Four days after annexing the Senior Cup, the juniors completed a remarkable double for the famed Mardyke College, but the Cork boys were made to work hard against first-time finalists Castletroy College.
Conditions were deplorable for the two sides, but the participants contrived to produce segments of entertaining play on a near-impossible day for open, attacking rugby.
The soapy ball made handling a monopoly out wide, precipitating a myriad of handling errors and knock-ons. On a day designed to cradle possession, Pres demonstrated greater composure.
That was made easier as the Cork boys boasted a bigger, more cohesive pack, which held the ball magnificently in the tight.
On a day when the fight for primary possession was also crucial, the likes of Niall Scannell, Ian Mullarkey, Dave O’Mahony and Brian Carroll were pivotal figures.
If there was a trophy for free-spirit and adventure then Castletroy would top the list. While the young Limerick College can be proud of the way they coped in their first ever final against the province’s great traditionalists, John Keehan’s side commendably displayed a penchant to play off the cuff behind an under pressure pack. The gem in an exciting Castletroy back line was out half Peter Murray and was unlucky not to engineer a try form his numerous line-breaks.
Murray, along with Padraig O’Connor, linked brilliantly in the first quarter as Castletroy laid siege to the Pres line. Probing and testing the Pres defensive line, the Cork boys infringed at a ruck on the ‘22’ and O’Connor coolly converted the resultant penalty.
Pres found their feet in the second quarter and on their first raid inside the opposition ‘22’ came away with three points. Murray was sacked after a superb tackle by Jack Duffy, before Castletroy forwards came flying in over the top and referee George Clancy awarded a penalty. Pat Deasy stroked over the 23rd minute penalty.
A buoyant PBC looked to have broken Castletroy’s rhythm, and a kick from a Deasy penalty to touch on the ‘22’ saw the game’s crucial score come about in the 29th minute. From a lineout, Pres took off on a superbly-choreographed rolling maul, building impressive momentum before Brian Vaughan got the ball down under a phalanx of bodies and at half time, Pres led 8-3 It was important for Castletroy to set the tone of the second half and, for the first ten minutes they did just that, changing the point of attack at will. Murray continued to be a central figure behind their pack, but his three quarters were shut out by the Pres defence.
For the final twenty minutes of the half, Pres kept Castletroy pinned inside their own half. Still Castletroy can be pleased with their defence and for long periods, Pres were forced to run laterally. However, a promising move in the 45th minute involving Matthew Kelleher, Jack Costigan and Deasy saw Casteltroy infringe at ruck-time and Deasy arced over his second penalty.
B Vaughan try; P Deasy 2 pens.
P O’Connor pen.
P Deasy; W Murphy, C Bohane, G Murray, S Og Murphy; J Costigan, M Kelleher; N Scannell (capt), B Vaughan, I Mullarkey; D O’Mahony, K Kingston; R O’Herlihy, J Duffy, B Carroll. Replacements: C O’Flaherty for Kingston (54); P McKeown for O’Mahony (58).
A Collins; A Dolan, P O’Connor, P Quinn, S Cunningham; P Murray, D Foley; K Kennedy, A De Sousa, J Rael; M O’Dwyer, B Stokes; M Dooley, K Doyle, D Hannon (capt). Replacements: N Cronin for Foley (46); J McCarthy for Dooley and G Keane for Stokes (both 51).
G Clancy (MAR).