Ethan Black’s two penalties pushed St Michael’s into the Leinster Schools Junior Cup final in a tremendous tussle at Energia Park on Monday afternoon.
There was a ferocious opening to this one as Blackrock employed the two-man tackle to drive the primary ball carriers back.
When St Michael’s looked to lift the pressure, out-half Paddy Clancy’s kick isolated Jack O’Sullivan and the cavalry arrived to force a penalty, Clancy striking for the lead in the third minute.
Pretty soon, St Michael’s were into their shape, looking to play through centres Charlie McConnell and Ethan Black, their dangerman.
While ‘Rock were ready, willing and able to snuff out those two, the agility of St Micael’s at the breakdown through Ryan Greally, Eamon Burke and Senan Wall allied to Cathal Lydon’s interesting grubbers gave them the field position for Black to level matters in the 16th minute.
It was a stalemate from there to the break as St Michael’s gains at the ruck were countered by Blackrock’s athleticism at the lineout.
St Michael’s started the second period better than the first, moving the point of attack to claim another penalty, Black slicing the posts for 6-3 in the 34th minute.
Blackrock came like a hurricane up the left through Michael Walsh, Johnny O’Sullivan knifing infield where those St Michael’s centres McConnell and Black shut the door for a penalty.
.When O’Sullivan came out the other end of a tackle, his kick ahead was just about dealt with by McConnell and Oran Richardson.
St Michael’s were making more ground up the guts and Black’s maturity in playing the ball away spoke to the trust in those around the captain.
They could even afford a disallowed try from stellar lock Eamon Burke as they strangled Blackrock at the breakdown where Burke, Sean Wall and Ryan Greally were outstanding.
St Michael’s - E Black 2 pens.
Blackrock - P Clancy pen.
ST MICHAEL’S COLLEGE: J O'Sullivan; O Richardson, E Black (Capt), C McConnell, D Ryan; C Lydon, L Kilmurray; H Miller, D Willis, D Maguire, J Elliott, E Burke, S Wall, M Berman, R Greally.
Replacements - J McInerney for Elliott 48 mins; H Bracken for Miller, C O’Neill for Berman both 54 mins.
BLACKROCK COLLEGE: J Reddan; C Sheahan, C O’Connell, R Houlihan, J O’Sullivan; P Clancy, H Phelan; A McConn-Walsh, M Wyse, S Bishti, G Wall, B O’Halloran, A Daly, M Walsh (Capt), B Walsh.
Replacements - A Smykovskiy for O’Halloran 42 mins; B Crowley for Phelan 49 mins; N McCarthy for Wyse 59 mins; J Luff for Wall 61 mins.
Referee - R Jenkinson, Leinster Branch.