The U13 Blacks team took to the field against Corinthians, ably captained by Luke Casserly, on Sunday last in Glenina. Kick off was brought forward to 3.15pm with concerns about the dying light in the second half, but the bright low winter’s sun and blue sky made for perfect rugby playing conditions. Young Casserly wisely chose to keep the blinding sun at their backs in the first half.

The first half kicked off and fast free flowing play ensued. The Blacks held excellent field position from the outset in no small part to some strong play in the front row by Evan Cunningham, Michael Dolan and Jack Kennedy. The second row saw a new partnership of Cillian O’Donovan and James Keane who were quick to clear out the rucks. Alex Bleahen impressed with his first start at wing forward and was balanced well by Jason Mullins on the open side. Ben O’Dwyer continued to make ground straight up the middle of play at No. 8 causing the Corinthians defence all kinds of problems.

The forwards created a strong platform for Charlie Valentine at scrum half who was able to unleash Darragh Counihan at outhalf and Sean Murphy at first centre. Captain Casserly was a rock of defence at second centre and the back three was made up of Michael Brosnan and Christopher Callinan on the wings. Stevie Parkinson was as always solid in defence and deadly in attack at full back.

The Blacks went in at half time three tries to one up including a stunning cross field kick from Counihan (a quickly taken penalty), which was collected with ease by Chris Callanan and dotted down in the corner.

The Corinthians squad nearly had the makings of an entire second team while the Blacks bench was smaller than usual due to some withdrawals. But the Blacks substitutions of Niall O’Donoghue, Louis O’Connor , Eanna Hillary and Colm Saughnessy ensured that the Blacks finished strongly with a late fourth try after fresh Corinthians legs from their genrous bench managed to score two tries in a third quarter purple patch for the away team. The Blacks fourth and winnnig try came from a powerful run from the halfway line by No.8 Ben O’Dwyer (Noel Mannion would have been proud of it).

U13 Blues head for Creggs on Sunday next eager for game time as an exciting Blues v Blacks match looms on the league calendar.