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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 20 February, 2019
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Blackrock send out a signal of intent with four-try win over Terenure

Tom Maher’s first-half double set the 68-time winners on their way to an emphatic win at Donnybrook.

Tom Maher runs in his first try.
Tom Maher runs in his first try.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

Blackrock College 27

Terenure College 7

– Ryan Bailey reports from Donnybrook

WE’VE YET TO see a major shock in this year’s Leinster Senior Schools Cup and while Terenure had enough about them to upset the odds this afternoon, Blackrock were devastating from start to finish.

After falling at this hurdle in the last two years, the 68-time winners mean business this time around and will take some stopping after another dazzling four-try performance at Donnybrook.

Justin Vanstone’s men were slick in both attack and defence and were rarely in danger of missing out on a place in the semi-finals as they swept past a Terenure outfit who brought plenty to another entertaining tie.

Winger Tom Maher scored a first-half brace and after Terenure had fought gallantly to stay in touch, Patrick Patterson’s score shortly after the break all but settled the game as a contest.

The icing on the cake came courtesy of substitute Mark Phelan, who finished off a fine team move with virtually the last play of the game.

It was perhaps a little harsh on Terenure but at the same time Blackrock were full value for a 20-point winning margin as it was clear from the off that they were on their game.

Tom Roche tackled by Jack Cadell Tom Roche was again hugely impressive for Blackrock. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Blackrock came out of the blocks quickly and set an intensity Terenure were simply unable to deal with.

The work around the breakdown was tireless, the handling electric and there was always a support runner on the shoulder.

Even without the ball, the light blue and white shirts were quickly off the line and two ferocious hits during the opening exchanges laid down a marker.

Having comfortably accounted for The King’s Hospital in the first round, the south Dublin school knew they were going to have to find another gear this afternoon and it took them just six minutes to hit the front.

As is the way at schools level, teams look to throw it wide at every opportunity but it’s another thing having the necessary skillset to execute such an expansive approach; two games in and there’s little doubt Blackrock’s backline possesses explosive firepower.

From left to right in a few crisp paces, Terenure were stretched and left out-numbered on the far wing and there was no stopping Maher once he had the ball in hand. Out-half Peter O’Reilly added the extras.

It was far from one-way traffic and Terenure gave as good as they got going forward and caused Blackrock serious problems. Dominic Henry-Hayes’ piercing run very nearly created the opening but the final pass didn’t go to hand as ‘Rock scrambled.

Tom Roche and Ross Deegan with Sam Dardis Sam Dardis is wrapped up by Roche and Ross Deegan. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Moments later, Henry-Hayes burst through again only for his looping pass out right to go to ground with Luke Murnaghan in acres of space.

Much like Belevdere yesterday, Blackrock absorbed the pressure and then struck at the other end.

The industrious Tom Roche, who was absolutely outstanding all game, picked a brilliant line and held off several defenders before ‘Rock recycled the ball and from the next phase, spread it out wide for Maher to gave over for his second.

Terenure weren’t deterred, however, and admirably stuck to their guns to find a route back into the game. Mark Fabian’s deft grubber through unlocked the Blackrock rearguard and Adam La Grue’s glorious offload allowed Zac Vaughan to get his side on the board.

Fabian’s sweetly-struck conversion made it 12-7 at half-time after Terenure twice stood firm to shut the door on ‘Rock in the closing stages of the opening period.

But the interval only served as a momentary reprieve for John Coffey’s men as Blackrock came hard after the restart and extended their advantage through scrum-half Patterson.

Blackrock fans celebrate after the game Blackrock fans celebrate at full-time. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

To their credit, Terenure persevered but were always chasing the game and having assumed control of proceedings, Blackrock weren’t prepared to let their opponents back into it.

O’Reilly’s penalty from in front of the posts just before the hour mark gave his side breathing space as the score went out to 22-7 before Phelan sealed the deal at the death.

As the Blackrock fans sang at full-time, ‘You can’t stop the ‘Rock’, and you’d nearly believe them even at this stage of the campaign.

Blackrock scorers:
Tries: Tom Maher [2], Patrick Patterson, Mark Phelan.
Penalties: Peter O’Reilly [1 from 3]
Conversions: Peter O’Reilly [2 from 4]
Terenure scorers:
Tries: Zac Vaughan
Penalties:
Conversions: Mark Fabian [1 from 1]

BLACKROCK COLLEGE: 15. Tom Roche, 14. Tom Maher (Mark Phelan 67′), 13. James Moriarty, 12. Ross Deegan (22. Gavin Jones 19′), 11. David Heavey, 10. Peter O’Reilly, 9. Patrick Patterson (21. Richard Fahy 67′); 1. Giuseppe Coyne (17. Carl Delaney 65′), 2. Stephen McLoughlin (16. Sean Molony 54′), 3. Thomas Clarkson (18. Andrew Savage 65′), 4. Andrew Murphy, 5. Charlie Ryan (19. Matthew Carroll 54′), 6. John Fairley (20. Michael McGagh 54′), 7. Alan Francis, 8. Cian Reilly (captain).

TERENURE COLLEGE: 15. Sam Dardis, 14. Luke Murnaghan, 13. Adam La Grue, 12. Dominic Henry-Hayes, 11. Zac Vaughan, 10. Mark Fabian, 9. Mark Eaton (21. George Morgan 58′); 1. Adam Tuite, 2. Harry O’Neill, 3. Joe Kerins (17. Bill O’Hara 44′) , 4. John Quirke, 5. Adam Melia (captain), 6. Jack Cadell, 7. Jack Cooke, 8. Jack O’Hare.

Replacements not used: 16. Jack Boland, 18. Levi Vaughan, 19. Rory McGrath, 20. Leo Fabre, 22. Jake Moore, 23. Ross McInnes.

Referee: Brian McNiece.

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Ryan Bailey

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