Blackrock defeat Belvedere in Junior Cup final with late try for double delight
Hugo Burke try seals sixth title in a decade
Blackrock captain Jay Mion lifts the Leinster Schools Junior Cup at Donnybrook yesterday. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho.
Date: 20 March, 2013
A show of muscle at the tail end of yesterday’s Leinster Junior Cup final saw Blackrock make it two from two this week in this year’s schools competitions, having won the senior trophy on Monday.
The venerable rugby college were seeking their sixth win in the competition in a decade but were forced to wait until the dying minutes to make that happen as Belvedere College matched them most of the way.
In the end Blackrock were deserving champions and when they had to take up the tempo and put Belvedere under sustained pressure they did so.
But it wasn’t until the dying 10 minutes that the winners were able to show their potential and the fractional difference between the teams with a series of three scrums defining the winning and losing of this final.
Until that point in the 58th minute the teams were locked at 10-10 but as the game progressed it was Blackrock who looked the more hungry and began to press harder for the final score.
That came after Blackrock outhalf Conor Dean’s drop-goal attempt shaved the posts before referee Brian McNeice brought play back for a penalty. From there Blackrock sensed something could be on and their pack piled in after securing the lineout. A mighty push forward and the Blackrock players leapt in the air.
But a five-yard scrum was awarded and again ’Rock pushed. Belvedere’s brave defence again repelled them on their line but again the Blackrock players leapt in the air and again McNeice brought play back for a five-yard scrum.
Third time lucky and as often on these occasions, the try looked easy. The ’Rock number eight Hugo Burke picked and ran through a gap and in under the posts for 17-10. From that point it was difficult to see a Belvedere revival, although the match had been a close one to that point.
Blackrock had taken an early lead through scrumhalf James McGowan’s 11th-minute penalty. That was increased to 10-0 when Emmet Burns went over in a tangle of bodies after forwards Caelin Doris, Richard Dunne, Burke and captain Jay Mion all brought the ball on.
In truth Blackrock had gotten much more in return from their few first-half attacks but it didn’t take Belvedere long after the break to regroup, captain Conor Jennings kicking in front of the posts for 10-3 on 21 minutes, which it stayed until the break.
Belvedere’s Jesse Iredale looked powerful on the ball and he seemed to move to the centre after the break. It was in that early phase in the second half that Belvedere hit their best period, Iredale punching through and hooker Dan Caffrey touching down, Jennings again converting to draw the teams level.
Momentum was the key and it was there ’Rock edged in front. Belvedere were having lineout trouble which didn’t help but ’Rock committed more to coming up with the score they believed would win the match and that didn’t arrive until two minutes from normal time. Belvedere put their bodies on the line three times before Burke saw the gap and that was it.