Blackrock Book Junior Cup Final Spot
March 9, 2015 12:00 am client
A last gaps try from right wing Adam Thompson pushed Blackrock through to the Bank of Ireland Leinster Junior Cup final in a real thriller at Donnybrook on Sunday.
It all began with a bewildering series of recycles from Blackrock which was met with a steel curtain, centre Cailean Mulvaney leading the way in defence.
Something had to give. A penalty came and out-half Joey Caputo moved ‘Rock in front in the sixth minute.
Belvedere had not been able to get their hands on the ball. When they did, left wing Sam Barry came charging forward and lock Luke McDermott had a nice pop on the short-side.
Then, a wonder kick by full-back David Lacey put Belvo’ in prime location. ‘Rock openside Michal McGagh just about recovered a stray ball to the tail of their lineout.
The battle for territory was balancing out as Belvedere won two penalties on the halfway line. A really clever lineout move almost worked for them and McDermott wasn’t far away either.
Belvedere were coming in waves, prop James Gleeson breaking the line and full-back Lacey ducking inside to go close.
They just needed to stay composed up against a resolute Blackrock defence well-marshalled by McGagh and captain Liam Turner.
Indeed, Turner’s burst from deep and a splintering maul put ‘Rock back where they wanted to be. They just couldn’t hold onto the ball.
A high-rising garryowen form Belvo’ out-half David Hawkshaw had scrum-half Louis O’Reilly scrambling to do well to reclaim the ball.
However, the forwards came as a package and the turnover allowed Belvedere scrum-half Ted Walsh to kick ahead for wing Barry to pick up a tricky ball and dot down for 5-3 in the 27th minute.
This came as an immediate injection of confidence, lock McDermott taking off for a cracking gain of 30 metres.
Prop Johnny Bell’s good hands forced a penalty for not rolling away, but ‘Rock’s Michael McGagh stole the ball at the front of the lineout.
Belvo’s were not done yet, Barry came at a rate of knots down the left flank. Centre Mulvaney just couldn’t control his offload off the floor to leave them with a two-point edge at half-time.
The northsiders started as they had finished out. Hawkshaw took the ball on at pace and got back in position to have a drop at goal to no avail.
This couldn’t continue for ‘Rock. They found encouragement from tight-head Thomas Clarkson’s bulldozing run and loose-head Giuseppe Coyne almost got away on the right touchline.
The Williamstown school had to find a way of getting back to their phase game. They got access to front foot ball through Coyne and number eight Liam McMahon.
This came as a sharp reminder of the dangers they posed in what was turning into a titanic struggle for ascendancy.
Caputo’s sound distribution put Thompson into space for real headway. Clarkson, Turner, hooker Sean Molony and McMahon all made the gain line to stretch Belvedere before the tenacious Walsh stepped in to grab a loose ball.
Turner was corralled by David Sanfey as ‘Rock came thundering on to eventually earn a penalty, coolly dispatched by Caputo in the 50th minute.
Lacey’s intelligent fielding of a clearance from outside the 22’ gave Belvedere territory and they moved the ball surely with hooker Luan McGrath, McDermott and prop Gleeson making an impact.
The ‘Rock defence was aggressive. But, they did concede a shot at goal to Lacey which the full-back drilled from 25 metres in the 56th minute.
A treble substitution was designed to lift the tempo for ‘Rock and Belvo number eight Ruadhan Byron had to be vigilant to deal with a tricky grubber as the tension spiked.
Blackrock went to their maul. It drew a penalty. They went to the lineout again and the maul again. The backs were on hand. Turner attracted defenders and wing Thompson made the line.
Caputo kicked the conversion. Time was up.
BLACKROCK COLLEGE 13 BELVEDERE COLLEGE 8
At Donnybrook – BLACKROCK COLLEGE 13 (A Thompson try; J Caputo 2 pens, con); BELVEDERE COLLEGE 8 (S Barry try; D Lacey pen).
Blackrock: N Brady; A Thompson, L Turner (capt), R Hally-Doody, D Colgan; J Caputo, L O’Reilly; G Coyne, S Molony, T Clarkson, T Godson-Treacy, J Stapleton, J Burke, M McGagh, L McMahon.
Replacements: M Grogan for Godson-Treacy, J Slevin for Burke, H Donnelly for O’Reilly all 55 mins; R Gallagher for Clarkson 58 mins.
Belvedere: D Lacey; J Crumlish, D Sanfey, C Mulvaney, S Barry; D Hawkshaw, T Walsh; J Gleeson, L McGrath, J Bell, L McDermott, M Daly, J McComish, H Beggy (capt), R Byron.
Replacements: M Hynes for Bell 48 mins; J Haughey for McGrath 53 mins; J Meagher for Sanfey 56 mins.
Referee: D Blake, Leinster Branch.