Blackrock College 41 Newbridge College 5

Blackrock College have joined Gonzaga College in the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup final at the RDS Arena on Sunday, 3 April.

The final will kick off at 1pm.

The loss of Paddy Taylor, only a fourth year, to injury would have come as a cruel blow to Newbridge, Tom Bohan stepping in at out-half for what looked like a tall order.

A Hugh Cooney hit on Callum Bolton let Newbridge know early on what was coming and the hands of Cooney soon released Eoghan Walsh up the left.

When that faltered, the ‘Bridge were away, hooker Mark Masterson moving through a gap and away from chasers in a blistering turn of foot.

Then, Tom Waters’ clever kick tumbled beyond the dead ball area in a cruel bounce of the ball.

The scrum back was moved right for Cooney to put Ruben Moloney away, drawing in the last man for Charlie Molony to stroll home, Zach Quirke converting in the sixth minute.

A slick offload from scrum-half Brophy almost put Ciaran Mangan in space. But, a mistake enabled ‘Rock to stitch together a fine attack in which left wing Walsh, hooker Gus McCarthy and Moloney combined for Luke Kritzinger to finish for 12-0 in the ninth minute.

In contrast, Newbridge were unable to haul in a lineout on their first incursion into the 22 and this was further compromised by losing the next throw too.

Centre Waters poached a penalty to put them back in the right area. Again, the lineout broke down.

The back row exchange between Inigo Cruise-O’Brien and Liam Molony was backed up by Paddy McCarthy’s burst and Alex Mullan’s carry to force a penalty which Quirke nailed for 15-0 in as many minutes.

A dink over the top by Bohan was collected by openside Ronan McGroary and Brophy orchestrated the chance for Waters to cut back against the grain before Ciaran Mangan’s offload went to ground.

Finally, the lineout started to work for Newbridge, forcing multiple penalties and a warning from referee Padraic Reidy, resulting in the binning of Paddy McCarthy at the end of the next attack.

When Newbridge lock Shane Treacy was stopped on the line by Kritzinger, Inigo Cruise-O’Brien joined McCarthy in the bin for a no-arms tackle.

The problem was Newbridge No 8 Sam Fitzgibbon sought out contact from a five-metre scrum and Masterson spilled the ball in the tackle.

A scything break by replacement Maxim Aschenbrenner relieved the pressure and Max Barry was too slow to roll away at a ruck, Quirke missing his kick to the left.

But, ‘Rock had survived the disadvantage of losing two players and wasted no time in sending a maul forward for Cruise-O’Brien to pile over, Quirke’s conversion making it 22-0 at the break.

The last thing Newbridge would have wanted was to see Tom Brigg pounce on a knock-on behind the line for the fourth try for Quirke to convert.

Another testing kick from Bohan caused a five-metre scrum and wings Todd Lawlor and Mangan slipped tackles to go close.

The physicality of Rock’s defence drove their opponents backwards until quick-thinking from Brophy found Lawlor taking a lovely line for a try in the 45th minute.

In typical fashion, Blackrock blasted back for Conor Tonge to ground the ball, Quirke added the conversion.

It was left to Cruise-O’Brien to show sheer class in taking Will Fitzgerald’s pass up the short side, chipping Brophy and gathering for a superb touchdown in the 63rd minute.

Gus McCarthy became Blackrock’s third man in the bin which set his teammates the task of keeping Newbridge out.

Like much of what went before, they didn’t disappoint.

Scorers – Blackrock College: I Cruise-O’Brien two tries; C Molony, L Kritzinger, T Brigg, C Tonge try each; Z Quirke pen, four cons. Newbridge College: T Lawlor try.

Blackrock College – Ruben Moloney; Charlie Molony (Maxim Aschenbrenner 19), Hugh Cooney, Luke Kritzinger, Eoghan Walsh (Conor O’Shaughnessy 59); Zach Quirke, Oliver Coffey (Will Fitzgerald 57); Max Holmes (Tom O’Riordan 57), Gus McCarthy (capt), Paddy McCarthy (Andersson 44); Tom Brigg (Andreas Andersson 27), Alex Mullan (Conor Tonge 29); Liam Molony (Jack Angulo 57), Inigo Cruise-O’Brien, Kevin Jackson (Mikey Yarr 57).

Newbridge College – Callum Bolton (Adam Larkin Smithers 49); Todd Lawlor, John Collins, Tom Waters (Michael Collins 59), Ciaran Mangan; Tom Bohan (Diarmuid Enright 65), Tadhg Brophy; Finn Mahon (Denis Dowling h-t), Mark Masterson (Oliver Udell 49), Patrick Stapleton (Billy Bohan h-t), Max Barry (Shane Davitt 51), Shane Treacy, Kieran Kelly (capt), Ronán McGroary, Sam Fitzgibbon(Sam Watson 44).

Referee – Padraic Reidy