Blackrock and Terenure advance in Junior Cup
February 8, 2023 5:10 pm Des Berry
An attractive double-header provided the entertainment in the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Junior Cup first round at Energia Park on Wednesday afternoon.
Blackrock College 22 Kilkenny College 5
Matthew Wyse’s Blackrock were workmanlike in how they came through a searching test from Kilkenny.
The Williamstown school started well enough, using captain Wyse, lock Ben Geurin and number eight Geoffrey Wall to take them forward.
The chances created were few as Kilkenny’s defence stood firm until the breakthrough came from centre Bernard White, converted by Luke Coffey in the 13th minute.
Kilkenny were able to grow into the game as out-half Tom Dundon distributed the ball well and kicked capably.
They applied enough pressure in the right area of the field for ‘Rock second row George Eggers to be binned.
The Marble city school was looking to huge number eight Charlie Bramley to break the gain line, drawing special attention from ‘Rock’s back row.
The ability of Blackrock to force the issue at the ruck prevented Kilkenny from making real inroads in the first-half.
Front rowers Wyse and Luka Kelly created an opening for wing Rhys Keogh which was snuffed out by Matthew Pierce.
However, a sharply activated lineout-into-maul caught Kilkenny napping for Tom Keaveney to drive over in the 38th minute.
Blackrock were finding space in the wide channels, Keogh testing Pierce again and White sending Gavin Laing on an outside arc to the right corner for 17-0 in the 43rd minute.
There was more deception in how the fourth try came about, the maul creating the go-forward for Charlie Martin to feed Laing for his second.
It looked like the closest Kilkenny would get to scoreboard response would be from a 5-metre tap penalty, Bramley stopped short by a double tackle.
But, they kept on coming long enough and strong enough for Bramley to force his way over on the left at the final whistle.
Scorers – Blackrock – G Laing 2 tries; B White, T Keaveney try each; L Coffey con. Kilkenny – C Bramley try.
Blackrock College – Cael McCloskey (David Byrne 56); Gavin Laing, Jack O’Brien, Bernard White, Rhys Keogh (Jack Mulsow 43); Luke Coffey, Charlie Martin (Oisin Daly 55); Louis Magee (Lorcan Golden 47), Matthew Wyse (Capt, Jamie Shanley 58), Luka Kelly (Tom McAleese 38), George Eggers, Ben Guerin (Paddy Agnew 48), Tom Keaveney, Conall Power (Hugo Carroll 40), Geoffrey Wall.
Kilkenny College – Adam Newton; Matthew Pierce, Aaron Neill, Matthew Bird (Charlie Sheehan 43), David Balfour (Jack Brown 43); Tom Dundon (Finn Brennan 49), Adam Murray; Mark Askins, Ross Hatton (Tom Waugh 56), Aaron Bailey (Harry Roe 54), Freddie Kelly, Harry Matthews (Luke Callinan 43), Simon Neale, Sam Carter, Charlie Bramley (Capt).
Referee – B White, Leinster Branch.
Terenure College 24 Newbridge College 17
One of the pre-competition favourites Terenure were made to fight every step of the way by Newbridge in a tremendous tussle.
The Kildare school had to survive an early onslaught, Ruairi Harrington saving a try on one flank and Johnny Martin doing likewise on the other.
The speed at which ‘Nure were moving was difficult to control, full-back Geoff O’Sullivan stretching the defence to breaking point.
The ball was recycled quickly for hooker Leo Zelman to ground from short range, O’Sullivan adding the conversion in the 10th minute.
They rolled forward in waves, constantly asking questions until lock Max Carter executed a block and gathered for a fine opportunist try in the 15th minute.
Newbridge had enough in the locker to enter the 22, just not the penetration out the back to out-manoeuvre a ferocious, fast defence.
They had the intelligence to go direct, hooker Harrington and prop Jamie Bohan showing the way before Harrington punched in a try for 12-5 in the 26th minute.
There was still time for O’Sullivan to hit full stride and for Zelman to seize on a loose lineout for his second try on half-time.
Once again, Terenure were out of the traps at breakneck speed, Gareth Morgan teasing the passes and O’Sullivan bolting into space.
Then, Bohan broke in behind and Harrington twice rumbled beyond the first tackle to force a penalty which Harrington turned into a try with half his pack driving the hooker over for Harry Mahon to convert in the 40th minute.
The balance of play was evening up, Tom Martin staying ahead of O’Sullivan in a race for the ball and Ethan Balamash’s try rubbed out for a forward pass.
However, out-half Morgan’s pass put Senan Gavin into a hole and the flanker had the pace to round the last man for the try, converted by O’Sullivan in the 56th minute.
Newbridge showed all the character in the world to bounce back for left-wing Kelly to snatch a late try from the last play of the game.
Scorers – Terenure – L Zelman 2 tries; M Carter, S Gavin try; G O’Sullivan 2 cons. Newbridge – R Harrington 2 tries; L Kelly try; H Mahon con.
Terenure College – Geoff O’Sullivan; Jack Cooney (Conor Quinn 40), Niall Fallon, Alvaro Swords, Ethan Balamash (Capt); Gareth Morgan (Hugh Byrne 54), Cathal Martin (Zach Grady 54); Pearse Kelly (Max Ryan 55), Leo Zelman (Harry Nolan 55) , Daniel McKenna (Rory O’Brien 40), Ray Meade (Ollie O’Leary 46), Max Carter (Luke Durkin 56), Senan Gavin, Michael Smyth, Josh Mooney.
Newbridge College – Tom Martin (Michael Kenny 55); Johnny Martin (Conor O’Mongain 55), Peter Murphy (Thomas Forde 20), Brian McCarthy, Luke Kelly; Adam Kennedy, Harry Mahon (Fionnan Galvin 54); Jamie Bohan (Capt), Ruairi Harrington, Colin Hathaway (Cillian Kennedy 56), Ronan Treacy, Daniel Collins (Niall Fitzgerald 50), Simon Connolly (Cillian Kennedy 44), Jonathan Fardy, Oscar Booth.
Referee – J Teehan, Leinster Branch.