly both 53 mins; Craig Walsh for O’Brien, Eoin Byrne for Wickham, Eoin Power for McElearney all 65 mins.