A brilliant Rockwell back division complemented the fine work of a hard-working forward pack to pull off an unexpectedly comfortable 28-5 victory over Crescent Comprehensive in Wednesday’s second Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup quarter-final at Markets Field.
Rockwell certainly had no complaints at the late switch of the game from Thomond Park where their fleet-footed three-quarters were ideally suited to an impeccable surface more used to hosting League of Ireland soccer.
The first half was close enough with Crescent enjoying the better of the opening quarter but the complexion of the game had changed by the interval when the Tipperary boys led 7-5. The second half was more or less one-way traffic with Rockwell helping themselves to three more converted tries.
“We began poorly and had only one shot at a try in a nervous first half but we executed a lot better in the second,” said Rockwell head coach Kevin Leamy.
“We have a lot of talented backs and it showed in the tries that we scored even if we were a small bit flattered by the winning margin.”
Both back divisions demonstrated their class in the opening stages of the contest. Crescent were very unfortunate to lose their number eight and captain Barry Scott to a head injury at an early stage but things still looked promising for them following a positive start.
However, they were held at bay by a resolute Rockwell defence who then showed their attacking potential. After 20 minutes, skipper Alan Flannery spotted a gap and quick as a flash sprinted through from 35 metres for a superb try. Out-half John O’Sullivan landed the first of four conversions with a fine kick.
To their credit, Crescent responded in style. A short throw into a line-out enabled them to carry play to within inches of the Rockwell posts and although just held up, they won the resultant scrum and opened the way for David Murphy, into the game as a replacement on the right-wing, to narrow the gap to 7-5.
The second half, however, saw Rockwell well in control. It didn’t help Crescent that they lost second-row Sean Malone to a yellow card and Rockwell took full advantage, centre Sam Tarleton and full-back Joshua O’Dwyer putting their speed and angles of running to devastating effect to score two remarkably similar and beautifully taken tries.
John O’Sullivan converted both and then got in on the try-scoring act himself in the last minute and once again added the points.
Rockwell now travel to Musgrave Park to take on CBC on Tuesday week.
Crescent Comp – B Cosgrove; D O’Shea, D Casserly, D Rickard, T O’Sulllivan; B Davey, J Duggan; E O’Sullivan, J Rickard, B O’Sullivan, D Doyle, S Malone, J McKeogh, P Dolphin, B Scott capt.
Subs used: D O’Grady, D Murphy, C Henchy, E Quinn, G Kelly, C O’Halloran.
Rockwell – J O’Dwyer; P Wall, S Tarleton, A Flannery capt, T Tobin; J O’Sullivan, A Maher; D Foley, D Fanning, M Burke, L Fogarty, B O’Dea, C Kelly, R Anglim, L Shine.
Sub used: K Grogan.
Referee – Tommy O’Donoghue (MAR).