It’s Blackrock College versus the usual suspects as Leinster schools draws made
Blackrock College captain Charlie Rock lifts the Leinster Senior Cup trophy after last season’s final victory over St Michael’s College. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Action from last season’s Leinster Schools Senior Cup final in which Blackrrock College beat St Michael’s College 23-20. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
For all the strides taken by one-time minnow Leinster schools it is the usual suspects who will, in all probability, vie for supremacy in 2014.
At one-time a peloton of four or five schools were constantly in pursuit of Blackrock College but now there appears to be just two on a regular basis.
Sure enough, Clongowes Wood College and St Michael’s College look best equipped to dethrone Peter Smyth’s Blackrock side led by Nick Timoney and a raft of players from last season’s successful squad.
Those three rugby nurseries have passed the cup around since Belvedere last reared their heads in 2008.
This time, the 127th year of the tournament, Blackrock remain favourites to capture a 68th title, with CBC Monkstown providing the first hurdle.
It’s worth noting CBC beat them in their first friendly of the season. Granted, Rock’s best players were away with Leinster squads.
The cream of teenage talent can actually be seen at Donnybrook tomorrow night when Leinster under-19s take on Australia Schools.
St Michael’s have what looks, on paper, a tricky opening duel with Terenure College, where Isaac Boss is helping out and Joe Schmidt’s son Tim is the scrumhalf, while Clongowes’ first outing is against Kilkenny College.
But the most interesting collision in round one is between a fine Newbridge College side and the most progressive school in recent years, Cistercians College from Roscrea.
That fixture doubles as the upcoming league final.
CBC are cursed to have also drawn yet another vintage Blackrock junior group in the opening round of the under-15s, the eye-catching tie being the Holy Ghost derby of St Michael’s and St Mary’s.
Belvedere College, who start with Jesuit cousins Gonzaga, and St Michael’s look to be Blackrock’s toughest opponents.
Blackrock have won both junior and senior competitions on 24 occasions, including 2013, and clinched the double-double six times, the last time being in 1987. It’s a little premature, but 2014 represents their best opportunity to make it seven.
It is also a new era for sponsorship of the competitions, with Beauchamps Solicitors beginning a three-year partnership with the Leinster Branch.
The draw took place in their offices on Sir John Rogerson quay last night, with Marty Moore (Castleknock College), Ian Madigan (Blackrock) and Boss doing the honours.
Date, times and venues are to be confirmed, with the final taken place at the RDS on or around St Patrick’s Day.
SENIOR AND JUNIOR CUP DRAWS
Blackrock v CBC Monkstown
Newbridge v Cistercian Roscrea
Belvedere v Wesley
Q1 v King’s Hospital
Clongowes v Kilkenny
St Michael’s v Terenure
Castleknock v St Andrew’s
Q2 v St Mary’s
VINNIE MURRAY CUP
A E Glendalough v Templeogue
B Wilson’s v Gonzaga
C Skerries v High School
D St Fintan’s v St Pat’s CS
E St Gerard’s v CBS Naas
F CBS Wexford v Pres, Bray
Quarter-finals: CUS v winners A; winners B v winners C; winners D v winners E; winners F v St Columba’s.
Newbridge v Castleknock
Belvedere v Gonzaga
CBC Monkstown v Blackrock
Clongowes v Pres, Bray
St Mary’s v St Michael’s
Q1 v St Gerard’s
Q2 v CUS
Kilkenny Coll v Terenure
FR GODFREY CUP
A Wesley College v Maynooth
B Moyne CC v St Andrew’s
C Templeogue v St Columba’s
D High School v Good Counsel
E Roscrea v St Fintan’s
F Wilson’s v Kings Hos
G St. Patrick’s v Skerries
Quarter-finals: winners A v winners B; winners C v winners D; winners E v winners F; winners G v St Conleth’s.