Crescent, who now go through to meet the winners of today’s game between Glenstal and St Munchin’s, had already defeated PBC by 15-10 in the preliminary round and so clearly possess the credentials to go all the way this season.
Rockwell provided them with powerful opposition yesterday, but in the end had to give best to a Crescent side that lasted the gruelling paced a little better and was the dominant force in the closing stages.
The game was slow to gain momentum and Rockwell had the better of matters early on. Their pack, inspiringly led by open side flanker Sonny Dwyer, provided a speedy back line with quality possession but they were unable to break down a solid Crescent defence in which full-back Greg O’Shea was outstanding.
Crescent gradually began to find a footing in Rockwell territory and made the pressure pay after 27 minutes. They quickly recycled ruck ball on the Rockwell 22 and quick hands on the parts of out-half Gearoid Lyons, full-back O’Shea, and centre Greg Barry created the space for Frawley, who had come off his own wing, to race over in the left corner.
Wing-forward and captain Diarmuid Dee assumed the kicking duties and converted with a magnificent kick from the touch line. He continued to play a central part along with back-row colleagues Jack Dinneen and Jack Sheehan as Rockwell came strongly in search of an equaliser as the second half progressed.
It was a cracking game by this stage and the Tipperary college were unfortunate on a couple of occasions. A penalty attempt by full-back Philip Quirke dipped inches under the crossbar and winger Liam Murchan was held up over the line. And when they were driven back by a penalty conceded immediately afterwards on the Crescent line, much of the life went out of their very worthy challenge.
Crescent came roaring back and in the dying minutes looked to have put the issue beyond doubt when centre Barry went over in the dying minutes, only for the scoring pass to be ruled forward.
CRESCENT: G O’Shea; J Frawley, D Culhane, G Barry, M Mulvihill; G Lyons, G Fitzgerald; S McGee, J Green, S Gleeson, C Blake, E Casserly, J Sheehan, D Dee (capt), J Dinneen.
Replacements: J O’Connell for McGee 51; M Hanrahan for Sheehan 57.
ROCKWELL: P Quirke; L Murchan, S O’Donaghue, D Johnston, R Maher; C Kennedy, A Barron; K Farrell, M Fitzgerald, D Lannigan-Ryan, D Foley, A Butler, J Feehan, S Dwyer (capt), J Holohan.
Replacements: C Summers for Farrell 42; N Flynn for Butler 45; T Ryan for Barron 51; A Sutcliffe for Lannigan-Ryan 53.
Referee: S Kierans (Munster)