Blackrock and Terenure ends in Junior Cup stalemate
March 13, 2023 4:20 pm Des Berry
Blackrock College 21 Terenure College 21
A brilliant try by Ethan Balamash, converted by Geoff O’Sullivan, guaranteed a replay of this Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Junior Cup semi-final at Energia Park on Monday afternoon.
The slippery conditions were a challenge to the basic skills and the refusal of both schools to accept this made for an array of knock-ons early on.
It looked like whichever adapted better would hold an advantage, Blackrock suffering the loss of scrum-half Jack O’Brien in the fourth minute.
Out-half Gareth Morgan’s penalty to touch put Terenure deep inside the 22 where the forwards took over for hooker Leo Zelman to crash over, Geoff O’Sullivan converting in the 10th minute.
Wings O’Sullivan and Balamash, the captain, were obvious strengths to ‘Nure’s attack, both looking dangerous on the ball.
Blackrock were limited to using Luke Coffey’s left boot to escape pressure until they were handed field position, wing James Browne stepping out of one tackle and around another for a try, converted by Coffey in the 20th minute.
The ball imitated a bar of soap in a cold shower as it slipped from one team to the other, Balamash almost engineering a response down the left.
In a similar move, out-half Gareth Morgan’s inside ball was taken all the way by the electric Balamash for O’Sullivan’s extras to make it 14-7 in the 24th minute.
They were forced into defensive mode as Blackrock enjoyed their first period of sustained phase play which ended in a knock-on to bring the half to an end.
The focus was on how ‘Rock would go about reversing the trend of the game, starting on the gain line and at the ruck.
The all-round physicality of Terenure was on a higher level and Blackrock countered by getting to the outside where Geoffrey Wall slipped Browne through, only to be denied by a foot- in-touch.
The topsy-turvy nature of the contest was revealed when Terenure promptly lost their lineout before winning the maul back by keeping a maul up.
However, ‘Rock were growing, Rhys Keogh showing up twice to first cut through in midfield and then sweep into the left corner for Coffey to convert from the touchline in the 48th minute. .
They were soon in front for the first time when centre Bernard White powered onto a short ball for Coffey to make it 21-14 in the 52nd minute.
It was ‘Nure’s turn to come from behind, a burst by centre Niall Fallon creating the space for Balamash to do his thing from halfway, O’Sullivan calmly converting in injury-time.
Scorers – Blackrock – J Browne, R Keogh, B White try each; L Coffey 3 cons. Terenure – E Balamash 2 tries; L Zelman try each; G O’Sullivan 3 cons.
Blackrock College: Cael McCloskey; James Browne, Oisin Daly, Bernard White, Rhys Keogh; Luke Coffey, Jack O Brien (Charlie Martin 4); Louis Magee (Luka Kelly 41), Matthew Wyse (Capt), Lorcan Golden (Ben Guerin 41), George Eggers, Conall Power, Tom Keaveney, Tom McAleese (Paddy Agnew 39), Geoffrey Wall.
Terenure College: Conor Quinn (Jack Cooney 52) ; Geoff O’Sullivan, Niall Fallon, Alvaro Swords, Ethan Balamash (Capt); Gareth Morgan, Cathal Martin (Zach Grady 49); Pearse Kelly, Leo Zelman, Daniel McKenna (Rory O’Brien 44), Ray Meade (Luke Durkin 49), Ollie O’Leary, Senan Gavin, Michael Smyth, Josh Mooney.
Referee – J Carvill, Leinster Branch.