Tries from Kilgallen, Doris and Gleeson prove key in reaching final
Blackrock’s Eric Olden leaps Harry Byrne and Peter O’Beirne of St Michaels during the Powerade Leinster Schools Junior Cup Semi-Final between St Michael’s College and Blackrock College at Donnybrook. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
The eventual winners of this semi-final would be instantly anointed as outstanding favourites to win the Powerade Leinster Schools Junior Cup.
There was a ‘thou shall not pass’ attitude taken by both sets of defences as they put their shoulders into the tackle and embraced the breakdown challenge.
The holders St Michael’s held a slight edge, openside Oisin Dowling operating authoritively at the lineout and their centres Jack Kelly and James Hickey causing problems through the middle.
It all suddenly burst into life when Blackrock raided down the right flank off a twisting scrum, fullback Steven Kilgallen ghosting through from halfway via a dummy option. Scrumhalf James McGowan tagged on the conversion in the 20th minute.
This triggered increased confidence reflected in centre Tommy O’Brien’s nifty offload to Matthew O’Callaghan. But, the Sky Blues were soon back on the counter through Kelly and flanker Robert Duffy. When the ’Rock frontrow could not keep up their end of a scrum, left wing Tom Donnellan made it 7-3 on the break.
Blackrock secondrow Caelan Doris appeared to strike a decisive blow when he charged down scrumhalf Peter O’Beirne’s kick and showed no little skill in controlling a bobbling ball for a try in the 34th minute for a 12-3, .
An indiscretion at scrum time provided McGowan with a successful shot at goal from 36 metres. There was still time for a St Michael’s surge. Captain Kelly almost got away. Outhalf Harry Byrne’s kicking was effective. But, they could not crack Rock’s defence and wing Nick Gleeson found the time and space to seal it in injury-time.