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Blackrock to take out Saints

St Michael's College v Blackrock College, Donnybrook, Sunday 3.0 - St Michael's had to endure the repeated agony of five straight Leinster Schools Junior Cup final defeats before finally finding the summit last season, with James Ryan their general at number eight.

Up to this point, Blackrock have looked a step above all others, ripping through a valiant St Patrick's Navan in a 51-0 whitewash to get the ball rolling, and cleaning out Gonzaga, who had scalped an average Terenure 10-0 in the first round, 32-10 in the quarter-final.

Scrum-half James McGowan has been their most potent weapon so far in his marshalling of a big forward pack and orchestration of a sweet moving backline led by Conor Dean.

The champions were given a proper tune-up in coming from 7-0 behind to complete a 13-7 comeback against the Junior League winners CBC Monkstown.

It was a test of nerve and resolve. They came through impressively, go-to flanker Robert Duffy pounding out the hard yards for the two tries that cracked CBC, who themselves had taken out a very sound Castleknock side in the first round.

St Michael's simply believed in what they were doing and refused to be derailed from their deep desire to move on to the semi-final where they were drawn to meet their arch rivals from down the road.

You could say St Michael's have come through the more difficult side of the draw. It will stand to them when the heat comes on from 'Rock.

And it will.

Verdict: Blackrock