Preview: Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Junior Cup final
March 19, 2019 3:05 pm Ryan Corry
The Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Junior Cup final takes place on Wednesday, 20 March at 3pm in Energia Park.
Contesting the decider this year are holders Blackrock College and 2017 winners St Michael’s College.
It is the seventh consecutive final at this grade for Blackrock College, of which they have won five.
St Michael’s record of final appearances has also been impressive, so much so that you have to go back to the 2005 final between Belvedere College and Terenure College for the last time neither of Blackrock or Michael’s featured.
And it must be noted that the Ailesbury Road school have been particularly impressive this year, totalling 94 points in their three cup games to date, conceding just 10. All of those 10 points came in the semi-final win over Gonzaga.
In scrum-half Fintan Gunne, they have one of the standout players of the competition this year.
As well as providing a scoring threat, from play and the boot, he has been a bundle of energy, composedly covering every inch of Energia Park.
In Blackrock’s Will Fitzgerald, he may meet his match here. Fitzgerald and half-back partner Zach Quirke have expertly controlled games this year.
‘Rock have benefitted hugely from the pace of Ethan Laing on the left flank. The winger has picked up five tries in the Junior Cup already.
Their back row is well marshalled by captain Gus McCarthy and ‘Rock can depend on Jamie McLoughlin and Liam Molony to carry them forward.
They’ll need to be at their best against a pack who have been unforgiving so far this year.
David Woods has shone in the second row while No 8 and captain Zach Baird is the catalyst for a large portion of Michael’s positive play.
They’ll be looking to emulate their SCT in bringing the cup back to Ailesbury Road. As well as a fifth title, a win would complete Michael’s second Junior/Senior double, the only previous one coming in 2012.
For Blackrock, a win would be their 52nd Junior Cup title, a remarkable tally.