O'Neill saves day for Blackrock
Two tries in the final 10 minutes saved Blackrock from a first-round exit in Leinster as they beat a dogged King's Hospital side 10-3 at Donnybrook.
Josh Dowds' penalty at the end of the first half gave King's Hospital the edge and the full-back almost gave his side further cushion after taking Ian Fitzpatrick's clever offload inside his own half, but he was stopped five metres short of the line by Gavin Tynan.
Having survived that scare, Blackrock turned up the heat and sub Eoin Conlan crossed in the corner. With a minute remaining, Fitzpatrick's clearing kick was fielded by full-back James O'Neill who slalomed over to seal the win.
Elsewhere, Belvedere College's tenure in this season's cup proved to be shortlived as the 17 times winners went out 8-10 in the first round to cross-city rivals Wesley College.
Jurgen Steinbach opened the scoring early in the second half for Wesley, going over for a try after some good work from Kai Jameson with Rob Bracken making no mistake with the boot.
Belvedere became more adventurous in their play, with Damian Butler finding lots of space on the right wing and going over for a try after a long series of possession and while Ivan Soroka's conversion fell short, his penalty minutes later kept them in it. But a Bracken penalty in the closing stages for Wesley sealed the win.
Meanwhile in Munster, last season's beaten finalists St Munchin's College opened their campaign with a hard-earned 10-7 first-round victory over Ardscoil Ris at Coonagh.
A well-worked try from hooker Shane Houlihan, following a well-executed maul in the 20th minute, put St Munchin's ahead. Gearoid O'Shea successfully added the conversion and a precious penalty goal on the stroke of half-time.
Backed by the elements in the second half, Ardscoil Ris scored a 52nd-minute try from out-half Ronan McKenna and he also converted. But St Munchin's, inspired by forwards Eoghan Kelly, Gerard Powell and Ezra Nugent, held out for the victory.
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