Gonzaga's JP Breslin celebrates after scoring his team's fourth try with Aidan O’Flanagan. Ben Brady/INPHO

Gonzaga make history by beating Blackrock in Leinster senior cup final

The Ulster final was won by RBAI in dramatic fashion at Kingspan Stadium.

Gonzaga College 35

Blackrock College 31

Daire Walsh reports from the RDS

TOM WYLEY was the match-winning hero at the RDS this afternoon as Gonzaga College made history by claiming their maiden Leinster Schools Senior Cup title with a magnificent triumph over Blackrock College.

Beaten finalists in 2019 and 2022 against St Michael’s College and Blackrock respectively, Gonzaga established their credentials in an absorbing contest by developing an 11-point interval cushion. They had looked set to fall short in agonising fashion when ‘Rock turned the tables on them inside the final quarter, but Wyley’s 68th-minute try ensured the Ranelagh side were added to the competition’s roll of honours.

In an explosive start to the contest, ‘Rock drew first blood when their No 8 Tom Brigg drove over the opposition whitewash at the end of a relentless attacking spell for a third-minute try. Skipper Oliver Coffey was on hand to supply the extras, but his side’s seven-point lead was short-lived.

Instead of a potential shot at goal, Gonzaga fly-half Stephen McMahon opted to kick a sixth-minute penalty to touch. This proved to be a smart decision as the ball was worked in-field towards McMahon, who released full-back Hugo McLaughlin for a try to the right of the posts.

One of five Gonzaga players to start last year’s final, McMahon comfortably added the bonuses to restore parity in a frantic encounter. While they took great confidence as a result of this equaliser, their Williamstown counterparts regained the advantage courtesy of a routine place-kick from Coffey on 25 minutes.

Gonzaga were awarded a close-range penalty of their own moments later, but rather than replicating the ‘Rock scrum-half at the opposite end, McMahon quickly tapped the ball and proceeded to power past the whitewash in clinical fashion.

There was further joy for Gonzaga’s number 10 just past the half-hour as he was put through by prop Adam McVerry for another five-pointer after winger JP Breslin had gone close to scoring.

McMahon also contributed conversions to both of his tries to propel Gonzaga towards a commanding 21-10 interval cushion.

Although the momentum was seemingly with their opponents, Blackrock were firmly back in the reckoning when loosehead prop Tom O’Riordan finished off a lengthy attacking move for a converted try on 40 minutes.

noreen-wilson-presents-the-cup-to-the-gonzaga-team-as-they-celebrate-as-leinster-schools-senior-cup-champions Noreen Wilson presents the cup to the Gonzaga team. Ben Brady / INPHO Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

Gonzaga reinforced their authority just four minutes later when superb approach work from McMahon and Hugo McLaughlin created the platform for Breslin to touch down in the right corner. Yet, even though McMahon added two more points to his impressive personal tally, ‘Rock seized control of the contest either side of the third-quarter mark.

In a direct response to Breslin’s finish, Alex Mullan joined his fellow front-row O’Riordan in grabbing a try off a multi-phase move. The dynamic tighthead was getting more involved as the play progressed and a neat pass by Coffey released him through a defensive gap for another smart score with 14 minutes remaining.

Whilst the expectation was that ‘Rock were going to push on from here for their 71st senior title, Gonzaga simply refused to throw in the towel. Despite Luke McLaughlin being held-up on the try-line, an attacking scrum presented them with another chance to swing the pendulum in their favour.

Following an initial incision from Patrick Masterson, replacement scrum-half James O’Dwyer worked the ball into Wyley’s hands for a try underneath the posts. McMahon brought his individual haul up to 20 points with a fifth conversion and after they withstood a resulting surge from ‘Rock, Gonzaga had officially reached the promised land.

the-gonzaga-college-team-celebrate-with-the-senior-cup Gonzaga College players celebrate. Ben Brady / INPHO Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO


The Ulster schools cup final was won by RBAI at Kingspan Stadium, captain Jacob Boyd scoring a last-second winning try to secure a 22-17 success over Campbell College.

The first blow was struck by Campbell College with Jed Dornan touching down in the 19th minute and Matt Rea adding the conversion. Boyd countered for RBAI with a try but a penalty by Rae left Campbell ahead 10-5 at half-time.

Then RBAI enjoyed a brilliant start to the second half as lock Jacob Edwards and winger Alex Place both grabbed tries, the first of those was converted. Campbell drew level once more with a Henry Ralston try that Rae converted to leave the teams level at 17-17.

However Boyd’s intervention late on won the day.


Gonzaga College Scorers

Tries: Stephen McMahon 2, Hugo McLaughlin, JP Breslin, Tom Wyley

Conversions: Stephen McMahon [5 from 5]

Blackrock College Scorers

Tries: Alex Mullan 2, Tom Brigg, Tom O’Riordan

Conversions: Oliver Coffey [4 from 4]

Penalties: Oliver Coffey [1 from 1]

GONZAGA COLLEGE: Hugo McLaughlin; JP Breslin, Aidan O’Flanagan (Samuel Inglis ’69), Jody Browne, Mikey Wall (Patrick Masterson ’59); Stephen McMahon, Tom Brophy (James O’Dwyer ’58); Finn O’Neill (Patrick O’Brien ’67), Luke McLaughlin, Adam McVerry (Jamie Sheil ’59); Jamie Kennedy, Tom Wyley; Charlie Kennedy (Morgan Tyrrell ’58), Gavin O’Grady, Paul Wilson.

BLACKROCK COLLEGE: Charlie Molony; James O’Sullivan, Luke Kritzinger, Mark Walsh (Andrew Quinn ’50), Eoghan Walsh; Conor O’Shaughnessy (Harry Whelan ’67), Oliver Coffey; Tom O’Riordan, Mikey Yarr, Alex Mullan; Michael Colreavy, Tommy Butler; Conor Tonge (Conall Hodges ’50), Jack Angulo, Tom Brigg (Donnacha McGuire ’66).

Referee: Padraic Reidy.

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