This was something below the five-star performance Rockwell produced in the first-half demolition of St. Munchin’s in the previous round, but they displayed enough quality to suggest it will take a very good team to beat them.
Still, coach Tom Mulcahy recognised that there was room for improvement when he noted: “I think there was a bit of complacency there at times compared to the last day and we certainly didn’t perform as well as we expected.”
Rockwell will meet 2008 champions Castletroy College in the penultimate stage and that should be an interesting encounter.
Yesterday, Rockwell held the edge mainly through the efforts of a bigger pack. The solid front five held firm in the scrums and dominated the line outs with better quality ball through second rows Sean McCarthy and Stephen Maguire. The effort was topped off by a fine group display from the back row, with number eight Luke Cahill the most effective of three very good players.
Ard Scoil battled hard for long periods and had a share of territory from which to launch attacks. Captain Jamie McGarry, out half Jamie Gavin and flanker Kevin Walsh all enjoyed promising runs that came close to unhinging a very tight Rockwell defence, marshalled so well by JJ Hanrahan. Unfortunately, the losers had to wait until injury time to get their only try, by which time the game was won and lost.
Rockwell’s promise materialised with a try from Ross Mullane, converted by Hanrahan, after the winners held possession through 13 phases — Tim Rafferty, Hanrahan, and Harry McNulty were all prominent before the winger scored.
Ard Scoil hit back with a 30th-minute penalty from Gavin but he failed with two subsequent efforts and Rockwell held firm until Shaun Horgan’s magnificent diagonal run created the room for Cahill to finish a try that Hanrahan converted midway through the second half.
At 14-3 Rockwell were never in danger, even though it suited Ard Scoil when the game lost its shape. However, Rockwell benefited with a breakaway try from Cahill before Eamonn Farrell grabbed a consolation score right at the finish.
ROCKWELL: B. O’Rahilly, S. Horgan, H. McNulty, D. McGillacuddy, R. Mullane, J.J Hanrahan, T Rafferty, T. Doyle, R. Moran, C. O’Donnell, S. McGuire, S. McCarthy, S. Buckley (captain), J. Maher, L. Cahill.
Replacements: E. Phelan for O’Donnell, M. Cummins for McMahon, A. O’Sullivan for Maher, M. Coffey for McCarthy, D. White for Mullane, E. Farrell for Horgan, C. Holland for Hanrahan.
ARD SCOIL RÍS: M. Leonard, R. Collins, J. McGarry (captain), M. Russell, E. Cummane, J. Gavin, A. Griffin, R. McMahon, M. Fitzgibbon, D. Canny, P. O’Sullivan, S. Brinn, K. Walsh, P. McGinn, I. O’Toole.
Replacement: E. Farrell for Griffin .
Referee: G. English (M.A.R)