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Blackrock can power to Junior triumph

THIS is almost a mirror-image of the Senior Cup final and we all know what happened in that one.



A power-packed Blackrock have blasted their way through their three matches for a gain of 131 points and a loss of a miserly three to Terenure College.

They peppered CBC Monkstown (37-0) and Catholic University School (53-0) so consistently and comprehensively to make defending only an intermittent part of their game.

Terenure College were expected to pose some questions that had not been asked in the two previous rounds when they came to blows in the semi-final less than two weeks ago.

It never really developed into a competitive bout as 'Rock did what they rarely do to Terenure. They ran up a score on them – 41-3 to be precise – hitting them for seven tries, taking their three-match total to 21, spread among 14 players.

They are topped by their captain and number eight Andrew Murphy's hat-trick against CUS with scrum-half Patrick Patterson scooping up a try in each to also have three to his name.

This is a level of superiority to compare favourably with that of their senior side and there are similarities too in the way Belvedere, like Clongowes Wood, have endured a more searching test of their credentials.

There can be no doubt which of the two is the more battle-hardened as Belvedere were made to sweat it out 15-12 against a solid and swift Gonzaga in the first round. They improved considerably to subdue Clongowes Wood (29-3) in the quarter-final.

The semi-final appointment with St Michael's was one billed as a 50/50 encounter. It turned out to be a 22-13 victory for the Great Denmark Street school to bring back memories of their last win in 2005.

The secret to this Belvedere bunch is that they have a cluster of X Factor backs that can cut open a defence in the blink of an eye. Full-back Rory Clarke's brace of tries was decisive in the semi-final. He does not stand alone.

The centre partnership between Cian Walsh and Patrick Smith is well-balanced, wing Mark Donnelly can shift and the half-backs Hugh O'Sullivan and David Hawkshaw are dangerous individuals.

The main question concerns whether the Belvo' forward eight can win enough ball with enough front-foot momentum to truly test Blackrock.

Verdict: Blackrock