Pres produce goods to earn crack at CBC

Crescent Comprehensive 5 Presentation College 19

While flattered by their winning margin - they snatched a seven-pointer in the last minute - Pres were dominant for most of the game and are sure to present a mighty challenge to their great city rivals CBC in the final on St Patrick’s Day.

However, Pres will realise the amount of improvement needed to bridge that nine-year gap. They certainly have the forward strength to cope and have a matchwinner in scrum-half and captain Sam Cronin. Nevertheless, the number of handling errors they made on an absolutely perfect afternoon was rather alarming and in a closer game they couldn’t afford to miss the same number of goal kicks.

Pres recovered from a slow start to dominate territorially in the first half. Had number eight Eamonn Nugent been able to retain possession after a clever cross-kick by out-half Gavin Dunne, and had Dunne himself scored a couple of penalty shots that would normally have been within his range, Pres would have been better off than 5-5 at the break.

Tim Kenneally showed his potential early on when storming through the middle of the park but in the 13th minute, a couple of unforced errors cost Pres dearly. Crescent turned over possession on the visitors 22 and crisp passing saw centre Paddy Carroll create the opening for David Murphy to score in the left corner.

Carroll missed the difficult conversion and Crescent went on to play second fiddle for much of the remainder of the half.

Pres got on terms after 27 minutes, when they scorned another shot at goal in favour of a line-out, following which Robert Allen stormed over with the help of his fellow forwards after a clean take by his second-row Richard McCarthy.

The second half was only a couple of minutes old when replacement Jeff Power missed another penalty opportunity for Pres. When another chance immediately presented itself, they again chose the line-out and this time Cronin managed the touchdown in spite of herculean efforts by the Crescent defence. Power converted to put Pres 12-5 ahead and looking good.

They were then called upon to defend, as the fine Crescent flanker Barry O’Mahony brought play close to their line with a great run. Crescent’s Barry Lynch won a close range line-out but the maul was held up by sterling work from the Cork pack in which Nugent, Jack O’Driscoll and Richard McCarthy were outstanding. They raised the siege and forced a penalty which Power missed. A superb break-out of defence, spearhead by Kenneally, enlivened a tense but far from clinical final quarter, and it came as little surprise when prop Neil Burke forced his way over on the stroke of full time and Power converted.

CRESCENT COMP: S. Scanlon; C. Aherne, M. South, P. Carroll, D. Murphy; R. O’Sullivan, N. Mulvihill; R. Leonard capt, D. Griffin, B. Storan, B. Lynch, O. Keely, S. Keyes, B. O’Mahony, D. Maguire. Replacement, B. O’Regan for Keyes 43 mins; B. Gavin for Scanlon 56; H. Mulcahy for Mulvihill 58; R. O’Connor for Storan 65 mins.

PBC: S. Deasy; S. Costigan, B. Dennehy, T. Kenneally, S. McKeown; G. Dunne, S. Cronin capt; J. Carton, M. O’Leary, N. Bourke, R. McCarthy, R. Allen, T. Hennebry, J. O’Driscoll, E. Nugent. Temp replacement, M. Keyes for Dennehy; J. Power for Costigan half time; Keyes for Dennehy 67.

Referee: D. Moloney (Munster).

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