Wednesday 28 September 2016

Comerford's early try key to Rock's fourth title in a row

Blackrock 8 St Michael's 3 Leinster Schools Jnr Cup Final

Published 17/03/2016 | 02:30

Blackrock College captain Gavin Jones lifts the trophy (SPORTSFILE)
Blackrock College captain Gavin Jones lifts the trophy (SPORTSFILE)
Jonathan Fish, St Michael's College, is tackled by Cian Duffy, Blackrock College (SPORTSFILE)
Gavin Jones, Blackrock College, is tackled by Cian McGettigan, St Michael's College (SPORTSFILE)
Cian McGettigan, St Michael's College, evades the tackle of Gavin Jones, Blackrock College (SPORTSFILE)

For the fourth successive year, the Leinster Junior Cup will reside in Blackrock College but they made hard work of their victory against a dogged St Michael's side.

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Amazingly, Rock kept up their record of not having conceded a single try in this season's competition and although questions were asked of their resolute defence, they came up with the answers on each occasion.

In their four games in this year's Cup, Rock conceded just 18 points but they could have put yesterday's final to bed had their attack been more clinical.

Niall Comerford was on the field for just 15 minutes but that was all he needed to etch himself into the history books as his stunning try proved to be the difference.

Rock won clean ball off their own scrum and Chris Rolland went down the blindside and fed Comerford who had darted off his wing to score.

The winger picked up an arm injury while scoring and although it was cruel luck that he was forced off, he had made a telling impact.

Guilty

Michael's bounced back well but time and time again they were guilty of making sloppy mistakes when they got into the Rock 22.

They were, however, gifted three points on the stroke of half-time. Rolland booted the ball into touch thinking that the referee was going bring the half to an end but there was still time for the lineout and after Rock conceded a penalty Christopher Cosgrave stepped up to knock over the kick.

Rock extended their narrow lead two minutes after the restart when David Fitzgibbon was on hand to punish Michael's indiscipline.

Cosgrave had the chance to again cut the gap but he dragged a long-range penalty wide of the posts and Michael's hopes weren't helped when they lost their influential prop Joshua Toland to injury.

Rock upped the tempo with their hugely impressive No 8 Ed Brennan carrying well all game. They should have sealed the win with 10 minutes left on the clock but full-back Ross Barron opted to go himself rather than pass to Richard O'Farrell who would have surely scored in the corner.

Michael's launched one final charge into Rock territory but brilliant work at the breakdown by Ben Wallace brought a halt to their momentum.

In many ways it was fitting that the final decisive moment was an excellent piece of defending from a side that were by far and away the best in this year's competition.

Blackrock College - R Barron; N Comerford (R O'Farrell 15), T D'Arcy, G Jones (capt), B White; D Fitzgibbon, C Rolland; L Marshall (T Handrick 50), B Wallace, L Mion; S O'Brien, J Corless; M Flynn, J Loscher, E Brennan.

St Michael's College - M O'Brien; A Smith, C Cosgrave, C McGettigan, Z Harrison; N Carroll, R Gilsenan; J Boyle, L Barron, J Toland (H McGovern 34); J Fish, L Dunne; W Hickey, M Hernan (capt), B Gannon.

REF - G Glennon

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