Leinster Schools Junior Cup

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The Leinster Schools Junior Challenge Cup

The Leinster Schools Junior Challenge Cup is an under-age rugby union competition for schools affiliated to the Leinster Branch of the IRFU.

Competition is confined to students under the age of 16. The cup is held every January - March with the final in late March. It is usually seen as a good forecast as who will win the Leinster Schools Senior Cup in the following years.

The first recorded Junior Cup was held in 1909 where St. Andrew's College edged out Belvedere to take the "inaugural" cup. There is speculation that the competition was in existence before this but there are no surviving records to prove this.

Like the Senior Cup the competition is now dominated by the "big 6" rugby schools (Blackrock, Belvedere, Terenure, St Marys, Clongowes Wood and St Michaels). While Castleknock College is in fourth place with 8 wins, its last win was 1966. Presentation College Bray has recorded 5 wins, however their last win was in 1990. Only 12 different schools have lifted the Junior Cup, compared to the Senior Cup where 18 different schools have won the title. However, in the last 20 years, Gonzaga, Newbridge, Pres Bray, Castleknock and Wesley have contested the final.

St Michael's has the distinction of being runners up in 5 finals in a row (2007-2011), they were eventual winners in their 6th final in a row in 2012.

Blackrock College have the most victories (50), followed by Belvedere College (17) with Terenure College the next best (10). Despite the domination of the rugby schools the Cup is much less prone to "runs" of victories by a single school, the longest being Belvedere's 4 (1916-1919) and Blackrock's 4s (1979-1982) (2013-2016)

To date only five schools have achieved the almost mythical Senior and Junior Cup double. These are Blackrock, who have achieved this feat 26 times (1910, 1912, 1927, 1933, 1935–36, 1942–43, 1945, 1948, 1953–54, 1956–57, 1962, 1964, 1981–82, 1986–87, 1995, 2004, 2006, 2013–14), St Michaels (2012), Belvedere (2005), Terenure (1958) and Castleknock (1920). Since the Junior Cup records began, only the decade of the 1970s did not produce a double.

Even more rare is to lose both the Senior and Junior Cup Finals in the same year. This depressing feat has been achieved by seven schools on 12 occasions. Terenure College leads with 4 (1957, 1964, 1969 & 1987), followed by Belvedere College with 3 (1930, 1944 & 1962), next Blackrock College (2017), St. Michael's College (2010), St Mary's College (1943), Newbridge College (1939) and Cistercian College Roscrea (1910) with 1 each. Remarkably Blackrock College had never been beaten in both finals in the same year until 2017.

Blackrock College have only been defeated in successive finals on three occasions. In the 1919/20 they were runners up two times in a row, defeated by Belvedere in 1919 followed by a walkover by Castleknock in 1920. The second occasion was thirty years later in 1949/50 when they were defeated in successive finals by Clongowes Wood College and Newbridge College respectively. The third and last occasion was when Blackrock College were beaten three times in a row by Terenure College in 1976, 1977 and 1978.

During the 16 years from 1975 to 1990 the Junior Cup was won by only three different schools. Blackrock College with 7 wins, Terenure College with 5 wins and Presentation College Bray with 4 wins.

In the 1971 JCT final Terenure College were defeated 6-5 in a replay by St Mary's College, following an earlier 3-3 draw. Terenure College scored a converted try which at the time was 5 points (3+2) to St Mary's two penalties 6 points. Six months later the try was increased by the International Rugby Board to 4 points!


Performance by school[edit]

School Titles
Sq3 skywhitesky.svg Blackrock College 50
Sq3 blackwhiteblack.svg Belvedere College 17
Sq3 blackpurplewhite.svg Terenure College 10
Sq3 navyskyyellow.svg Castleknock College 8
Sq2 bluewhite.svg St. Mary's College 6
Sq3 purplewhitepurple.svg Clongowes Wood College 5
Sq3 blackyellowred.svg Presentation College, Bray 5
Sq2 skynavy.svg St. Michael's College, Dublin 4
Sq3 bluewhiteblue.svg St. Andrew's College, Dublin 1
Sq3 blackredblack.svg The High School, Dublin 1
Sq2 whiteblack.svg Newbridge College 1
Sq3 blackwhiteblack.svg M.S.J. Roscrea 1

Note: This list is based on the information below which may be incomplete.

1900s[edit]

1910s[edit]

1920s[edit]

1930s[edit]

1940s[edit]

1950s[edit]

1960s[edit]

1970s[edit]

1980s[edit]

1990s[edit]

2000s[edit]

2010s[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Gerard Siggins' series of novels, Rugby Spirit (2012), Rugby Warrior (2014), Rugby Rebel (2015), Rugby Flyer (2016) and Rugby Runner (2017) tell the story of a boy, Eoin Madden, who plays rugby for the fictional Dublin school "Castlerock College". He takes part in several campaigns with the school, including the Leinster Junior Cup. The school's name is an homage to that in Paul Howard's books, as Siggins had coined the name "Ross O'Carroll-Kelly". [7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]