Ringrose runs riot to power 'Rock through
Blackrock 44 Gonzaga 18 Schools Senior Cup
A hugely impressive Blackrock produced compelling evidence that they have what it takes to win back the title they last lifted in 2009.
In an entertaining game at Donnybrook, they eventually blew a talented Gonzaga outfit away. Blackrock crossed for five well-engineered tries and, in centre Gary Ringrose, possess a master craftsman in the art of kicking points.
Ringrose is a sweet striker of the ball and yesterday landed eight from eight – all five conversions plus three penalties – all struck with precision from varying distances and angles.
It made for a haul of 19 points, which broke Gonzaga's resistance and paved the way for a comfortable 'Rock victory. Inspired by brilliant halves Dermot Lavelle and Conor McKeon, the Ranelagh school gave as good as they got in the opening quarter and deservedly led 6-3 courtesy of two McKeon drop-goals.
But this is a 'Rock side made of the right stuff and replacement Jack Dwan made a massive impact. Dwan's 20th-minute introduction sparked the Williamstown school into life.
Certainly, fellow back-rowers Nick Timoney and Dave Fortune, as well as centre Steve Lawton, benefited enormously from Dwan's arrival.
In Charlie Rock, too, they possess the real deal at scrum-half, the 'Rock skipper's clash with Lavelle providing the duel of the match.
The Gonzaga No 9 had been stopped just short from crossing the line following a clever Craig Kenny tap down in the fifth minute, but McKeon struck for a drop-goal just afterwards and, after a successful Ringrose penalty, he repeated the trick.
A massive Timoney surge provided the groundwork for the opening try in the 23rd minute, when Rock crossed at the Bective end.
Powerful prop Jeremy Loughman was last up from a telling maul on the half-hour for his side's second try, both of which were converted by Ringrose and added to by another successful penalty right on half-time to give 'Rock a 20-6 lead.
Within five minutes of the restart they had added a further 10 to that total, courtesy of a Tom Cooke try and another Ringrose conversion and penalty. Gonzaga struck back with the try of the match when McKeon's vision and pinpoint accuracy with a cross-field kick paved the way for Harry Caslin to romp over at the corner.
A second try from the rampaging Loughman and another from right-wing Zach O'Hagan, both converted by Ringrose, completed the 'Rock scoring .
A dream pass on the drift from McKeon created the space for centre Andy Marks to step his way to a richly deserved Gonzaga try, with the out-half adding the extras.
But the message is loud and clear from Donnybrook: 'Rock are on the prowl.
Blackrock – J Power; Z O'Hagan, G Ringrose, S Lawton, S Coughlan; P Quirke, C Rock (Capt); J Loughman, T Cooke, O Jager; D O'Connor, G Fenn; R Tyrell (J Dwan 20), D Fortune, N Timoney.
Gonzaga – H Gowing, H Caslin, A Marks, K O'Connor, P Meenan; C McKeon (Capt), D Lavelle; R Byrne, P Finlay, R Barry (C Keane 64); E Byrne, C Kenny; J Carter (E O'Rourke 57), J Doyle, M McVey.
Ref – N Corell (LRR).