A small but very special piece of history for the competing sides will be made as this is the first schools final, indeed the first schools game of any kind, to take place at the new stadium.
While those involved will always look back upon the occasion with outstanding memories, it will also impose a certain amount of extra pressure on the players and the team that copes best may well emerge victorious.
On the evidence presented so far, however, there is unlikely to be more than a kick of a ball between the sides. They actually met in the quarter-finals when Pres just got home 12-10, although St Munchin’s survived to successfully fight another day as they took advantage of the “back door” system.
Hooker Denis Keohane and out-half Rory Scannell were the Pres try scorers that day with Steven Dinan landing the crucial conversion. Mel Corbett and Craig Shanahan replied with St Munchin’s tries. Pres then went on to beat Rockwell when Seamus Glynn, the only survivor of the side that lost in last year’s decider against Castletroy, touched down for the game’s only try and Dinan landed two penalties.
The Cork side have certainly displayed their mettle in a tight corner having drawn their semi-final clash with CBC at 12-all thanks to a twice-taken, ultra late conversion by Dinan. In the replay, it was almost as tight with Dinan again the Pres hero as he converted his own try in a 7-5 victory.
After initially going down to PBC, St Munchin’s, who last captured the trophy for in 1998, needed two late tries by Shane Airey and Craig Shanahan to eke out a quarter-final win over the holders, Castletroy. They went on to account for Crescent by 13-3 in the semi-final with out-half Tom O’Neill contributing a try and conversion, while winger Gary Bateman also touched down.
Peter Scott of Pres and David Quilter (St Munchins) of the respective backroom teams accept the evidence of the first meeting of the sides that there should be little or nothing between them once more this afternoon. They are also in agreement that playing the final at Thomond Park lends the occasion an extra dimension with Scott enthusing: “It’s an honour for us to be involved in the first schools final at this magnificent venue. It’s one of the reasons why we are bringing a big band of supporters and we’re looking forward to a great day.”
ST MUNCHINS: D Morrissey; C Shanahan, A Hannigan, C O’Donnell capt, G Bateman; T O’Neill, B Nugent; E Kelly, G Sheehan, D Byrne, M McSweeney, B Kilkenny, G Powell, S Airey, M Corbett.
Replacements: S Houlihan, G Morgan, M Clancy, B Molloy, D Staunton, C Ryan, S O’Mullen.
PBC: S Dinan; B Crowley, S Glynn, G O’Callaghan, D O’Keeffe; R Scannell, P O’Leary; M Curtin, D Keohane, R Callanan, H O’Halloran, R McCarthy, I Silke, W Foley, J Fitzgerald (capt)
Replacements: A Cremin, R Fenton, T Duggan, D Evans, J Griffin, N Murphy, M Abbott, B Kidney.