Schools rugby: Leinster Junior Cup semi-final replay

by Aaron Dunne
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Blackrock College 11

Terenure College 7

The composure of Blackrock in the closing stages was the difference in this Junior Cup semi-finalreplay.

The opening exchanges were brimful of physicality, ‘Rock feeding from mistakes as Terenure looked to stamp their authority through their carrying game.

Bravery at the breakdown by out-half Gareth Morgan was undermined by a malfunctioning set-piece, Bernard White’s momentum drawing a penalty struck by Luke Coffey in the 10th minute.

Terenure were just a touch over-eager, pushing passes that needed more care in their execution.

Then, prop Pearse Kelly broke through the middle and full-back Conor Quinn had to be slammed into touch by the cover. This was better.

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All the while, Blackrock confidently dealt with what was happening in front of them until Niall Fallon cut them open and Rhys Keogh had to wrap up Geoff O’Sullivan on the right.

Flanker Max Carter was becoming a weapon at the lineout for ‘Nure, who looked to put the ball in the hands of Fallon and Ethan Balamash on the left wing.

Still, out-half Coffey was calm in his use of the ball and number eight Geoffrey Wall was impactful.

One last drive by Blackrock delivered enough room for Coffey to have a pop at a drop goal to leave it 3-0 at the half.

Cael McCloskey’s balance and pirouette away from contact was supported by a delightful chip over the top which caused panic.

‘Rock were beginning to look increasingly dangerous as wing James Browne almost got around the vigilant Balamash.

Then, captain Mathew Wyse carried for the umpteenth time and White was the vessel through which Blackrock flowed forward, Wall splitting the cover for a tremendous try for a two-score lead in the 40th minute.

Terenure had to find a way back into it pretty quickly, replacement nine Zach Grady providing tenacity on the fringes.

They just didn’t have the coherence in attack to match that of their opponents until prop Pearse Kelly shot through a gap and steamed to the line for O’Sullivan to convert in the 56th minute.

From the restart, Terenure coughed up a penalty at the ruck and Coffey’s aim was true for 11-7 in the 59th minute.

But, Blackrock were able to hold the ball and work the clock to the final whistle.

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