Skipper Russell’s late try gives Crescent victory over Christians in cracking decider

AN intense struggle ended in victory for Crescent Comprehensive in yesterday’s exciting Kidney Cup final held at Lansdowne.

In the end, Crescent came away with the trophy courtesy of a late try from skipper Lorcan Russell.

While Darragh Muldoon, David Parfrey and PJ O’Sullivan-Green were the pick of the Christians pack and both Jason Higgins and Oisin McSweeney produced assured displays behind the scrum, the home side couldn’t win enough quality possession to keep their challenge alive going into the closing stages.

Crescent, apart from a number of handling errors and a failure to make better use of some of the near 70% possession they won, still forced the pace for much of the game and came close to scoring two more tries, especially from full back Stephen Matchett and Russell earlier in the game.

Cian Guerin and Tadhg McCloskey’s good work out of touch ensured they won a steady supply of ball, their scrum was solid and the back division, mainly through JJ O’Neill and Machett, moved fluently at times.

Yet, apart from the scoring contribution of O’Neill with the boot, this game was ultimately won through the effort of the pack.

O’Neill kicked penalties in the fourth and 12th minutes to establish a well deserved lead and they could have been out of sight by half time when Machett was held up short and Russell penalised for a double movement as he attempted to dive over after 26 minutes.

Instead, they found themselves a point down when O’Sullivan-Green was at the end of a sweeping movement he started himself; his high quality try at the posts was converted by Aaron Singleton.

A penalty eight minutes into the second half from Singleton gave Christians a four point lead and a frustrated Crescent took a long time to find their feet again. With ten minutes left, they drove over the Christians line twice, were called back on each occasion but from another attack in the 24th minute, Russell made no mistake in powering through the massed defence and O’Neill added the conversion to secure a more comfortable three points winning margin.

CBC: P. Redmond, B. Dowling, O McSweeney, D. Grofferty, S. McGinley, A. Singleton, J. Higgins, E. Tierney (captain), K. Hurley, C. Halpin, D. Muldoon, G. Stokes, D. Parfrey, D. Dempsey, PJ O’Sullivan-Green CRESCENT: S. Machett, M. O’Toole, JJ O’Neill, J. Beary, E. Parkes, J. Hogan, C. Spillane, M. Rickard, J. Keane, M. O’Connor, C. Guerin, T. McCloskey, C. Rea, K. Russell (captain), S. Leahy.

Replacements: M. McGann for Rickard, A. Crean for O’Toole, T. Moloney for Hackett (all 40), R. Scott for McCloskey (50, injured).

Referee: K. Barry (Munster Association of Referees).

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