St Gerard’s School started the Bank of Ireland Junior Schools Cup quarter-final brightly against Blackrock College by using the ball well and chopping down  Blackrock’s big carriers.

Their lock Matthew Whelan took the ball at the lineout and centre Callan O’Reilly’s footwork nearly worked the magic inside the 22. It was an impressive opening move brought to an end by ‘Rock prop Scott Barron’s alert reaction on the floor.

The Bray school kept the pressure on, flanker Freddi Happonen and number eight Oliver Newsome driving the ball up. When a penalty came their way, they turned down three for a shot at five points. It couldn’t have worked out better as Happonen was able to make it to the line from a lineout for 5-0 in the 14th minute. It didn’t last too long, centre Ben Brownlee’s offload setting Tom Henderson away for 40 metres.

Leinster Schools Junior Cup

The follow-up support was there quickly and tight-head Barron came hard on the angle for a well-executed try, out-half Michael Moloney converting for 7-5 in the 17th minute.

It was back-and-forth from there as St Gerard’s held the ball well without threatening the same level of danger. When scrum-half Thomas Quinn put ‘Rock in behind, Barron and lock Naoise Golden combined to go close just before half-time.

The Williamstown school meant business on the restart, keeping the ball well through Barron and Brownlee for Henderson to put right wing Harry Whelan over on the right in the 32nd minute. They showed the full range of their attack when prop David Walsh delayed his pass for hooker Milo Byrnes to make it two tries in three minutes for Moloney to convert.

Leinster Schools Junior Cup

St Gerard’s needed encouragement and they got it from Newsome’s bullocking run up the middle. They were clean in their carries and ruck work until Henderson’s tackle forced a knock-on by flanker Ciaran Kavanagh.

When their consistent pressure did not reap any reward, Blackrock broke down the left for wing Jude O’Reilly to send Brownlee through for their fourth try, Moloney converting for 26-5 in the 50th minute.

Leinster Schools Junior Cup

St Gerard’s hard work paid off when Happonen came hard off the back of a maul and lock Thomas O’Connor twisted to the line.

There was still time for replacement Cian Moloney to seal Blackrock’s victory, Dylan Stafford kicking the conversion.

At Donnybrook – Blackrock College 33 (S Barron, H Whelan, M Byrnes, B Brownlee, C Moloney try each; M Moloney 3 cons; D Stafford con); St Gerard’s School 10 (F Happonen, T O’Connor try each).


Blackrock College: Cormac O’Brien; Harry Whelan, Tom Henderson, Ben Brownlee, Jude O’Reilly; Michael Moloney, Thomas Quinn; David Walsh, Milo Byrnes, Scott Barron, Naoise Golden, Rory McGuire, Niall Brophy, James Culhane (capt), Sean Dempsey.

Replacements: Sam Loscher for Walsh 41 mins; Max Patterson for Byrnes 50 mins; Dylan Stafford for Moloney, Alex Dinn for Culhane both 56 mins.

St Gerard’s School: Sam Lynch; Adam Whitten, Callan O’Reilly, Cormac Long, Scott Younger; Saul Fitzpatrick, Harry Dunne; Conor McCaul, Luke Long, Darragh McCaul, Mathew Whelan, Thomas O’Connor, Freddi Happonen (capt), Ciaran Kavanagh, Oliver Newsome.

Replacements: Callum Desmond for C McCaul 45 mins; Alan Gordon for Whitten, Mathew Peters for Dunne, Joseph Dempsey for Whelan all 50 mins; Jack Cullen for Whelan, Benjamin Lambert-Owen for Younger both 56 mins.