Blackrock claim Leinster Schools crown
Blackrock claimed their 68th Leinster Schools Cup crown with a 22-17 victory over Clongowes in a titanic encounter at the RDS on Sunday.
With two of the competition’s most successful schools taking part, there was no quarter asked or given in what was a fine showcase for schools rugby.
Blackrock enjoyed the upper hand in the opening 20 minutes, launching wave after wave of attacks, but couldn’t find a way through some a solid Clongowes defence.
They looked to have opened the scoring on 15 minutes when they touched down in the corner, but the try was correctly disallowed for a forward pass.
Blackrock continued to press and finally got the score their efforts deserved on 29 minutes when flanker Conor Oliver broke down the blindside from the back of a maul to touch down in the corner. Out-half Sean Kearns added the extras with a superb kick from the touchline and it was 7-0.
The Dublin school were over again moments later as outside-centre Jack Power showed the Clongowes defence a clean pair of heels down as he skipped past several tackles before releasing Hugo Keenan who finished well from 20 metres. Once again Kearns added the conversion and it was 14-0.
Clongowes full-back Alan Hughes then reduced the deficit with a well-struck penalty just before the break to at least give the Kildare school a foothold in the game.
They came storming out of the blocks in the second half and captain Fergal Cleary crossed within a minute of the restart to make it 14-8, although the decision was referred upstairs for a potential obstruction.
Hughes added the conversion and suddenly there were just three points between the teams.
Cian O’Donoghue crossed for Clongowes’ second try on 53 minutes, with Hughes again slotting the conversion as the Kildare school found themselves ahead for the first time at 17-14.
But Kearns replied with a penalty moments later and the scores were tied at 17-17 with just over 15 minutes to play.
Blackrock captain Nick Timoney restored Blackrock’s lead on 62 minutes when he finished off a superb driving maul to cross in the corner. Kearns was narrowly wide with the conversion attempt to leave it as a five point game at 22-17 with seven minutes remaining.
Clongowes poured forward in search of a try, but Blackrock defended stoutly to claim their 68th Leinster Schools Senior Cup title.