Crescent unhappy as Munchins shade it

St Munchin’s 10 Crescent Comprehensive 9

To say favourites St Munchin’s were fortunate to prevail is an understatement, and nothing will convince Crescent other than that two crucial refereeing decisions in the second-half deprived them of a place in the decider.

Munchin’s were 10-6 ahead but on the back foot when the first incident occurred in the 55th minute. Crescent’s full-back Sean Scanlon dived over close to the left-hand corner but the referee, who could not have been better positioned, decreed the player had lost possession forward before touching down.

Five minutes later, nippy Crescent scrum-half Diarmuid Upton attacked down the left and having chipped ahead into the Munchin’s 22, was taken out in dangerous fashion by winger Jason Organ.

Mr Moloney awarded a penalty and yellow carded Organ and the resultant kick by Andrew Burke, his third of the match, narrowed the gap to a single point. Crescent attacked from there to the finish and went close on a few occasions but Munchin’s held out to meet either CBC or PBC in the final on St Patrick’s Day at the same venue.

Afterward, Crescent trainer Dudley Herbert said: “We feel very hard done by. We have no doubt that Sean Scanlon scored a fair try and that the late tackle on Diarmuid Upton merited a penalty try. These lads don’t deserve that kind of treatment. More time goes into preparing this team than goes into the Munster European Cup side and they played a great game and deserved to win.

“We were refereed to the letter of the law but that didn’t apply to Munchin’s. We have no problem with the Munchin’s team and we’re all still good friends but this is hard to take.”

St Munchin’s went into the game as warm favourites and went ahead after 11 minutes. Eamonn Broderick found a gap in the Crescent defence before transferring to his fellow centre Keith Earls, who raced home from 60 metres.

Richard Mullane tapped over the easy conversion but Earls was also the villain of the piece, for he missed two penalties from very close range.

Those misses in turn enabled Crescent to narrow the gap with a penalty by Burke but as they turned to face the stiff breeze in the second half 7-3 behind, few would have held out any hope for them.

This was all the more so given that Munchin’s had an effective line-out thanks to the efforts of Conor McNamara, John Griffin and a hugely influential number eight in Shane Hassett.

Instead, Crescent’s Ken Hanley and Aaron McCloskey went on to claim constant possession in this sector, Darren Mulcair and Ruairi Herbert were everywhere in the loose and suddenly the nippy Crescent back division began to dominate. Munchin’s found themselves under a lot of pressure and even though Burke’s second penalty on 40 minutes was almost immediately wiped out by a superb 40-metre drop goal by Richard Mullane, Crescent remained on top. They looked the more tactically aware side and played almost all the good rugby.

Munchin’s enjoyed a lot of quality possession but underused Broderick and Earls. The latter brought down Ronan O’Sullivan in the 53rd minute when the Crescent captain might well have gone all the way from halfway. But it was not to be Crescent’s day and their disappointment at the end could not be understated.

ST MUNCHIN’S: J. O’Dwyer; J. Organ, K. Earls, E. Broderick, G. O’Hanlon; R. Mullane, P. Rowley; D. Hogan, G. Slattery, T. Burke, C. McNamara, J. Griffin, L. Murphy, J. O’Neill, S. Hassett.

Replacement: M. Kelleher for O’Hanlon 70 mins.

CRESCENT: S. Scanlon; M. Doyle, E. Breen, R. O’Sullivan, D. O’Brien; A. Burke, D. Upton; E. Moylan, J. Corrigan, S. Henniger, K. Hanley, A. McCloskey, E. Ryan, R. Herbert, D. Mulcair.

Replacement: K. Finlayson for Henniger half time.

Referee: D. Moloney (IRFU).

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