Haugh the hero as Rockwell edge to semi-final

CUP rugby is often about inspirational moments and Rockwell produced one gem to settle this intense Avonmore Milk Munster Schools Senior Cup clash at Clanwilliam yesterday.

The tournament favourites scored the only try of the game through scrum half Brian Haugh with just four minutes left and with extra-time looming.

This was a tougher encounter than Rockwell could have expected against a team that only came into this quarter-final through the back door after last week’s loss to Crescent Comprehensive.

Indeed, one of Rockwell’s coaching staff, Frank Fitzgerald, admitted the result was probably rough justice on Ard Scoil, who battled vigorously throughout this contest after taking a first-minute lead.

“I think it said a lot that we had to make a change in the scrum during the second half and overall we just about got away with it; I suppose the conditions were, in a sense, the equaliser but full credit to Ard Scoil for the manner in which they took the game to us.”

The disappointment was clear in the losers’ camp, as summed up by their coach Martin McPhail. “I really thought we deserved more from that game, we gave as good as we got and it was a clear step up from our display in the previous game against Crescent.

“The best way to describe it, I suppose, was that the team moved much closer to their potential; it’s just a pity they didn’t get something more from it.”

Certainly, there are those who could argue they might have deserved the win, they had enough second-half territory to keep them well in the hunt and on balance they at least deserved to have a longer crack at the winners in extra time.

Rockwell, desperate to secure another cup victory after losing the last two finals, will need to improve to cope with CBC Cork, whom they meet in the semi-final, but they will feel they are capable of that.

The losers had a perfect start with that early penalty from Rory Collins, who narrowly missed another six minutes later. However, Haugh for Rockwell was also off target, missing two attempts before the break although he levelled matters three minutes after the resumption.

It wasn’t a day for goal kickers and against that backdrop, Haugh displayed considerable skill to grab the only try of the game. It came after a scrum and driving maul; with the Ard Scoil defence set up to stop another forward drive, the scrum half took control and sidestepped two defenders to grab the all-important score.

ROCKWELL: D McGillacuddy; S Horgan, H McNulty, K Kiely, R Jermyn; D Johnston, B Haugh; C O’Donnell (capt), D Mulcahy, MJ Murphy; N Flynn, A O’Sullivan; R Moran, L Cahill, S Dwyer.

Replacements: E Phelan for Murphy (58), B Crosse for Sweeney (63)

ARD SCOIL RÍS: J McGarry; K Phelan, A McNamara, A O’Byrne, E Farrell; R Collins, S Noonan; D Canny, G Doherty, B Masterson; C Power, E McCabe; K Walsh, P McGann (capt), P Hodnett.

Replacements: C McLoughlin for Noonan, S Considine for Farrell (both 42) Temporary, P O’Sullivan for McCabe, L McGrath for McGann, L McMahon for Masterson.

Referee: O Hodges (MAR).

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