Crescent went into the campaign without nine of last year’s panel but they were confident of a big performance from their pack, and that confidence was realised as they confined CBC to their own half of the field for almost the entire second half.
With the Christians pack offering stiff resistance it was never going to be a free scoring or free running game and inevitably it was the kicking that would decide the outcome.
Christians had their chances during a period of dominance towards the end of the first half. Cathal Quinn and Daragh McNamara finished off good moves with neat chips to touch inside the 22-metre line, but each time, Crescent held on stubbornly under severe pressure.
Eventually it was the Christians number eight, Sean Glynn, who broke the stalemate and sent them into the break with a 3-0 lead from a well-struck penalty, after he had hit an upright with his first attempt 10 minutes earlier.
Crescent, however, put the champions under siege in the second half and it took some superb last-ditch tackling and a brilliant performance from full-back Darragh McNamara to keep them at bay.
They drew level from a Shane O’Brien penalty, after Christians failed to release the ball three minutes into the second half. O’Brien’s third kick of the afternoon came back off an upright but he put them into the lead with another perfect strike after 58 minutes.
CBC engineered a three-on-one later in the half and a try looked inevitable, but they were controversially called back for a penalty they would have given them a draw. Daragh McNamara’s effort fell short, however, and Crescent hung on for a deserved victory.
The win sends Crescent into a quarter final clash with St. Munchin’s, while CBC will play the winners of today’s game between Bandon and Castletroy.
CBC coach, Peter Melia, made no secret of his disappointment.
“But credit to them, they kicked the goals and that gives them home advantage in the next round,” he said.
“Other than that you cannot say an awful lot because it wasn’t a great game at all, at all and there were probably reasons for that.
“Neither side dominated in terms of territory and it was always going to come down to who kicked the penalties and that’s what Crescent did.
“We had no territory at all in the second half until the break-out near the end. We had a three-on-one and he (the referee) brought us back for a penalty. It is very hard to attack with limited attacking opportunities and then that kind of thing happens. It’s very disappointing but it didn’t come down to that. You kick your goals, you win your matches.”
CRESCENT: L Hanley; B Murphy, D O’Doherty, S McNamara, B Walsh; P Coffey, S O’Brien; J Randles, L Malone, N Darcy; P Monoghan, S Monoghan; C Russell, K O’Shea, E Cross.
Replacements: P O’Sullivan for L Hanley (56); N Horan for N Darcy (66).
CBC: D McNamara; T Harrington, K Slater, C Barry, C Quinn; B Monohan, R McCarthy; M O’Mahoney, K Stokes, R Martin; D Mullins, S Handbidge; Y Browne, C Gallagher, S Glynn.
Replacements: C Keogh for Y Browne (47); J Daly for C Gallagher (65).
Referee: D Moloney (MAR)