herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Rugby: Three in a row on the horizon after mauling of St Michael's

Coach Dermot Blaney is now faced with the challenge of emulating the Terenure College three in a row sides of the 1970s (1976-78) following the achievement of putting back-to-back Leinster Junior Cup titles together at Donnybrook on Sunday.

It was a case of 'ten-up' for 'Nure as they dominated St Michael's far more convincingly than when the same pair met in last year's final.

It is doubtful whether a better U15 side has ever emerged from the nursery on Templeogue Road. They were controlled, dominant and clever.

Dermot Blaney, aided and abetted by his brother Brian and John Coffey in a three-pronged coaching team was, at last, free to acknowledge their superiority.



BRIGHTEST

"They are definitely the brightest side I have been involved with. It makes our job a lot easier when they are making the right decisions out there," said Blaney. "They've soaked up all the information we've given them and improved week on week.

"They are a very intelligent bunch of players, who also have a great work ethic."

The roving eye of the Leinster Academy will already have been alerted to a host of players with potential, including their No8 Harrison Brewer, captain Rob Somerville, tight-head Silvio Borza, scrum-half Gary Clarkin and centre Stephen O'Neill.

It was, arguably, the worst week in the relatively short rugby history of St Michael's College, with coach Robbie O'Flynn forced to reflect on their fourth straight final defeat in the Junior Cup, straight after their Senior Cup demise to Clongowes Wood College.



time

"It has been a terrible week for rugby in the school," he said. "We will get over it. The one thing we have is time. It is going to be a year before we play in the Junior and Senior Cups again.

"We are getting 90pc of the way there: we are making it to the final; it is the other 10pc we need. We've been in the last four JCT finals."

St Michael's have not been able to add to their two Junior Cups in 1991 and 2002. It must be such a frustrating experience for the coaches and players.

"Next year the boys in fourth, fifth and sixth year will all have played in JCT finals. We are beginning to get consistency coming through the school.

"Our under-13s won the Holy Ghost Cup last week. They are a good side too."

Surely, then, it is a matter of when, rather than if, St Michael's will be able to claim their third Junior and second Senior Cup. For the moment, they must take it all on the chin.

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