Relentless Rock secure another Leinster double
Leinster Schools’ Senior Cup final
Blackrock College 35
Belvedere College 12
Blackrock College coach Justin Vanstone hailed the impact of winger Liam McMahon after his side claimed a 69th Leinster Schools Senior Cup title at the RDS yesterday afternoon.
In a repeat of last year’s final (when ‘Rock were defeated by Belvedere College), McMahon grabbed a brace of tries for the magnificent south Dublin outfit.
This equalled his haul in ‘Rock’s comprehensive semi-final win over St Mary’s College and Vanstone praised the resilience that has seen McMahon bounce back from a host of injury setbacks.
As well as gaining revenge on the three in-a-row chasing Belvo, ‘Rock added to their junior side’s success in last Wednesday’s Cup decider against St Mary’s.
Following a series of drives inside the ’22’, ‘Rock flanker Michael McGagh touched down for a deadlock-breaking try in the ninth minute. This was supplemented by McMahon’s simple finish at the end of a subsequent attack, before out-half James Tarrant crossed over in clinical style on 21 minutes.
Belvo finally opened their account when James Gleeson drove over the whitewash on the half-hour mark, but Blackrock issued an immediate response.
Latching on to a neat pass by scrum-half Louis O’Reilly, the outstanding McMahon squeezed through a gap for a superb individual five-pointer. Tarrant added the extras to give ‘Rock a 28-7 interval cushion.
Belvo recovered from a 16-point deficit to stun St Michael’s in their semi-final at Donnybrook, thanks in no small part to a late try by Mateusz Galinski.
The hard-working prop was introduced in the second half alongside Cian Scott, who completed a lineout maul on the right-wing to provide the defending champions with a glimmer of hope.
A dramatic fightback didn’t materialise, however, and Ross Barron restored order for their opponents with a try underneath the posts.
Tarrant then brought his final tally to 13 points with a routine conversion, as Blackrock secured a 27th junior and senior double in devastating fashion.
Scorers for Blackrock College: J Tarrant try, 4 cons, L McMahon 2 tries, M McGagh, R Barron try, S Madigan con.
Scorers for Belvedere College: J Gleeson, C Scott try each, D Lacey con.
BLACKROCK COLLEGE: S Madigan; L McMahon, L Turner, T Maher, H Donnelly; J Tarrant, L O’Reilly; D Mescal, S Molony, T Clarkson; S O’Brien, J Stapleton; J Dixon, M McGagh, E Brennan.
Replacements: J Burke for Dixon (38), R Barron for O’Reilly, C Duffy for Mescal (both 48), R Madigan for McMahon (65), L Mion for Molony, H O’Malley for Clarkson, D Foley for O’Brien, G Jones for Maher (all 69).
BELVEDERE COLLEGE: D Lacey; A O’Grady, M Grogan, S Barry, A Loughrey; D Hawkshaw, T Walsh; J Gleeson, L Harmon, C Cagney; N Howard, J Murphy; G Hill, A Coleman, R Byron.
Replacements: M Galinski for Gleeson, J Bell for Cagney, C Scott for Howard, P Lysaght for Walsh (all 47), J O’Grady for Barry (60), J Meagher for Loughrey (65), J Haughey for Harmon, M Daly for Murphy (both 67).
Referee: N Correll (LRR).