Blackrock College 24 St Mary’s College 14
Replacement Max Patterson plunged over for Blackrock's clinching try in the Leinster Junior Cup final at Donnybrook, newly christened as Energia Park, this afternoon.
The size differential between the sides was significant and St Mary’s had to find a way around it. They were given an early leg-up when Rory McGuire was binned for a high tackle in the third minute.
Ironically, St Mary’s struggled to take advantage of the extra man, only making a decisive move just after the return of McGuire.
There was real patience in how they kept going to their forwards for vital inches, centre Barra O'Loughlin making the difference before captain Adam Mulvihill grounded the ball for fullback Max Svedjar to convert in the 11th minute.
But Mary's lacked the clinical edge to put Blackrock in a real hole and the power points of 'Rock's pack began to show up, McGuire, prop Scott Barron and captain James Culhane part of a move upfield.
They had the wheels on the outside where wings Michael Nealon and Harry Whelan both threatened. It came down to the speed of centre Tom Henderson to make the difference, striking from 10 metres at the posts for outhalf Michael Moloney to tie it up in the 19th minute.
Centre Ben Brownlee then made a vital breakthrough from sustained pressure for Moloney to make it 14-7 at the break.
When ‘Rock moved three further clear from Moloney’s penalty, the signs were ominous.
But, St Mary’s were refreshed by their replacements and their character came to the fore. They refused to break, playing their best rugby of the competition in adversity to drive the ball and move it cleanly.
Lock Daniel Leane hit it up and spun away from a tackle to find the line for Svedjar to convert in the 45th minute.
From there, it all came down to ‘Rock’s composure from a maul with Patterson there to ground the ball, Moloney making a miraculous conversion out of the shadow of the stand.
Tries: T Henderson, B Brownlee, M Patterson try each. Con: M Moloney 3. Pen: M Moloney
Tries: A Mulvihill, D Leane. Con: A Svedjar 2
Blackrock: C O'Brien; M Nealon, T Henderson, B Brownlee, M Nealon; M Moloney, T Quinn; D Walsh, M Byrnes, S Barron, N Golden, R McGuire, A Simpson, J Culhane (capt), S Dempsey. Replacements: M Patterson for Byrnes (7 mins); S Loscher for Walsh (38 mins); C Moloney for Simpson (51 mins); D Stafford for M Moloney (56 mins).
St Mary's: M Svedjar; R Moore, R Nolan, B O'Loughlin, S Czerniek; D Gilbourne, S Devereux; C Dillon, M Black, A Mulvihill (capt), D Leane, H Massey, W Sparrow, J Kennedy, A Sloan. Replacements: A Gibbons for Dillon, M Gallagher for Massey, G O'Moore for Sparrow (all 33 mins); E Feeney for Gilbourne (36 mins).
Referee: C Hogan (Leinster Branch).