Saturday 23 September 2017

McGagh brace keeps 'Rock on course

Blackrock College 21 Gonzaga 12

Liam McMahon, Blackrock College, and Robert Kidney, Gonzaga College, contest possession in the lineout
Liam McMahon, Blackrock College, and Robert Kidney, Gonzaga College, contest possession in the lineout
Calum McCarthy, Gonzaga College, in action against Robert Hally-Doody, Blackrock College
Robert Hally-Doody, Blackrock College, is tackled by Brian O'Donnell, Gonzaga College

Blackrock set up a repeat of the last two Junior Cup finals as they advanced to the last four after withstanding a late Gonzaga comeback.

'Rock are chasing their third consecutive title and will face Belvedere in the semi-final but improvements will have to be made after they almost allowed 'Zaga back into a game that should have long been put to bed.

The defending champions opened up a 21-0 lead early in the second half but took their foot off the pedal, which allowed 'Zaga to threaten to pull off an unlikely comeback.

Michael McGagh helped himself to two first-half tries as 'Rock led 14-0 at the break.

McGagh forced his way over from close range after 10 minutes and scored a similar try before the interval. Joey Caputo, son of Leinster scrum coach Marco, converted both scores.

Gonzaga's poor execution was costing them field position and when 'Rock captain Liam Turner collected Louis O'Reilly's clever chip over the defence to score, it looked like game over.

Caputo added the extras but 'Zaga began their fightback when Andrew Coman dotted down. Eoin Barr converted to spark his side into life.

Matt Meagher's try with seven minutes remaining made Blackrock sweat but they had enough to see out the win.

Blackrock College - N Brady (R Wilson 51); A Thompson (G Jones 59), L Turner (c), R Hally-Doody, D Colgan; J Caputo (J Tarrant 59), L O'Reilly (H Donnelly 58); G Coyne (H Angulo 59), S Molony (H Kelly 59), T Clarkson (R Gallagher 44); T Godson-Treacy, J Stapleton; J Burke, M McGagh, L McMahon (M Grogan 47).

Gonzaga College - A Coman (F O hOisin 51); C McCarthy, B O'Donnell, M Neville (S Barry 34), D Inglis; E Barr, R Moran; M Meagher, E Barron, S Clear; C Fassbender (H Barlow 34), E Buggy (M Gleeson 47); R Kidney (c), C Kirby O'Briain, I O'Grady.

ref - A Lynch (Leinster Branch)

Irish Independent

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