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'Rock seal O'Brien after tough battle against Drogheda boys

The 17th annual O'Brien Water Polo Tournament was recently held in Cabra.

Six teams were in the running for the prestigious title, but it was a new team, St Joseph's Drogheda, who played a pivotal role.

In Group One, they beat Marian A 4-0, followed by the hosts, St Joseph's Cabra B, 9-2. The other Group One match saw Marian A progress to the semi-final with an 8-0 win over Joseph's Cabra B.

Group Two was a much closer affair, though, with the holders and competition specialists, Blackrock College, needing three late goals to see off St Joseph's Cabra A, 6-3.

Rock then went on to beat Marian B 7-1 in their final group match. St Joseph's also ensured their safe passage to the last four with a convincing 9-0 win over a very young Marian B.

Blackrock were in scintillating form and blitzed a tired Marian A team 9-0 in the first semi to make it to their eighth final. The second semi-final saw St Joseph's Cabra lose out to their namesakes from Drogheda.

The match was over by half-time as the Louth men took a 4-1 lead and duly kicked on in the second period, running out 7-2 winners.

It was a mouthwatering decider – Blackrock, the seasoned veterans, and St Joseph's Drogheda, the new kids on the block. Rock were the first to strike with a great goal from Seamus Duff. Drogheda duly responded through skipper Conor McQuaile.

Star player Ben Lawlor tagged on a second for Rock with a neat finish to give the south Dublin men a 2-1 interval advantage.

The second period saw Blackrock blitz the Drogheda goal, which led to scores from Lawlor and Matthew Sheedy.

Time was running out for St Joseph's, but this steely-eyed team never gave up and were rewarded when Jack Reilly and Luke Callaghan both found the net. Blackrock held on, however, and in the dying minutes sealed the game with a final goal from Vinóg Heavey for a hard-fought 5-3 victory.

Kevin Healy, the Blackrock coach, said: "After the first match we settled in well and did the business."

BLACKROCK COLLEGE: A Ryan, C Dunne (captain), B Lawlor, S Duff, H Lawlor, M Sheedy, V Heavey.

ST JOSEPH'S DROGHEDA: A Grimes, J Healy, C McQuaile, C Mc Winfam, J Reilly, L Callaghan, C Gradwell, C Butterly, B Hynes

REFEREE: Ken Tucker (St Vincent's)

TOURNAMENT ORGANISER: Brian Fitzpatrick (St Joseph's Cabra)


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