PBC deserved their win but Rockwell College still managed to maintain a healthy interest in the encounter until the closing stages when Pres crossed for the only try.
The heavy pitch and strong cross wind hardly provided the right ingredients for a classic. But they did their best and, if nothing else, it was a pretty absorbing encounter. Pres has the better of the territorial battle, helped in no small measure by their stronger forward unit, but Rockwell fought them all the way.
Pres had strengths in key areas up front, decent half backs and strong running midfield backs as well as a real threat at full-back. Yet, Rockwell denied them at every turn — to the point that real try scoring opportunities were few and far between.
Steve Dinan kicked Pres into the lead with penalties in the sixth and 18th minutes, but Rockwell hit back with a penalty from Coleman Kennedy before the break.
That three-point advantage wasn’t much given that Pres faced a strong breeze in the second-half. A shock result was on the cards when Rockwell enjoyed the bulk of territory in the third quarter. They opted not to kick for goal when awarded a penalty midway through the half and failed to come away with any reward after launching an offensive on the Pres line.
Instead, the Cork side spent the remaining 10 minutes in attack mode. James Houlihan and Sonny Dwyer did their best to keep Rockwell on course, but they were unable to cope with the physical response that Ian Silke, William Foley, Matthew Curtin and John Fitzgerald produced for the winners.
Hugh O’Halloran and Philip O’Leary were also to the forefront as Pres went in search of the clinching score. O’Halloran went close, but it was fitting that it should come from Seamus Glynn, arguably the best player on the heavy pitch.
It mattered little that kicking marksman Dinan sent his very difficult conversion attempt narrowly wide from near the right hand touch line.
Pres now meet old rivals CBC in the penultimate stage.
PBC: S. Glynn, B. Crowley, S. Dinan, G. O’Callaghan, R. Fenton, R. Scannell, P. O’Leary, H. O’Halloran, D. Keohane, R. Callanan, R. McCarthy, I. Silke, M. Curtin, J. Fitzgerald (captain), W. Foley.
ROCKWELL: D. Johnston, G. Henry, R. Maher, A. Lynch, R. Boland, C. Kennedy, TJ Ryan, W. O’Dwyer, K. Lyons, E. Phelan, D. Foley, K. Drew, J. Houlihan, S. Dwyer (captain), A. Butler.
Replacements: P. Kennedy for O’Dwyer, K. Maher for Lyons, C. Summers for Butler, A. Barron for Ryan, L. Murchan for Henry, P. Quirke for Kennedy.
Referee: D. Keane (M.A.R).