The power, pace and panache with which Blackrock conquered their 70th Leinster Schools Senior Cup confirmed The RDS as a special band of brothers.
he fact that they were able to reach the 50 point mark with Conor O’Shaughnessy’s conversion of Mikey Yarr’s stoppage-time try is a measure of their quality.
For Gonzaga might have been recognized as a worthy winner in many other years had it not been her misfortune to come across a machine that rolled out seven tries against three.
The boys in green even had the advantage of a superb opener, Jody Browne and Hugo McLaughlin playing Rory Finlay on the left for McLaughlin to convert.
The way ‘Rock went into overdrive was certainly impressive, their heavyweights taking on Liam Molony to ground the Maul from close range, Hugh Cooney swept through on a wonderful line and Ruben Moloney shoved the ball to Eoghan Walsh was able to easily score a goal, Zach Quirke converted all three in the 18th minute to make it 21:7.
The game could have been turned on its head when Blackrock captain Gus McCarthy was shown a yellow card that could easily have been another shoulder penalty.
Gonzaga had the nous to convert the extra man into seven points from McLaughlin’s finish, a conversion for 21-14 at the break.
There was no sign of the high pace letting up, Gonzaga resisting back-to-back breaks from Paddy McCarthy and Oliver Coffey, along with sustained pressure led by Brigg to force a break near the line.
Just when ‘Zaga looked like he was about to get out of prison, Wing Andrew Quinn worked his magic with a beautifully crafted move out of an alleyway.
Quirke added the conversion and the outside half was content to take a penalty from the next wave.
There was still plenty of opportunity for Gonzaga to engineer a stunning try out of a scrum, Hugh Goddard’s sleight of hand sending Hugo Neville to heaven for McLaughlin to convert him.
Blackrock had enough by this point, Cooney made a block and a pick for a try in the left corner.
They decided to go from there to the end and bring their big boys on the ball to test Gonzaga’s endless reserves of character.
Ease of game management meant Captain McCarthy had to maneuver a maul to win the sixth try, Quirke converting for 43-21 in the 65th minute.
It was left to the Maul threat to do its job again with Mikey Yarr as a backup in the van as it rolled to the line for Conor O’Shaughnessy to land the conversion.
Goalscorers – Blackrock: H Cooney 2 attempts; L Molony, E Walsh, A Quinn, P McCarthy, M Yarr each try; Z Quirke pen, 5 cons; C O’Shaughnessy con. gonzaga: H McLaughlin trial, 3 cons; R Finlay, H Neville try each.
Blackrock: R Moloney; A Quinn, H Cooney, L Kritzinger, E Walsh; Z Quirke, O Coffey; M Holmes, G McCarthy (Captain), P McCarthy; T Brigg, C Tonge; L Molony, I Cruise-O’Brien, K Jackson. Replacement: J Molony for Tonge ht; J Angulo for L Molony, W Fitzgerald for Coffey; T O’Riordan for Holmes every 65 minutes; C O’Shaughnessy for Quirke, M Yarr for G McCarthy, A Andersson for P McCarthy, M Aschenbrenner for Walsh every 66 minutes.
gonzaga: H McLaughlin; H Neville, H Goddard, J Browne, R Finlay; S McMahon, M Sullivan; T Hammond, T Cotter, G Morris, T Murphy, L O’Callaghan, N Maguire (Captain), GO Donnell, P Wilson. Replacement: T Noone for O’Donnell 42 minutes; O Murray for Sullivan 44 minutes; L McLaughlin for Cotter 55 minutes; O O’Neill for Finlay 58 minutes; T Wyley for Murphy 62 minutes; M Tyrrell for O’Callaghan, A O’Flanagan for Neville, A McVerry for Hammond every 66 minutes.
Referee: A Cole (Leinster Branch).
https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/schools-rugby/blackrock-see-off-gonzaga-challenge-to-claim-70th-leinster-schools-senior-cup-title-41516543.html Blackrock defeats the Gonzaga challenge to claim the 70th Leinster Schools Senior Cup title