Leinster Schools Senior Cup: St Michael’s gunning for Blackrock
Blackrock going for three in a row but rivals start competition as favourites
Blackrock captain Nick Timoney lifts the Senior Cup last March. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho
A very distinct pattern has emerged in Leinster schools rugby with Blackrock or St Michael’s College constantly leading the way. In 2015 St Michael’s College are favourites to capture the Senior Cup with two particularly outstanding players in James Ryan and Max Deegan leading a massive pack of forwards.
Blackrock, who start their campaign against Terenure College, are looking for a three in a row. The last time that was the case was in 1997 when Brian O’Driscoll’s team were beaten in the semi-final by Gordon D’Arcy’s Clongowes.
Peter Smyth’s latest group are a young side but should include the sons of former Ireland internationals Paul Dean and Brendan Mullin. Success for St Michael’s would give them only their third title, the first coming as recently as 2007 before Dan Leavy’s excellent crop saw off Clongowes Wood and the Byrne brothers (Bryan and Ed) in 2012.
Superb cropNick Timoney
St Michael’s have what, in theory, should be a tough opening assignment against St Mary’s. But it won’t be.
Another interesting opening-round tie has Belvedere facing Gonzaga.
It’s also worth noting that most matches will take place on Donnybrook’s new all-weather 4G surface. For starters, there won’t be any postponements when the February weather blows in. “I’ve played on it twice with the A’s and enjoyed it much more,” said Leinster scrumhalf Luke McGrath whose St Michael’s outfit lost the 2010 final to Clongowes.
“When it’s wet you are still able to throw the ball around but when it is dry it is really quick. It’s going to really showcase the speed and skills of schools rugby.”
This year’s final takes place at the RDS on St Patrick’s Day.
St Michael’s are also the team charged with stopping Blackrock from capturing three in a row at junior level.
The Blackrock and Clongowes game is a tasty opening-round tie in early February, with Terenure, also genuine contenders, starting out against the King’s Hospital.
Fr Godfrey Cup
High School (BYE)
Scoil Chonglais (BYE)
Skerries Community College v CBC Monkstown
St Andrews College v St Fintans
Maynooth v CUS
Templeogue College v De La Salle, Churchtown
Wesley College v Newpark
CBS Naas v St Patricks Classical School
Junior Schools Cup
Belvedere College v St Gerards School
Fr Godrey Qualifier 2 v St Michael’s College
Castleknock College v Fr Godrey Qualifier 1
Terenure College v Kings Hospital
Cistercian, Roscrea v St Marys College
Gonzaga v Newbridge College
Kilkenny College v Presentation College Bray
Clongowes Wood College v Blackrock College
Vinnie Murray Cup
CBS Enniscorthy (BYE)
Templeogue College (BYE)
Kings Hospital v Gorey Community School
Presentation Bray v St Patrick’s Classical School
St Columbas College v St Fintan’s
The High School v Skerris Community College
Tullow Community School v Castleknock College
Wilson’s Hospital School v St Gerards School
Senior Schools Cup
Wesley College v Roscrea
Kilkenny College v Newbridge College
Gonzaga College v Belvedere College
Vinnie Murray Qualifier 1 v St Andrews College
Clongowes Wood College v Vinnie Murray Qualifier 2
Terenure College v Blackrock College
St Michael’s College v St Mary’s College
CUS v CBC Monkstown