Blackrock College 49 Presentation College Bray 5
Props Tom O’Riordan and Alex Mullan both went over for a brace of tries as Blackrock exploded into the Leinster Schools Senior Cup quarter-finals at Energia Park on Monday afternoon.
Pres came with a reputation for spreading the ball wide, primarily through the playmaking gifts of Ireland Schools outhalf Jack Murphy and centre Finn Treacy.
The holders were keen to establish their authority early on with a pack of forwards demonstrating power through contact and passing out of the tackle.
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The excess energy was burned off with a melee which resulted in Mark Walsh being binned for Blackrock.
The metronomic Murphy aimed a shot at goal from inside his own half which rebounded off an upright.
However, Blackrock showed what they were capable of on their first serious incursion, loosehead O’Riordan crashing over for Oliver Coffey to convert.
A textbook lineout led to a surging maul, Tom Brigg using leg drive to smash through for Coffey’s conversion to double the advantage in the 23rd minute.
The claustrophobic nature of Rock’s defence was proving too much to handle, giving the north Wicklow school little room to manoeuvre.
An impressive collaborative effort was next on the list, the ball eventually moved left for Brigg to put Mikey Yarr in, Coffey converting for 21-0 in the 28th minute.
There was a glimpse of the potential of Pres’ attack when they drove cohesively for Zach Kirby to ground the ball.
Nonetheless, Blackrock were not about to ease up, the forwards piling on the pressure for Andrew Quinn to go close and Mullan to clinch the fourth, Coffey adding the extras for a 28-5 advantage at the break.
The sight of captain Murphy being binned for batting down a pass was another body blow for Pres.
Soon, Brigg exploded off the back of a scrum for tighthead Mullan to pound out his second try, Coffey converting in the 45th minute.
Still, Pres did not cave in, Treacy, Ross Mackey and Billy Corrigan knocking down the carriers until Brigg’s offload enabled O’Riordan to grab his double, Coffey converting for 42-5 in the 53rd minute.
Murphy returned to vary his distribution off limited ball only for Michael Colreavy to snatch a loose ball for the seventh try, converted by Harry Whelan this time.
Murphy’s elegant chip over the top for Treacy to take the ball up was followed by another pinpoint kick for Dylan Henry.
It was creative and accurate only to be snuffed out by Gregg Barron in a show of Rock’s defensive strength.
SCORERS – Blackrock: A Mullan, T O’Riordan 2 tries each; T Brigg, M Yarr, A Colreavy try each; O Coffey 6 cons; H Whelan con.
Pres Bray: Z Kirby try.
BLACKROCK COLLEGE: A Quinn; J O’Sullivan, E Walsh, M Walsh, C Molony; H Whelan, O Coffey (capt); T O’Riordan, M Yarr, A Mullan; M Colreavy, D McGuire; C Tonge, J Angulo, T Brigg.
Replacements: D Moloney for Quinn (37 mins); P Moore for O’Riordan, G Barron for Yarr, C Hodges for Angulo (all 56); P Clancy for Whelan, J Larkin for Coffey (both 57); S Bishti for Mullan, T Butler for McGuire (both 60).
PRESENTATION COLLEGE BRAY: D O’Sullivan; J McDonald, F Treacy, L Smith, D Henry; J Murphy (capt), C Eddy; C McGrath, F Brien, J McDonald; A Tighe, B Corrigan; R Mackey, Z Kirby, J Healy.
Replacements: R O’Boyle for Brien, O Meade for Eddy (both 54 mins), T Treacy for Tighe (55); M Doyle for McDonald (62); C Bourke for Mackey (64).
Referee: R Jenkinson (Leinster Branch).