Sunday 21 April 2019

St Michael's complete Leinster Senior-Junior Cup double after stunning late comeback against Blackrock

St Michael’s College 26 Blackrock College 19

Henry McErlean of St Michael's College celebrates after the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Junior Cup Final match between Blackrock College and St Michaels College at Energia Park in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Henry McErlean of St Michael's College celebrates after the Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Junior Cup Final match between Blackrock College and St Michaels College at Energia Park in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Des Berry

St Michael’s came from nowhere to down Blackrock with two late tries by Seán Egan and David Fegan, claiming the Leinster Junior Cup in dramatic circumstances at Energia Park.

The winners, who sealed a Leinster Senior-Junior Cup double in the process, looked smooth from the beginning, sweeping up the right to open up space on the left where full-back Henry McErlean placed a kick for wing Tiernan Hurley to grab a 5-0 lead in the third minute.

From there, Blackrock’s pack made its presence felt in controlling the pace of the game with half-backs Will Fitzgerald and Zach Quirke in control. They hit back with a 20-metre maul that ended with flanker Liam Molony peeling away for the equaliser, Quirke converting.

Next there was variety and patience to create the blindside gap for Fitzgerald to scoot over, Quirke converting again from a severe angle. It looked like their speed merchant wing Ethan Laing had landed the killer blow from a stunning individual effort from halfway for a 19-5 lead at the interval. 

However, the energy levels there in the first half seeped away as St Michael’s struggled for the territory they so badly needed. They got a boost from lock Michael Sadlier’s burst up the middle, centre Sam Berman’s thrust and Zach Baird’s try for Gunne’s extras to make it 19-12 in the 46th minute.

They began to wear down ’Rock’s bigger pack and fluidity became a friend, prop Seán Egan driving to the line and Gunne converting in the 57th minute.

They wasted no time in bouncing back into attack for replacement Fegan to arrive late on the scene for a glorious try, Gunne’s extras concluding a remarkable final.   

St Michael’s – H McErlean (JP Tiernan 16); D Whelehan (C Foley 58), M Victory, S Berman, T Hurley; K McMahon, F Gunne; D Barron, M Sherwin, S Egan, M Sadlier, D Woods, D Carroll (D Fegan 46), J Brown, Z Baird (capt).

Blackrock – R Moloney (C Leahy 7); C Ryan, H Cooney (M Caskey 46), F Mei, E Laing; Z Quirke, W Fitzgerald; C O’Brien (M le Bail 57), G Barron, P McCarthy, S Green, T Brigg, J McLoughlin (M Brophy 57), L Molony, G McCarthy (capt). 

Ref – G Sheridan (Leinster Branch)

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