Sunday 17 December 2017

Terenure to come of age

Blackrock vulnerable to 6W class

THE fact that this mouthwatering prospect was postponed from Sunday only serves to whet the appetite for what is sure to be a hot contest.

There have been contrasting vibes from Blackrock this season. Before Christmas, there was some suggestion that their players were kept from Leinster Schools involvement so that they could concentrate on the Senior Cup.

Since then, there has been an alternative appraisal of the absence of 'Rock boys from the provincial squads. This is that they simply don't have the players to make an impression at that level. This is dangerous talk and, certainly, a stick that coach Peter Smyth can beat his players with. To dismiss Blackrock in the Cup is a dangerous occupation.

Afterall, they do carry serious weapons in the exquisitely gifted lineout operator Gavin Thornbury, an Ireland U19, and back row marauders in Conor Kilcoyne, Oliver Jager and Nicholas Timoney.

It is true, however, that they do have an incredibly young squad, led by last year's left wing, Killian O'Leary.


Half-backs Jack Dempsey and Charlie Rock, right wing David Lunn, replacement prop Fergal Bolger and Thornbury are back from the side that was so easily dismissed 38-20 by Clongowes Wood in last year's quarter-final.

Of course, Des Thornton's 'Nure will take nothing for granted.

While this is seen as an above-average side, they should be at their best next year with a cluster of young men who have Junior Cup winners' medals from 2009 and 2010.

Their contribution to the Leinster U18s runs to an elite set of eight players. Back rower Harrison Brewer is an awesome prospect for the future. He has the happy knack of being in the right place at the right time. Flanker David Doyle is another one to watch and prop Silvio Borza brings surprising control in his use of the ball in the tight exchanges.

Their cutting edge is the sharpest in the competition. Ireland Schools centre Stephen O'Neill and former Newbridge College speedsters Billy Dardis and Matthew Madigan cannot be given an inch of space.

For all that, there is the experience of Leinster U19 openside Niall Lalor to see them through choppy waters and the impressive strike rate of Ryan Roopnarinesingh in the three-quarter line.

All the information and evidence points towards Terenure. This is when 'Rock can be at the most dangerous.

Blackrock Coll v Terenure Coll, Donnybrook, tomorrow, 2.30

Verdict: Terenure

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