CBC dethrone brave St Munchins to reach senior cup final

CBC 23 St Munchins 12

Without quite reaching the heights of their 34-3 defeat of Crescent in the quarter-final, Christians did enough to suggest that the winners of next Sunday's semi-final between PBC and Ard Scoil Ris will be hard pressed to deprive them of a title they last captured in the millennium year.

Three tries to nil in favour of CBC leaves no room for argument and while Munchins were always competitive and fought to the end, there was never much likelihood of an upset.

A heavy shower lasting for quarter of an hour or so in the first-half militated against the kind of fast, fluid game that had been anticipated and certainly it hindered CBC's ambition of spreading the ball wide and using the undoubted threat presented by a big, potent threequarter line. It wasn't that they were short of quality possession for they dominated the set pieces, taking a strike or against the head in the scrums and constantly upsetting Munchins at the line-outs.

Yet they managed only one try in the opening 35 minutes and a well-taken one it was, too. Christians were leading by two Eamon Ronan penalties to one by Wayne Murphy after 16 minutes when skipper Ross Noonan made a powerful burst into the Munchins 22 from where the ball was recycled quickly and crisp passing opened the way for centre John McCarthy to go over for the five pointer.

However, Munchins tackled and defended with the kind of grit and commitment invariably associated with the Limerick college and a second penalty by Murphy after 34 minutes kept them in touch at half time.

St Munchins began the second-half on a bright note. Full-back Paraic Kilcoyne was tackled at the corner flag by a fully stretched Christians defence after two minutes and almost immediately Murphy popped over a dropped goal to leave only two points separating the sides. The Cork side was clearly stung into action by this setback and laid siege to the Munchins line. Second-row Andrew Kelly, only just in the game as a replacement, got over the line but was unable to complete the touchdown. However, Christians made no mistake from the resultant scrum as they mauled their way across the line and this time the try was awarded to Noonan. Ronan converted and at 18-9 the back of the Munchins resistance had been broken.

Not that they ever gave up the battle; it was more a case of being outgunned in the key forward exchanges by a pack that had outstanding performers in Noonan and the entire back-row of Billy Holland, Michael Essex and Jonathan Harte. Another Murphy penalty kept the issue alive and that was a tribute to the determined work up front of Cathal Parkes, David Gardiner and Michael Kennedy while Murphy (who performed most meritoriously although playing with a broken bone in his hand) and his half-back partner Tony Cahill always put their limited possession to intelligent use.

Indeed, Christians looked a little jittery while there were only six points between the teams but any further doubt was eliminated when the Christians pack mauled their way to the line and when stopped by plucky defence, they got the ball away to Karl Mitchell who scored close to the corner flag.

CBC: M.J. Ahern; J. O'Hanlon, J. McCarthy, K. Mitchell, G. Blower; E. Ronan, D. Williams; D. Hurley, J. Kerins, R. Hassann, R. Noonan capt, E. Mackey, B. Holland, M. Essex, J. Harte. Replacements, A. Kelly for Mackey 38; G. Keane for Kerins 45; B. O'Keeffe for McCarthy 56; A. Ryan for O'Hanlon 65.

ST MUNCHINS: P. Kilcoyne; B. Dalton, A. Hurley, A. Ajoung, M. O'Donovan; W. Murphy, T. Cahill; D. Keogh, M. Kennedy, R. Hogan, B. Purcell, F. Walsh, L. Mullane, C. Parkes capt, D. Gardiner. Replacements, A. Desmond for Hogan 55; F. Daly for M. O'Donovan 62

Referee D. Moloney.

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