Blackrock College head coach Ben Martin believes his side have made genuine progress in the Energia All-Ireland League, particularly after today’s victory in the Energia All-Ireland Plate final.
“Pre-Covid we would have been sitting around the fourth or fifth spot in the table and tussling for a semi-final,” he told IrishRugby.ie.
“Now we feel like we’ve cemented ourselves as one of the top three clubs in the country and that’s where we want to be.”
Blackrock were 24-12 winners over Cooke on the day, leaving them with some silverware to lift.
Martin continued: “Something shiny at the end of any season is always good to have. We were looking for league and cup so it’s not the ones that we wanted but that’s the reality of rugby.
“Somebody always comes out on the wrong side of a final but today we got that chance to taste victory.”
Both Martin and Blackrock captain Val Power paid tribute to their opponents from Belfast. With Ulster captain Beth Cregan to the fore, Cooke had a superb start to the game and led 12-10 at half-time.
“We had a slow start but all credit to Cooke they really brought the fight. They wanted to finish the season on a high as did we. They took their advantage early on and we had to fight to get it back in the end,” said Martin.
Speaking after the game, Power admitted: “It’s a fantastic day for the club. Today really showed we’ve got two full squads in the club.
“We’ve probably had 50 players involved between this competition and the All-Ireland League. Today really showed we’ve got the depth and the mentality to compete at the top level.”
Railway Union were equally pleased with their 51-12 win over UL Bohemians in the Energia All-Ireland Cup final. You can hear from captain Niamh Byrne, who scored a hat-trick of tries, and head coach John Cronin below: