Leinster Junior Cup semi-final: Blackrock 42 Castleknock 7
It was full-steam ahead for hot favourites Blackrock on their way to the Leinster Junior Cup final at Energia Park on Monday.
They owned the ball in the early going in the face of disciplined defence from Castleknock, taking the opening points from Oliver Coffey in the ninth minute.
A patient short-side attack involving Theo Byrnes, Coffey and David Doyle showed 'Rock's execution of the basics to start another period of keep ball.
'Knock lock Conan Lennon snaffled up the scraps from Tom Brigg's carry off the back of a five-metre scrum before Theo Byrnes snared a penalty at a ruck to keep the pressure on.
The dam had to give way. Prop Greg Barron took stopping and James O'Sullivan was balanced in moving between defenders, flanker Sean McKechnie filleting the cover for Coffey to convert in the 22nd minute.
At last, Castleknock pressed on the accelerator, direct in their carries from captain Conor Boyle and Patrick McNally, forcing a penalty for centre Emmet Brady to go close, number eight Daniel Ruane following up to make the line, the latter converting in the 26th minute.
The fact it came against the run-of-play mattered little, even though Blackrock wasted no time in striking back, Brigg pirouetting out of a tackle for the second, Coffey's conversion lifting the lead to 17-7 at the break.
Blackrock quickly settled into the same pattern, prop Alex Mullan denied a share of the glory by stiff resistance, only delaying the inevitable as Brigg powered home in the 34th minute.
Then, Coffey showed his range with a difficult shot at goal into the swirling wind and centre Eoghan Walsh tucked the ball and took off for the fourth in the 44th minute.
Full-back O'Sullivan would not be denied in the 55th minute, Coffey kicking the extras, and Walsh matching Brigg's brace in the last minute.
SCORERS - Blackrock: T Brigg, E Walsh 2 tries each; J O'Sullivan, S McKechnie try each; O Coffey 2 pens, 3 cons. Castlekock: D Ruane try, con.
Blackrock: J O'Sullivan; D Doyle, E Walsh, L Kritzinger (F Mei 52), D Bennett (A Quinn 44); H Whelan (L Dignam 55), O Coffey (J Larkin 55); A Mullan, M Yarr, G Barron (capt), Thomas Byrnes (T O'Riordan 36), M Colreavy (D Crowley 55), Theo Byrnes (J Angulo 42), S McKechnie (C Hodges 51), T Brigg.
Castleknock: E Wallace (J O'Neill 51); J Fewer (B Dunne 51), E Brady (B Elliott 51), S Wisniewski, D Enright; R O'Connor, L Donohoe; P McNally (B Dowling 54), S Mahon, J Cadogan (D Smith 34), C Lennon (D O'Callaghan 40), W Khwaja (C O'Brien 54), I Scallon (O Malone 53), C Boyle (capt), D Ruane.
Referee: B White, Leinster Branch.