Leinster Schools Junior Cup: Paddy Taylor kicks Newbridge College to glory
Paddy Taylor amassed a personal tally of 14 points at Energia Park on Friday as Newbridge College were crowned Leinster Schools Junior Cup champions at the expense of Blackrock College.
Thanks to eight points from the boot of Taylor – and a well-worked try from Todd Lawlor – the Kildare school found themselves 13-0 in front at the break. ‘Rock fought back on the resumption with five-pointers by Jack Angulo and Brian O’Flaherty, but it wasn’t enough to deny Newbridge a superb victory.
After both of these schools had shared the junior title in 2020 – following the cancellation of their final meeting due to the Covid-19 pandemic – this decider offered one of them an opportunity to win the competition outright.
While ‘Rock started the game brightly with strong carries from O’Flaherty and Thomas Butler, Newbridge subsequently found their feet in fine style. Taylor had contributed 63 points en route to this showpiece and the captain got his side up and running with a brace of penalties either side of the first-quarter mark.
Dave Brew’s charges were visibly growing in confidence and when Taylor added the bonuses to Lawlor’s five-pointer on the stroke of the interval, they were firmly in the driving seat.
Blackrock needed a strong start to the second half in order to keep their hopes alive and they got it when skipper Angulo drove over the whitewash after gathering possession at the back of a line-out maul.
Momentum appeared to be with ‘Rock when Conor O’Shaughnessy registered five unanswered points off the kicking tee, but Taylor and Newbridge had other ideas.
Following two more penalties from the dynamic number 10, the Lilywhites were nine points clear (19-10) with the finishing line in sight. O’Flaherty’s unconverted finish set-up a nerve-jangling finale, but Newbridge ultimately came away with the top prize.
T Lawlor try, P Taylor 4 pens, con.
J Angulo, B O’Flaherty try each, C O’Shaughnessy pen, con.
T Lawlor; D Cosgrave, C Mangan, C Murphy; A Magee; P Taylor, D Connolly; T Kelly, JR Walsh, B Bohan; J Dennis, C Hanly; J Montgomery, R Munnelly, P Forde.
M Wilson for Walsh (52).
B O’Flaherty; C Dennehy-Vazquez, D Moloney, C Woodcock, C Molony; C O’Shaughnessy, S Shortt; D Grehan, J Pollard, N Smyth; T Butler, D McGuire; H McCarthy, M Walsh, J Angulo.