Castletroy fully merited their victory at Shannonvale, Clonakilty, but the margin was certainly flattering as Bandon provided the Limerick side with stern opposition.
At 11-0 midway through the first-half for Castletroy, Bandon seized the initiative and in an eight minute spell did just about everything but score. Midway through the second-half they were still in with an outside chance of pulling the game from the fire until conceding a 56th minute try that sparked off a late Castletroy scoring spree.
It was Castletroy’s first outing in the tournament and it showed, even though there were powerful displays from captain James Rael and flanker Kevin Doyle.
“We looked a bit ring rusty, probably because of all the matches we have missed,” said their coach John Staunton, “we met a very tough, committed side that played with a lot of passion and pride.”
Bandon had to come through the long way with victories over Newtown, Midleton and Glenstal, but even though they now take the back door route into a quarter-final clash with PBC, Cork (Castletroy meet CBC, Cork) they still have every reason to be disappointed a losing by such a margin.
In number eight Henry Travers Bandon surely had man-of-the-match for great work in defence and attack. None of the pack, in fact, took a backward step even though Castletroy had the edge in strength and nous.
Bandon coach George Bradfield put the defeat down to a nervous start and a bad finish and not too many would disagree.
“We weren’t in it for the opening 15 and we were very disappointed to concede those late tries, particularly a couple of them when we seemed to get a bad bounce of the ball in the build-up,” he said.
Castletroy opened the scoring early with a Pádraig O’Connor penalty and added a try from Doyle after 15 minutes before Padraig Quinn tacked on a 32nd minute drop goal, all without reply despite that Bandon pressure.
When Neil Cronin took advantage of slack marking around the fringes of a ruck to score at the posts, with O’Connor converting for an 18-0 lead in the 56th minute, the writing was on the wall for Bandon and they conceded further late tries to Peter Murray and Doyle, with O’Connor adding one conversion.
CASTLETROY COLLEGE: P. O’Connor, S. Cunningham, P. Murray, S. O’Carroll, A. Fuller, P. Quinn, N. Cronin, K. Kennedy, J. Rael (captain), A. De Souza, D. O’Brien, M. O’Dwyer, M. Dooley, E. Carroll, K. Doyle.
Replacements: D. O’Brien for Rael, B. Foley Friel for De Souza (both 65), T. Kelly for Kennedy, D. Zarinovs for O’Brien, L. Clohessy for Quinn (all 67), C. Clancy for Carroll, W. Shanahan for Cunninham (both 68)
BANDON GRAMMAR: C. Pullin, C. Moloney, W. Godsil, C. Stallard, I. Skuse, R. Skuse, J. Robinson, S. McElroy, N. Willoughby, S. Kingston, A. Tanner, D. Reynolds, J. Bendon (captain), H. Travers, S. Hunter.
Replacements: L. Pybus for I Skuse (41), D. Boyd for Kingston , E. Tyrrell for Tanner (62).
Referee: D. O’Flynn (M.A.R)