New faces but same old winning formula for Blackrock

Gutsy Terenure no match for forward power of the reigning cup holders

Blackrock’s Caelan Doris offloads to Roghan McMahon during their Leunster Schools Senior Cup tie against Terenure College. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Blackrock’s Caelan Doris offloads to Roghan McMahon during their Leunster Schools Senior Cup tie against Terenure College. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

 

Blackrock College 39 Terenure College 11

As floodlights, combined with the new 4G pitch, ensured the skill levels of both sides shone into Sunday evening, a collective light bulb surely flickered among the Leinster Branch schools committee.

Here was the blueprint for a highly entertaining, never mind profitable, future. There’s certainly an appetite as at least 3,000 paying customers were at Donnybrook to see Blackrock’s graduating Junior Cup winners of 2013 and 2014 devour a typically gutsy Terenure.

Led by Rory Murray, the Terenure pack – expertly drilled by Blaney brothers, Dermot and Brian – thundered into the Blackrock defence whenever possible. The collisions were shuddering but the latest offerings to Leinster’s backrow altar refused to budge. Caelan Doris, a fifth year, we know from last season’s all-conquering Rock side but openside Roghan McMahon was arguably the game’s outstanding performer.

It’s a genuine argument though considering the contributions of hooker Hugo Kean, centre Kyle Dixon, winger Stephen Kilgallen, nimble scrumhalf Patrick Patterson and outhalf Conor Dean. It’s worth noting that only Kean and Doris remain from last year’s champions who have already supplied six bodies to the Ireland under-20 squad.

And to think that this is supposed to be a lull in Blackrock’s dominance of schools rugby. Then you see famous surnames living up to their reputations and know it will take the most clinical of opponents to stop Blackrock.

Terenure, a decent team coached by Isaac Boss, made few mistakes yet were so ruthlessly punished.

Once the Blackrock juggernaut built up momentum, Dean was flawless in piloting them to victory. His father of course is Paul Dean, the great St Mary’s and Ireland outhalf in the 1980s.

 

Poured forward

Right from his kick-off Rock poured forward with Kilgallen only denied an early try because Gavin Mullin, son of Brendan, was penalised for crossing. That was another feature of their approach a constant stream of lazy runners tested referee Dudley Philips’ patience but it was their rucking that really impressed.

 

The dam burst in the eighth minute when Kilgallen ignored a two-man overlap to slip a tackle and twist away from three others for the opening try. Peter O’Reilly had a forgettable day off the tee, landing two from six, to further emphasise their dominance.

Terenure scrumhalf Mark Fabian landed two penalties, missing two more either side of the break, with the Blackrock scores coming whenever they were in sight of the line.

Philips was correct to award a penalty try when Gary O’Reilly held McMahon’s jersey with the third try, a slick 40 metre run by Dixon, coming off quick ball and the centre’s ability to twice step off his right foot before cruising away.

Shoddy defence notwithstanding, Terenure emptied their hearts in the second half but a turnover by Doris near his own line and 90-metre counterattack ended any chance of them reducing the 19-6 scoreline.

The hammer blow was another Kilgallen try as he gathered a perfectly-weighted Dean crossfield kick when Murray’s attempt to attack from his own 22 was cruelly punished.

Dixon’s brilliant offload sent O’Reilly over for a fifth try before Terenure centre Ted O’Donoghue at least claimed the game’s best score. It came off Cian Croke’s break and composure to stall and veer infield before sending his centre partner away.

However, Blackrock and Kilgallen were not done, the winger flying through the middle before a delicate pass, put O’Brien under the posts.

There ended the purest rugby you can see.

BLACKROCK COLLEGE: P O’Reilly; T O’Brien, G Mullin, K Dixon, S Kilgallen; C Dean, P Patterson; M Reidy, H Kean (capt), J Condon; D Mullane, V Mantegazza; R Dunne, R McMahon, C Doris. Replacements: R Mouatt for J Condon, C Ryan for D Mullane (both 54 mins), M O’Leary for P Patterson (60 mins), A Murphy for R McMahon (61 mins), J Fennelly for C Dean, M Dwan for K Dixon, M O’Neill for M Reidy, E Burns for H Kean (all 62 mins).

TERENURE COLLEGE: S O’Shea; G O’Reilly, T O’Donoghue, C Croke, JA O’Sullivan; M Haddock, M Fabian; J Boyden, O Wigglesworth, S Collins; J Durkin, M Caffrey; C Seery, J Dignam, R Murray (capt). Replacements: Z Vaughan for G O’Reilly (25 mins), P Tonge for J Durkin, L O’Dea for C Seery (both 40 mins), J Mullarky for J Boyden (61 mins), J Henry Hayes for O Wigglesworth, P Tonge for S Collins, J Nolan for M Fabian, S Barry for M Haddock (all 68 mins).
Referee: D Philips (ARLB).

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