YEARS of school runs, collecting car-loads of children and dispatching them to training while later dispatching grubby kits to the washing machine were all worth it in the end.
Amid the euphoria as Blackrock College celebrated their 23-20 win against St Michael's in the nailbiting finish of the Leinster Schools Cup, a look was exchanged between son and mother, which simply said "thank you".
In a long-standing tradition, the Leinster Senior Cup is always presented to the captain of the winning team by his mother. And this year, the honour fell to the very appropriately named Rock family, originally from Birr, Co Offaly, now living in Cabinteely, Co Dublin.
Team captain Charlie Rock (18) accepted the cup from his mother, Valerie.
She said it had been a "long road" to get to this point. An all-round sportsman, Charlie has been playing rugby since the under sixes – as well as soccer and golf.
And in a nod to family as well as school history, Charlie's grandmother Elsa Rock – who was among the cheering supporters – has a similar photograph taken in 1988 of herself presenting her son Daniel, Charlie's uncle, with the cup.
The game itself had been hard won. There's no rivalry like that of close neighbours.
When Blackrock took up a lion's roar of "No surrender," St Michael's responded with a vigorous, "That's why we're champions."
But while the supporters' war seemed to end in a tie, that wasn't the case on the pitch.
Blackrock headmaster Alan McGinty was delighted. It had been a tough game but they were a "fantastic group" who had given it their all, he said.
And on the west coast there was a similar burst of euphoria when Crescent College Comprehensive won the Munster Schools Senior Cup title 27-5 in their game against Rockwell.
However, their win was all the sweeter as it ended a 19-year wait – and also prevented their rivals from clinching three in a row.
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